The true meaning of life
by Kapila Castoldi
Ann Arbor, United States
In the summer of 1980 I came to the United States for research. My Italian university was looking for a collaboration with American universities. I fell in love right away with this young, vibrant country and so a month turned into a year, and eventually I took a leave of absence to stay here for a few years. Although not totally easy, these years were very exciting, as I ended up working at a major laboratory outside Chicago, with the crème of the physicists from around the world.
Gradually, though, I began to realise that something was missing. All the ingredients were there, as I was learning a lot, I was advancing in my career, etc., but true happiness was not to be found. This had happened to a lesser degree when I was growing up. Finding myself uneasy, I had left the church when I was about twelve. As I grew up, I began to be pulled by books on world religions, but then my studies took me away from all this. As I became a physicist, I gradually turned into an atheist. So the matter was set aside for a number of years and totally forgotten.
During the occasional crises in the early US years, I rediscovered part of my old self: I started painting again. Yet, this did not seem to be enough to fill the void that was periodically surfacing in me. So I decided that I needed to try something new, perhaps meet new people. Among the minicourses offered by the university I found interesting a class on ceramic painting, but also one on meditation. This last one was free, so I decided to try it.
I did not know anything about meditation, but I figured I would meet some old Indian teacher with long beard, long hair, wearing a long robe… Well, it turns out that the class was taught by a young, funny, joking American, dressed in white, with short hair, no beard. A bit shocking! Somehow, though, I started practising the techniques that he was teaching, and this felt good. I started reading Guru’s books and I liked them very much. Also, I found the music very soothing…
The ‘bomb’ exploded a year later, when I first visited New York. As I was passing by Guru at the old Progress- Promise, I was caught by his eyes: they were so deep. I was used to judging people by the depth of their eyes, but I never saw such a depth before – I felt like diving in there. I also felt a sense of familiarity, as if I knew him already. At the same time it was as if I had gone through X-rays – I felt he knew everything about me. All this happened in the course of a few seconds. This was the beginning of a long journey during which I began to know Guru more and more as a spiritual Father who brought me gradually back to the true meaning of life.