QUESTION: I’m 30 years old and live in Europe. My whole life I have struggled with my childhood. I am a sensitive person who can feel the problems and issues of others. I felt distant from family and friends, but I started to be like them in order to "survive". I lost my self... step by step. Every relationship ended up in disaster because of me playing a role, instead of being myself. It has taken a big toll on me over the years. To top it all off, I lost my money by believing some “healer” who steered me very wrong. I was under the illusion that he was helping me come back to my self. I was so wrong. How did I get so far from my self?

Last month, I heard about your work and I have to say - thank you so much. You let me see how I landed on this wrong path and your book, Shadows on the Path, is helping me work on myself. It’s a first step to bring me back to my life!

ANSWER: It warms my heart to no end to hear that you found the book helpful. Thank you for sharing that with me.

I know how hard life can be. When we sign up for waking up, we don’t realize how much work is involved. And the work is always through loss, letting go of the false, feeling disappointed. The stages are similar for all: loss, dissatisfaction, confusion, and then slowly finding our self. Once all that poisons us is released, we then have to learn to live empty for a while - as our eyesight becomes clear. We then can start identifying what is real and what is not.

When life is seen and approached from this perspective, all the pain, disappointments, and betrayals can make sense. Of course, it is heart-wrenching and painful. It is not a nice feeling being an outsider among people that one thinks should be kin. The betrayal by people that are supposed to be allies is painful stuff. The disappointment around the dissolution of relationships that one thought was for life is brutal, no doubt. But these situations are also all teachers of the highest degree. Make no mistake that all the pain and missed opportunities are always detours - that turn us back towards the one thing that is real: our true Self.

It is only through suffering and disappointment that we finally turn inwards. My book is a mere mirror to your own majesty. Allow the divine light that you truly are to light your way and guide you in your life. A truer companion does not exist. The outside world will always grow and wane; the inner self is always present. It is always waiting for our attention to turn inward. It is such a part of us that its voice is easy to miss. But once our hearing is tuned in, it is impossible to not hear. It has always been and will continue to shine. Be true to that compass and you will never lose your self again.