Episode 62: Soul Chats with Ananta Ripa Ajmera

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In this episode of Soul Chats, I am thrilled to chat with Ananta Ajmera! With her contagious confidence and inspiring narration of her soul’s journey, Ananta Ripa Ajmera joins us to share some wisdom from her new book, "The Way of the Goddess." "The Way of the Goddess" is a personal journey of awakening her inner warrior and defeating her inner demons. Let’s meet Ananta and take a cool drink of refreshing wisdom with this beautiful soul!

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SOUL CHATS WITH ANANTA RIPA AJMERA

LET’S MEET ANANTA

Anata Amerja is one of the most beautiful souls I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Her book, “The Way of the Goddess,” spoke to my soul in the most profound way. While writing this book was admittedly out of her comfort zone, the process allowed her to share her story and own her power beyond what she thought was possible.

While her formative years were supportive, and all her physical needs were met, she had a nagging feeling that something was missing. After searching to fill this void in all the wrong places, she looked to the ancient universal spirituality of India, specifically her goddess traditions, to find answers.

She's studied deeply for nearly twelve years now with master lineage-based teachers from the Vedic spiritual tradition of ancient India. She consistently did the spiritual practices in her book to awaken her inner warrior and defeat her inner demons.

Let’s go on a journey together to meet this incredible woman and learn from the myriad experiences she is eager to share with us!

FINDING THE ANSWERS

Ananta’s journey began during her early years, writing in her childhood diary. Even as young as ten, she was asking the universe what the purpose of life was. Those seeds of questioning planting at an early age were the perfect primer for her undergraduate program at NYU, where she participated in the social entrepreneurship program.

They defined social entrepreneurship as creating pattern-breaking change in a sustainable and scalable way. I internalized the definition and asked myself, ‘How can I create pattern-breaking change in a sustainable way in my own life and then be able to scale those changes into the work I feel called to do in the world?"’ - Ananta Ajmera

Ananta always felt called to a path of service and that there had to be a way to be of service from a place of integrity. The challenge to break patterns sustainably was the catalyst for her quest to help others by meeting that challenge. She knew the only way to create that sustainability was to take the journey from the inside out.

CREATING RITUALS

Everything in life comes down to the questions you are willing to ask yourself. Inquiry allows us to have a self-discovery and get curious without an attachment to the answer. Contemplating the issues of sustainability when wanting to be of service is incredibly important to avoid the burnt-out that accompanies overdoing it.

Creating rituals around your goals is one way to ensure that you are following your path without going too hard and burning out. What you do every day matters. In “The Way of the Goddess,” Ananta takes her readers through journal prompts and simple but powerful rituals to evoke the goddess within.

True transformation is a result of what we do regularly. It's a result of what we do as a habit. In the Upanishads, there is this incredible saying:

  • When you sow a thought, you reap an action.
  • When you sow an action, you reap a habit.
  • When you sow a habit, you reap a character.
  • When you sow a character, you reap a destiny.

 
It's about how we can honor consistency in our lives as a way to bring about transformation, and if we look at it that way, it brings a little bit more logic and reason to something that can feel a little odd in the beginning.

"There is a stabilizing aspect to doing rituals. There’s something grounding about doing the same thing every day and developing a habit." - Ananta Ajmera

A JOURNEY HOME

In “The Way of the Goddess,” Ananta integrated the Vendanta spiritual philosophy of progression from one step to another. It’s a container of logic and reason where the questions answered build to more questions and further answers. Keeping up with this practice is embarking on an inner journey of surrender.

When I first committed to doing mantras on a mala, I knew I needed to surrender something. I knew that I was embarking on something where I was unsure of what will come, but I will not be the same. My life will change now, and I welcome that change.” - Ananta Ajmera

The ritual is to go on a journey home, a journey within yourself, and we don't know what we will find on that journey. It's going to be challenging. Seeing the intention to open your heart and mind to new possibilities is a big deal. This journey is one of the most courageous steps you will ever take!

WORKING WITH THE GODDESSES

The book, “The Way of the Goddess,” is a perfect introduction to working with the goddesses. It is written in a way that invites those new to these spiritual deities and a deeper dive for those already familiar with them. As she goes through each chakra, Ananta introduces which goddess resides in each and how to connect with them.

The Vedic spiritual tradition has many gods and goddesses, and it’s often asked, “Why so many?” The reasoning stems from the sages understanding that life brings myriad challenges along the way, and as we go through these challenges, we often disconnect from our true selves. Each goddess has her role in bringing our awareness back to our spiritual quest.

For example, we can forget about our health when we pursue abundance. So goddess Lakshmi reminds us that even if you're working in a business, starting something new, or pursuing the goal of abundance, don't forget the goddess as you do that. We keep that idea of the goddess within our hearts as we go through these transitions because it also changes how we pursue life's goals. It changes how we go for abundance from a place of abundance, knowing that we have that already within us.

"Each god and goddess has a different value, a lesson, and teaching that they're role modeling through their stories." - Ananta Ajmera

SILENCE IS GOLDEN

One of the practices in the Vedic tradition is to practice silence and conscious speech. In the Bhagavad Gita, there is a challenge that your speech is evaluated before you allow the words to come forward. "Is this going to benefit me to say, and is it going to benefit the other person or people to hear it?"

We need to slow down and become conscious of what we will say before we say it. Our words impact not only the recipient but ourselves as well. While mindful speech is an imperative part of our soul’s evolution, silence also plays an important role.

We live in such a noisy world, and we are often looking for the noise ourselves as a distraction from where we are, from going within.” - Anata Ajmera

In silence, we can reflect, examine our lives, and ask ourselves different inventory questions based on the theme we're working on or trying to cultivate. We can also access our emotions a lot more easily. The silence gives us that sacred space to feel everything we need to feel to heal.

MANY PATHS TO ONE TRUTH

The Vedas are ancient texts that have served as the fountainhead for four major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The Vedas are the mother tradition, and all of these religions have come out of the Vedas, but the Vedas themselves are universal in their spiritual wisdom.

All paths are valid because they're leading to one truth. That is the uniqueness, I think, of this tradition, that it is so inclusive and so welcoming of diversity and finding that unity in diversity.” - Ananta Ajmera

We know what resonates with us at each moment in our lives, and spiritual practices and traditions will meet us where we are. There are different times for different steps, different powers, and different practices that will resonate more than at other times. You can pick and choose what works for you and pick and choose what doesn't work for you.

BREAKING GENERATIONAL CYCLES

In her book, “The Way of the Goddess,” Ananta tackles some serious issues, including trauma, and how we can heal from the darker situations that have been a part of our journey. We all of different traumas, whether big or small, and we all develop coping mechanisms to cope with those experiences. When we look back at those experiences through the lens of love, we can create a new story around the trauma.

We are creatures of habit, and that's why changing your habits and patterns is heroic. It's all about the stories we tell ourselves, and we can change the story!” - Ananta Ajmera

Sexual abuse is a topic shrouded in secrecy, blame, and avoidance, and those who have experienced this violation often stay stuck in stories passed down from generation to generation.

  • What did I do to invite this?
  • Was I wearing the wrong thing?
  • Was I in the wrong place at the wrong time?

 
It brings up so much guilt and shame in the person who's gone through the experience, yet it's helpful to remove ourselves temporarily from our own feelings to look at all the angles around the circumstances. We can also observe that the way our grandmothers and mothers, or even farther back, handled those situations no longer has to be a part of our stories. We don’t have to avoid those conversations or bury those memories. We can speak freely about them, face the truths within the violations and speak about them to heal them.

ANSWER THE CALL

Writing “The Way of the Goddess” was Ananta answering the call to her higher self. Her experiences and transformation from staying on her path have been one of the greatest blessings in her life. Her book invites its readers to answer that call and be brave enough to explore what more is on the journey for you to discover!

If you're feeling the call towards the highest and best version of yourself, honor that and find the courage within to take the first step. Reading the book is a powerful first step to going within and waging that inner battle. When you do, you shall too emerge as this incredible warrior, with the strength to overcome whatever may currently be holding you down.” - Ananta Ajmera

It’s important to believe healing is possible. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth it. We can't control what happens in our lives. We can’t control who comes and goes in our lives, when they come and go, how things happen, or how they unfold. But as long as we're ready to handle everything and to learn from everything, it can all be a positive experience for our soul’s evolution!

*Please note this blog contains an affiliate link. If you purchase the book through this link, I may receive an affiliate commission. You do not pay extra for using this link, and you are not required to purchase anything.

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Full transcription of the episode:

Hello everyone and welcome to today's episode. I am so excited. We are going to do a Soul Chats interview today with a lovely soul. Her name is Anata Ajmara and she is so beautiful. She wrote an amazing book called The Way of the Goddess and she believes that this is her most courageous thing she's ever done. And I think writing a book is super courageous just in general.

The process allowed her to share and continue to push outside of her comfort zone, to own her own power in ways that were beyond anything she could ever imagine. Growing up she always felt that though she was fortunate in her physical needs being met and taken care of, something was missing in her life and she wasn't sure what that was. After searching to fill this void in all the wrong places, she looked to the ancient universal spirituality of India, specifically her goddess traditions, to find answers.

She's studied deeply for nearly twelve years now with master lineage based teachers from the Vedic spiritual tradition stemming back to ancient India, and consistently did the spiritual practices in her book to awaken her own inner warrior, to defeat her inner demons. And I think we all have demons, and I'm super excited to share this Soul Chats chat interview. We go into sharing different spiritual practices, talking about the chakras, talking about the Vedas, and so much more.

This book actually hit home for me because I share this in the interview and I'll share it again. This book really hit home for me because I have studied a lot of Indian spiritual traditions and so I absolutely loved this book. I love working with Goddess. So I hope you enjoy this interview. Let's begin.

Amy: Hello everyone and welcome them to today's Soul Chat interview. I'm so excited for our special guest. Anata, how are you, my dear?

Ananta: I'm doing well, thank you. How are you?

Amy: I'm good. I was so excited to receive your book and to read it, which is called The Goddess Way, which is daily rituals to awakening your inner warrior and discover your true self. It's such a great book. For me, I loved it because it incorporated Ayurveda, which is a sister science to yoga, which I absolutely love. Even after having my baby, I practiced all Ayurvedic postpartum practices just because it's so nourishing to the soul and to the body and finding balance. So I love that you incorporated that into the rituals of bringing the Goddess into your life. And I love that you also incorporated just different things that people struggle with on how you can work with the Goddess to overcome those things. For example, like boundaries or identifying values. Can you tell people what made you take this spiritual path in your life?

Ananta: Yeah, I feel like spiritual path often chooses us more than we consciously seek it out, you know? I just remember being really young, actually like ten or eleven years old, and writing journals. I've always been a journal writer. Dear Diary and I would just let everything out in there and I would write to my diary even in childhood, and ask, "What is the purpose of this life? Why are we here? How do we find happiness? What is the meaning of all of this?"

And I feel like it was those seeds and that kind of propensity for questioning, honestly, that led me from one question to another question to another. And when I track my journey, it's so much about answering questions. And I had gone to NYU for the undergraduate school of business where I was thrilled to become a part of the social entrepreneurship program because it meant putting together my business skills with being of service in the world. And they defined social entrepreneurship as creating pattern-breaking change in a sustainable and scalable way. And I internalized the definition and asked myself that question "How can I create pattern-breaking change in a sustainable way in my own life and then be able to scale those changes into the work I feel called to do in the world?"

I've always felt called to a path of service, but I don't know that I really understood what it meant to be of service. And I always felt that there had to be a way to be of service from a place of integrity and from a place of having benefited from whatever it is I then offer to the world. And so that question about being able to break some of my own patterns in a sustainable way and then helping others from that place was really my personal quest or mission for being able to cultivate integrity and to be able to then automatically sustain the work. Because I knew it would be hard work to lead a life of service and giving back in some way. And I knew that the only way to really be able to last on the journey would be from doing it in an inside-out manner.

So it was really that question that led me onto the journey. And then on that journey, I had another question when I had met a young girl named Lakshmi, because she had gone through a lot of abuse, which a lot of us do, and yet she was named after the most widely worshiped Hindu goddess of wealth. And I'm like, "Why can't we find that goddess within us and actually find our own completion and find our own healing in that way?" But again, it was another question that really led me onto this path of discovery and curiosity. And one question led to another question led to many more questions, which propelled me forward.

Amy: Yeah. Well, I think everything in life comes down to the questions you ask. Like, asking a lot of questions allows us to have a self-discovery because it allows us to get curious and not have any attachment to the answer either, which is really important to just be like, "Well, for the example of what is sustainable?" Because, yes, if you're to be of service, if you're burnt out, that's not going to be sustainable in any way, shape, or form. So what does sustainable look like? And it's just like this spiral effect of like, "How many questions can I come up with?" Which I love playing that game too. So I love that it started off with curiosity and journaling, and I love that you have a ton of journal prompts in this book too, which are some really good questions to think about and to play with and to also just create ritual. I think journaling is a really amazing spiritual practice to have in itself. What would you tell someone that's like, wanting to be on the spiritual path, but is nervous about doing rituals? Because your book has a lot of simple rituals that are super powerful.

Ananta: Yeah. So what would I tell someone about the practice of rituals itself?

Amy: Like, if they're nervous about doing them or not sure how to do them.

Ananta: I would say trust your own intuition about it. I feel that there is a real stabilizing aspect to doing rituals. There's something really grounding about doing the same thing every day, or at least on a consistent basis, and starting to develop a habit. Because true transformation is a result of what we do regularly. It's a result of what we do as a habit. In the Upanishads, which is one of the ancient Vedic spiritual texts, there is this incredible saying which I think a lot of people don't know is from the Upanishads originally because we say it a lot that when you sow a thought, you reap an action. When you sow an action, you reap a habit. When you sow a habit, you reap a character. And when you sow a character, you reap a destiny. So it really all begins even before action at the level of thoughts. But then those thoughts become actions, which become habits, which then shape who we are as people, which then shapes our life's destiny as it unfolds. So it's really about how can we be able to honor consistency in our lives as a way to really bring about transformation.

And if we look at it that way, it brings a little bit more logic and reason to something that can feel a little odd, perhaps, in the beginning. And what I love about this path of the way of the Goddess and my book and about how it integrates the Vedanta spiritual philosophy at every step, is that Vedanta itself is actually a very logic-based system that goes in a progression from one step to another step to the other. And it's in this container of logic and reason that I feel all my questions have gotten answered, but they got answered by listening consistently as a practice and just keeping up with it.

And I feel that the idea of doing something like this is, in a sense, embarking upon an inner journey. And I remember when I first committed to doing a lot of mantras on rosary beads called a mala in the Sanskrit language, I kind of knew that I needed to surrender something to do this. I knew that I am embarking on something that I don't know what it will bring about in me, but I will not be the same by doing this. I know that my life will change now, and I welcome that change was kind of the intention or attitude that I had towards it.
Ananta; And I feel that that makes a really big difference because it is so much about inviting something spiritual into our hearts and inviting new possibilities basically into our lives. And it's important if we're feeling a little unsure about it, to try to open ourselves to new possibilities and to be open to change. It's really hard to change. And I think that's why this festival of Navrati was actually created to help us navigate the change of seasons. Originally, the Ayurveda Festival of Navrati was actually about seasonally transitioning your food and diet needs and lifestyle needs from the needs of one season to those of the next season. Because the ancient sages knew that we human beings are most vulnerable during times of change. So rather than just be shaky on the bridge, moving from one time to another time of our lives, they've created this beautiful festival full of rituals to help stabilize the mind, to help give the mind some habits and some feeling of grounding so that we can go through the transitions and still feel secure and at home and safe within ourselves.

And so that's really the idea of the ritual is to also go on a journey home, go on a journey within yourself, and we don't know what we're going to find on that journey. It's actually going to be the hardest journey ever. So it is a big deal to even think about it, and it's a big deal to even set that intention to open your heart and also open your mind, in some sense to new ideas and to just welcome the new. So I think even chapter one of my book on the power of stability itself is like a pretty big courageous step to even go on this journey, you know?

Amy: I definitely think it absolutely is a courageous step. And I love that you started with stability because if you don't have stability, it's hard to work in the upper chakras. It's hard to actually navigate. It's hard to navigate more of the spiritual concepts and understanding of those concepts without creating that stability first. You got to start with a grounded foundation. I love that you started there. I also love that you went through each chakra in your book and introduced what goddess dwells within that chakra to invoke her and to invite her in. Can you talk a little bit more about the importance of working with particular goddesses and what one would benefit from working with them?

Ananta: Sure, yeah. I think there's actually so many different gods and goddesses in the Vedic spiritual tradition. We have so many of them. And I always wondered about that too. Like, why do we have so many of them? And the reason is because the sages knew that we go through all kinds of challenges in life, and we go through different situations also that can lead us away from being connected to our true self, right? Like, when we pursue abundance, for example, we can forget about our own health, forget about our spiritual quest, right? So they created a goddess, Lakshmi, to remind us that even if you're working in a business or you're starting something or you're pursuing the goal of abundance, don't forget the goddess as you do that. And keep that idea of the goddess within your heart as you go through this because then it also changes how we pursue the goals of life. It changes how we go for abundance from a place of abundance and knowing that we have that already within us, and we're just creating an external representation of what already lives within. So I think each god and goddess has a different value, a different lesson, a different teaching that they're role modeling through their stories.

Ananta: So I love going through these stories, and actually, I've made it my daily practice to remember just one goddess and one story and one theme and one power every day. And people do this all different ways. Sometimes people do it for one week. In my Spiritual Warrior certification program, we go through it month by month. So we spend a whole month focused on one particular story, one particular goddess, one particular power, and then the next month we do a deep dive into the next one. And then once you get to know them, once you've read the whole book, for example, then you can even do a daily practice and just go through it each day, one by one. And it's just so fun. Like today, for example, I'm on day five, which is Goddess Skandamata, the warrior mother, goddess Durga, as Goddess Skandamata, who is the biological mother, the mother of the warrior god Skanda. And it's actually very symbolic of how we get so empowered when we nurture our own inner child. And we do that through our throat chakra, which is where she is said to reside by practicing both silence and conscious speech.

So on this day, it's so fun that we get to have a dialogue and actually practice speaking in a conscious way that other people can then benefit from. And that's one of the guidance is that the Bhagavad Gita, the ancient text gives us for our speech that may your speech before you say it, be evaluated to see, "Is this really going to benefit myself to say, and is it going to really benefit the other person or people to hear it?" So it's a pretty amazing practice in and of itself.

Amy: Absolutely. And I think it's important for us to slow down and be conscious of what we're going to say before we say it because our words impact others and it also impacts us how we feel. If we feel guilty or shameful or great that we said it depending on what the conversation is in the context of the conversation. And is it uplifting or is it in your power or does it disempower someone? I think words have a very powerful impact that shapes our reality. I also love that you talk about finding silence as well. Can you talk a little bit more about that and the importance of being quiet?

Ananta: Yeah. We live in such a noisy world, and we are often looking for the noise ourselves as a distraction from where we are, from going within, right? So we're constantly seeking that stimulation, turning on podcasts, turning on well, I hope people turn on this one because awaken, right? So what are we listening to first of all, and then after we've listened, we're told for the Vedic spiritual tradition, that we have to take some time to think about it, to contemplate upon it, to internalize it. And then the third step to receiving any kind of new knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge, is to then implement it and then reflect upon that process. So in silence, we can reflect, we can examine our lives, we can go through the book, and ask ourselves different inventory questions based on the theme that we're working on or trying to cultivate in ourselves. We can also access our emotions a lot more easily. I find that having certain uninterrupted times for silence really helps with emotional healing and emotional processing, because it feels like there's a safety in having whatever period you have to allow whatever needs to come up to the surface, to just come up to the surface.

Ananta: It's hard to do that when you're in work or you're in meetings, or you're even interacting with your partner, or if you have children. You don't want to go into all of that with other people around. So I feel that it's the silence that gives us that sacred space to really feel everything we need to feel in order to heal. It's not always pretty, so I feel that it's really sacred. For me, it always feels like a womb, like I'm going into the womb of silence. And I don't know what's going to happen here. I don't know what's going to get birthed here. But I always trust that if I can carve out, and I love to try to carve out once a week to be in a whole day of silence, I just know original insights, creative solutions, deeper thoughts are going to emerge from that, and they always do. So I feel that no matter how busy I get or how much I have to travel, I still try to honor that as much as possible by scheduling maybe more things on one day so that one day can just be quiet. And that's honestly how I wrote this book. In the pandemic, we had a lot of opportunities to practice silence, and it literally birthed this whole book that probably would not have come to be had it not been for giving myself that time and space to be quiet and receive it.

Amy: Yeah, when you say being quiet, you can still contemplate, you can still journal, things like that. It's just not interacting with the daily noise, which I think is great. And I also think the practice can meet you where you're at. For me, I have a toddler, so being quiet all day is virtually impossible with a toddler. But I have time when I'm working where I have complete silence, and that's a part of my ritual. So I love that you have an entire day dedicated to it because I think it's really powerful because you get an opportunity to understand the inner workings of your mind, where there's been research that has shown that people would rather electrocute themselves or cause harm to themselves and actually sit with their thoughts.

Ananta: Wow.

Amy: Isn't that crazy? To me, if we can befriend the mind and understand what's going on in the mind, then we have an opportunity to heal the mind. So it's really fascinating. I love that you shared that. Can you tell our listeners, because you mentioned the Vedas and Vedic teaching, can you tell people what that is, because it's very ancient, old teachings. Can you just give our listeners a little insight of what that is?

Ananta: Yeah, sure. So the Vedas are the most ancient texts, actually, of spirituality that have served as the fountainhead for four major world religions that emerged from India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. So the Vedas are really the mother tradition, the mother texts, and all of these religions have come out of the Vedas, but the Vedas themselves, it's funny that it's all called a religion because it's actually so universal and so totally spiritual that it is.

Amy: Absolutely. I would agree.

Ananta: Right. Like, all paths are valid because they're leading to the one truth right? One truth. And that is the uniqueness, I think, of this tradition, that it is so inclusive and so welcoming of diversity and finding that unity in diversity.

Amy: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that for me, I love taking things that feel right, feel grounded, and I can contemplate and lean on, and then you can pick and choose what works for you and pick and choose what doesn't work for you. Which is really awesome, too.

Ananta: Yeah, exactly. And there's different times for different steps, different powers, different practices, even from this book will resonate more than at other times. Like when I track my journey, even over the past twelve years or so, since I really first began it in earnest, I can see how the first couple of years were really spent in steps one, two, three. And then as I was writing the book, I felt like I was really immersed in chapter seven, which is Transcending Trauma with Wisdom. It was intense, right? Because I just really transcend a lot of fears and a lot of comforts in order to write the book, which also has a lot of my own personal journey of transformation in it. And I was like, "Okay, yeah, this is real." I was living in New York City. I was writing this book in a tiny apartment and facing all kinds of inner demons. And that's the thing, right? What you said about people wanting to electrocute themselves instead of sitting with their thoughts. That's why we have this kind of role model of a warrior mother goddess that we have to find within ourselves in order to be able to just sit with ourselves in peace right?

We need to have that spirit of the warrior and the nurturer both equally balanced because ultimately, divinity goes beyond gender. But in their kindness, these ancient sages have created genders, they've created occupations, they've created the relationships between gods and goddesses, and situations that we humans then can relate to and remember when we're faced with those kinds of situations. So it's just the perfect characteristic, though, that, especially for the feminine energies, where we're not usually taught that we need to be holding weapons, for example. But it's so empowering, I think, to think that "Oh, yeah, but goddesses do!" And we can also be equipped with our internal weapons to be able to confront those demons that come up in the silence. That's why the silence, that comes at step five, you don't really start there. You work your way into that right? And then it becomes a practice in itself. And it's a big one. I worked with it really intensely for the beginning or middle part of the journey. And then, you know, writing the book itself was like being immersed in that power of truth, burning through all the illusions, and then like, OK, that was an intense couple of years.

So as soon as I turned in the manuscript, I checked out some new places in Florida, and I'm like, "I need to live in Florida with sunshine and flowers and beaches and the power of rejuvenation. I need to be an eight-year-old child again and have a fresh new start to life." So I really did that. And now I feel like, "Wow, this book launched this new experience!" With my second book. This is my second book is much more rejuvenating, much more fun, much more playful, and relaxing, actually, oddly than the first one, which was a lot more stressful because it was the first time, right?

Amy: Yeah, the first time is always scary for anything. You're navigating the unknown, and so, like, the second time is just a lot easier because you've been there before, which is awesome. I love that you shared about your traumas in the book because I think so often we all have all sorts of different traumas, be it big trauma, little trauma, or whatever type of trauma. But I loved how you elegantly talked about your parents in the book and how they can be coping mechanisms. Our relationships with our parents can be coping mechanisms on how we show up in other relationships.

Ananta: Yes!

Amy: Which is huge! it's absolutely a huge thing. I love that you shared about just even sexual trauma and how your mom showed up for you in terms of that and how she handled this situation and how as an adult, you can see why she handled the situation, the way she handled it, because of the way that she was raised. And I think that's so often that we forget that part.

Ananta: Yeah.

Amy: People are just handling it the way that they were taught, and they do the best that they can do based on what they were shown and taught and given. And so I loved how you had that lens to look through, which I call the lens of love to look through and give your mom compassion about how she handled it and how you guys have grown from it, too. Can you talk a little bit more about the coping mechanisms and trauma?

Ananta: Yeah, we're such patterned creatures, right? We are creatures of habit. And that's why changing your habits, changing your patterns, is a very heroic thing to do. I call it going on your hero's journey with this book, because writing it was like that for me. Living it was like that for me. And it's interesting because the fifth step, which is the day today, and we're talking about it here, and I just posted actually my mom and I sitting at the feet of the statue of goddess Durga in our temple. And it was such a profound moment of full circle kind of healing that it's about the biological mother. It's about the goddess Durga as a biological mother, and it's about being a mother of a warrior, right? And that's symbolic of nurturing our own inner child. Whether we are a biological mother or not, we all have that inner child within us who we ultimately need to mother in order to then be able to care for others. And it's interesting that I ended up doing that and then being able to better care for my own mother and to see also how much those patterns had played a big role in how the scripts were written. And I feel this fifth step is so powerful because we can rewrite those scripts.

Amy: Absolutely.

Ananta: A lot of time we think, right, just like our parents would have done. We think we have to just do it that way. And we don't question that. Oh, because we're told that we're bad, right? For example, if something happens to us or we are to blame, say, for sexual trauma, then we take that script, and it's something a lot of people say, right? Like, she shouldn't have dressed like that, or she shouldn't have done this or that. And it just brings up so much guilt and shame in the person who's gone through the experience. And yet it's very helpful to remove ourselves temporarily from our own feelings to kind of look at all the angles around it. Is there any truth in that, or is there any reason why they may be saying that right? And see like, "Oh, okay, well, it doesn't feel like that's, right. I don't agree with that, but I can understand how absolutely they felt that they were trying to protect me by saying that it was my fault." In a way, it's like looking at what is it that I can possibly take control over in order to prevent such things from happening.

I don't believe that the way one dresses is ever responsible for any of those kinds of things. But I do, like, what I appreciated out of that way of thinking was, why don't I come up with my own ways of being empowered to prevent such situations from happening in the future? Right? And I don't have to carry that internalized shame about what I went through just because someone told me that it was my fault that it happened, right? Like, with that understanding, with the knowledge, with the remembrance that Goddess lives within me, no matter what has happened, to me in my life. But that was all karma, right? That wasn't somewhere I did cause it, because it's karma. It came to me for me to experience. If I can see it that way, then I can see that I can't change the past, but I can transform what I do with that into the future. I can start to take martial arts lessons, for example, which has been incredibly empowering, because then even when the thought or the fear comes, "Oh, no, what if that were to happen again? Or what if it happens to someone I care about?" It's like, "Oh, well, now I'll be more ready."

Amy: You’ll have the tools.

Ananta: Yeah. I'll get real tools for real protection that actually will be really like working from the inside out right? Because even our energy that we project can be a kind of protection. And our mantras, which are also a step five practice, are like an internal protection against that kind of shame or guilt about things that happen to us that we didn't cause, right? Even if others say that. They can say whatever they want to, we can't control what they say, but we can control what we internalize from what they say. So it's all about the stories we tell ourselves right? Like, she said that because probably her mother had said stuff like right? So it just got passed on.

Amy: Back then, that's how women handled those situations because it was just a normal thing and you handled it that way. And I've had to personally think about all this in different angles too, because sexual abuse is so it's such a huge topic, and we live in a time now where people are more comfortable talking about it and aren't willing to put up with it anymore.

Ananta: Yeah.

Amy: Back then, mothers, grandmothers, their mothers, it's just this learned behavior of acceptance. And how they handled it was to either place blame or to deny it or to avoid it, whatever it is. But it's neat that you and I and other women and other men can have conversations about it very openly, very empowered, so other people can speak up and talk about it in a way that allows them to heal. And I think that that's really important.

Ananta: Yeah. And we can tell ourselves a new story about it.

Amy: Absolutely.

Ananta: And that's, I think, where the goddess is so empowering that we have that goddess within. So no matter what kind of violations come at any level, we are pure no matter what happens. And this is all just due to karma. And we can't control the past, but we can always be prepared for how we go about in the future. And we can change the internal story from, "Oh, it was all my fault", to "Oh, this was part of the karma my soul had to experience in order to learn to always respect other people's boundaries and to learn how to create my own, to be able to better protect myself in the future, so I just don't have to keep learning that lesson over and over again." And even if I do now say it does happen, I'm going to recover a lot faster from it, right? I'm going to feel like, "Oh, okay," or if it's about to happen.

I had a situation where it was about to happen again, but because I had been so strongly established in my new story about it, that these things just happen due to karma, don't take it so personally. You know, it's like, okay, that person can try, you know? But I know because now I know my intuition, right? Step six then the silence leads into trusting yourself more, hearing yourself through the silence. And I feel that because I spend a lot of time in silence, I could cultivate that intuition and that ability to just trust. Does this feel right? Does it not feel right? Does this person's energy feel like a positive thing or like a thing that's actually quite threatening? And so I was really attuned to that, and I'm like, "Oh, even if they're making me question my own reality or my own safety or anything about it, it doesn't matter what they say. Because when I know that the Goddess lives within me and all my chakras, then I'm going to now trust in my inner voice, and I'm going to trust that if this doesn't feel right to me, something is not right." And I don't need evidence or experience to confirm that, right? Because that was so much of my struggle with intuition, and trusting it in the past was like looking for evidence, looking for something concrete of like, "Why do I have these thoughts about how I feel about this person?"

Ananta: And I'm like, okay, that whole experience was to teach me to just trust it and don't look for any confirmation or any evidence that feels wrong, just walk away. And that is a good thing to know. So I'm glad, actually that I had the experience because it also then showed me step seven, which is that transcending trauma with wisdom that we're going to have triggers, right? We're going to have things that remind us of things that happened in the past. Even sometimes the smell of something will remind us of a traumatic experience. But how quickly can we recover, right? And that recovery, again, is based on the memory. How quickly do we remember when we're going through darkness when we're going through triggers that okay, even though I feel this way, I'm going to honor how I feel. I feel afraid. I feel shaken up. I feel unstable. At the moment, I fully felt it. I felt like a red alarm right throughout my body that this doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel safe. And then I was like, "Oh, but I am a powerful being." That itself is a practice to just constantly remind yourself, "I am a powerful being," as a mantra.

And I literally kept saying that to myself over and over and over again in that situation. In that moment. On that day. Even in the aftermath of that. And getting into some situations of being gaslit and told different stories. That it doesn't matter because I'm a powerful being and I will trust my power and I will honor my inner voice where I wasn't able to in the past. And so I was able to then rewrite a new story and rewrite a new experience from that experience that was based on this practice and this knowledge. And I feel like that's life, right? Like, when you write something or when you resolve something, or when you feel like you've learned something, you get these tests from life just to make sure you really got it.

Amy: I think that that is the universe saying, “Are you sure?”

Ananta: Yeah.

Amy: Are you sure? Because here's the test.

Ananta: And there are people like that, right, who are going to test us, and they're our teachers. I really believe they're our teachers.

Amy: Absolutely. And I always say triggers are an invitation to heal. And so triggered, there is something there for you to look at what's underneath the rug. Like, pull up the rug, look at what's under there, because there's something else there. And it could just be that reminder, like, you were saying that I'm a powerful being. Like, I'm powerful. I have the right to say no. I have the right to step out of this situation. I don't owe anybody any explanation to it, too, because I think that people that have been in a traumatic experience, that are people pleasers have the need and desire to overly explain themselves.

Ananta: Yes, yes.

Amy: No. You don't even owe the person an explanation. If all fire alarms are going off in your body, you can just say, "I've got to go, I'm sorry, see you later."'And that's it. You don't have to overly explain anything because, again, that's a coping mechanism of how we handled our trauma from the past, which I think is really interesting. You mentioned karma, and I love the way that you explained karma in the book. Can you explain what karma is to our listeners? Because I think some people just think it's bad things that happen to you. Certainly not.

Ananta: Yes, definitely. I mean, it is at its most basic, what they say, what goes around comes around. But I think of it more as the spiritual law of cause and effect. It's actually quite scientific. It means that whatever happens has a cause, and that cause is karma. And it's interesting because the word karma itself also means action. So any action that you take is going to have a repercussion. It's going to have a consequence. So when we look at the past, I feel that the law of karma helps put things into perspective. Everything we experience is due to karma. So your child, for example, it didn't just randomly come to you. That was due to the Law of Karma. There was some unfinished soul contract between you and your child which would bring you into a relationship in this life, right? Because there are so many things that could have come in the way otherwise of you having that connection, right? And even our parents, we are born to them because we have some unfinished karmic ties that need to be addressed, right? And it could just be good things. It could just be that if some people have a great relationship with their parents right from birth, then that is a result of positive karma that was accrued from prior lifetimes, right?

And it's unequal. Karmic endowments are the explanation for why some people have some situations in life and some people don't, right? But then it's different for different areas of your life. And yet we don't have to resign ourselves to it and just feel fatalistic because we're always creating it and we're creating it right now. So with the words that we speak, with the thoughts that we think, with the actions that we take, we are literally with our thoughts, speech, and actions creating our reality right now. And we are creating the future that is to come to us in the near term, the intermediate term, and the long term. So ultimately it's saying that your future is in your hands based on how you are architecting your thoughts, words, and actions and what's driving them, right? Because underneath the karma, the reason why we have karma is because of desires. So the desires lead to this karma that then we have to fulfill.

And so if you are feeling overwhelming desires for something like, for example, if people have an addiction say to gambling, right? Or to food or sex or just any of these kinds of common things that people get addicted to. Then it could be that you're born because you had that compulsion within you based on really deep-seated desires which created these seeds of karma for you to have that experience of that feeling of incompleteness without the object or substance of the addiction. But if we are with spiritual knowledge in this lifetime, then we can actually rewrite that, right? And it will take a lot of effort if all of our conditioning if our parents were doing some of these things, to change that script.

Ananta: But when we really know the Law of Karma, then we're going to know that thought by thought, word by word, action by action, or no action by no action, right? Not doing it. We are actually going to change the painting on the wall, right? So if it's like all yellow paint as an example, and you want to change it into green, then first you have to put some blue paint onto it, right? And then some more blue paint and then eventually it changes when you consistently are applying the new color to it, but it won't happen right away. It'll be something that takes effort to reverse.

And then similarly, if we're going or not similarly, but probably not contrary, if we're going through some difficult times or if we're going through some positive times, in the positive times, we often forget that it's coming due to past causes and effects. And we take things for granted, and then we create something potentially negative from taking it for granted in the future. So when we understand the law of karma, we'll stop taking things for granted. Also, if we have some support that's coming in, if we have some positive things, like even our health, right, even our ability to work in whatever kind of capacity we work in and survive and have a roof over our heads and all of this, we will not take that for granted. We will start to really appreciate that. And in appreciation, we generate positive situations for ourselves. I think it makes us just a lot more careful. Personally, for me, I think of it all the time and it just makes me feel a lot more responsible in a good way, though. In an absolutely empowered way.

Amy: Yeah. It makes you slow down and just think about the ripple effect of your actions and your thoughts and your deeds and your words. And so I personally think it's an amazing thing that it's not just a negative thing that's karma biting you in the butt. Like no, it's karma when it's good, it's karma when it's neutral, it's karma when it's bad. So it's just taking a look at it as a whole. So I love the way that you explained it. Out of all the goddesses that you work with, which one is your favorite and why?

Ananta: I do get asked this from time to time. It's always so hard to answer this question because they're all so valuable.

Amy: For the moment, what's going on?

Ananta: It does, actually. But I do feel that I usually cheat a little bit on this question by saying, too, because I feel that life is all about balance, right? And I feel that there is a great balance between the goddess in the heart chakra and the goddess in the crown chakra. So the goddess in the heart chakra is called Kushmanda, and she's always smiling. She's the laughing goddess who created the universe through heartfelt laughter. And then goddess Kalirati is in the crown chakra, where we're transcending trauma with wisdom. And it's the power of truth to break through and pierce all illusions. And I find that it's a hard one, it's an intense one, it's a ferocious one.

Amy: Call on her. You better be ready to do it.

Ananta: Yeah, exactly. If you really want to be set free, you will see the truth and it shall set you free. But first, it may be kind of painful, it may be kind of uncomfortable, it may be like the most intense experience of your life, potentially, but it will do its magic. And I just find that having a balance of both the love in the heart and the transcendence feeling in the crown is a really awesome balance to each other. So I feel that they both are my favorites if you will.

Amy: Yeah, I like them both too. I like them all. I really like them. It just depends on the moment and what I'm working on, what's happening, and who wants to support me in it too. Because sometimes for me, they just show up because I have a big connection with the goddess when I'm not may be aware of what's coming next, but I'm so used to being in ritual with them, they will just appear and I know what's about to happen because of their appearance. So it's really neat. And I think your book was very well written and I loved how you just intertwined Ayurveda and the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas. I think it's just so beautifully written. So if you guys are called to it, check out the book. It will be in the show notes to purchase the book if that's something that you're interested in. Is there anything else you want to share with our listeners before we hop off?

Ananta: If you're feeling that call towards really being the highest version of yourself, the best version of yourself, then honor that and find that courage within to really take that first step on the journey. And I feel that reading the book itself is a really powerful first step to go within and really wage that inner battle and know that when you do, you shall too emerge as this incredible warrior who will find the strength to be able to overcome whatever may currently be holding you down and really just go for it. And I feel that my experiences and all the transformation that I've gone through with just staying with it and sticking to the path has been the greatest blessing of my life that has unfolded in ways I could have never ever predicted or expected. I never in a million years felt that my parents would organize a talk for me as my first talk on this book tour for the Way of the Goddess. When I have shared their stories, I just didn't even know that's something I could do. And yet it's just working.

Amy: It's so healing for the entire lineage.

Ananta: Yes, it really is.

Amy: It's really empowering. So it's just awesome.

Ananta: Yeah. And I feel it's important to believe also that healing is possible. It's going to be hard. There's no sugarcoating that, right? And if we don't even try because there's goddess Kalirati in the seventh step to take away those illusions. But it's worth it, you know, it's the hard work that we do that really allows us to change and real sustainable transformation and we have a lot of resources also to support people who wish to walk this path so that you're never alone in doing it, you know. So we're definitely creating a lot of community around this whole process with the book and our Spiritual Warrior Certificate program and in our upcoming Circle of Life community program so that we all walk on this path together and are able to just support each other as fellow seekers along the way. Because I feel that community is also very important when you're undergoing this type of journey and experience. And it's been really important in my life. And so I feel out of gratitude that it's important to create that organization and that structure to allow for more support in taking this courageous step to go within and really wage that inner war. So just know that there's support also as you go through this. You're not alone in it.

Amy: I think that that's really important because we're not meant to do things alone. We are meant to explore our minds on our own sometimes, but having community to lean into and to talk about allows us to heal faster, I think. What's one big thing that you're working on next that you're being called to do?

Ananta: In terms of?

Amy: Anything. Spirituality, life.

Ananta: Oh, gosh. I feel that I'm being called towards looking at relationships as a path of spiritual growth and really becoming what you're looking for in the other. I feel so often we seek out people in our lives because they represent some unfulfilled aspect of our own selves that we haven't fully developed within ourselves. And so I feel that when we take inventory of the people in our lives and why we're drawn to them, we could have a really great catalyst for our next stage of spiritual growth and transformation. And I feel that if we also can approach partnerships and close relationships and friendships. Even with this idea of learning from the other to embody what it is that most attract us to them. That would be a really interesting and cool and empowering and fun way to approach relationships and find that balance also of the different energies within ourselves. Like even the masculine and the feminine energies. So that we're not feeling like we're dependent upon other people. So much about this book was to kind of break the ties that bind and really learn to stand on my own feet in every relationship and every situation in order to heal it, in order to actually deepen it and allow it to grow.

And I feel that now in kind of re-engaging with the world of relationships, there is a way to do it differently, where it can be a journey of still standing on one's own in the relationship to be able to find that inner completion, which means that we'll be okay no matter what happens.

Amy: It will be a much easier way to approach new relationships too because I think there's a lot of people right now that are looking for new relationships. When you do it with the perspective that you just stated, it's like, oh, it opens up this playfulness, this curiosity, this self-discovery. I love it. It's lighthearted, so beautiful.

Ananta: We can't control what happens in our lives, who comes and goes from our lives, when they come and go, how things happen, how they unfold. But as long as we're ready to handle everything and to learn from everything, I feel it can all be a positive experience. And even with pets right? I feel that these theories apply to pets too. They're giving you some comfort, right? That you feel that you need them for. Then how do you cultivate their spirit within you right? And really overcome the difficulty of attachment without running away from relationships? Yeah. It's a fertile field, I feel, for transformation and growth.

Amy: You have a different approach, and I think that's really heart-opening in the way that we can approach it. So thank you so much for sharing that and sharing your wisdom today with our listeners. Check out the book. It's called The Way of the Goddess. You can find the link in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us today. I so appreciate you.

Ananta: Oh, thank you, Amy. I really enjoyed being with you. Thank you so much for having me.

Amy: No problem. Alright, guys, make sure you like and subscribe. I look forward to seeing you guys in the next episode. Bye.

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