For those of us longing for larger, existential truths, the path can be a rocky road, filled with detours and questions. We may change slowly. Or we may experience a life-altering event that shifts our awareness in sudden and irreversible ways. Such was the case with Vivianne Nantel, a powerful mystic and yoga practitioner. In her riveting book, Becoming the Light: Realize Your True Enlightenment Nature (Greenleaf Book Group Press, August 2018), she recounts a near-death experience that proved to be a profound turning point
The day Alaska Airlines Flight #261 went down in the ocean, taking the lives of all of its passengers, she was supposed to be on that flight. It’s a harrowing story that could happen to any one of us. By chance Nantel opted to switch to a later flight that same day. Without knowing what had happened, and while crossing the skies, she had a disturbing sense of unease.
Only upon landing did she find out about the tragedy. She realized she’d been connecting with the event as it happened, and was tuned into the very emotions and terror of the passengers on that fatal trip. It was then she realized we’re all entirely interconnected — everything, and everyone. A heavy sense of loss stayed with her for months, but so did a profound sense of experiencing Oneness with the Universe. She would never be the same.
Nantel is a captivating storyteller and an illuminating teacher. Always aware she was different, she had a difficult and abusive childhood, faced bouts of illness and depression as an adult, and yearned to connect with something larger — an intangible sense of spirit she sensed but did not understand. She set out to learn all she could. It was an epic spiritual and emotional journey that led to a life of power, grace, and this book.
Becoming the Light is both a richly colored and detailed memoir, and an eloquent and accessible guidebook for anyone seeking spiritual growth. It’s grounded within Nantel’s advanced base of knowledge: she’s studied with living masters, such as the Dalai Lama; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar; and Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath, and draws on their wisdom, offering fascinating explanations and lessons.
Nantel touches on profound universalities, discusses traditions, and shines a light on terms and concepts that readers may have heard of but don’t quite understand — such as the true meaning of an avatar. In another gripping section of the book, she is devastated by a cancer diagnosis, and feels sideswiped by this twist of fate. After wondering if she can conquer this terrible disease. she realizes she will need an ally to lend strength, courage and will.
As she explains to the reader, having an ally — an avatar — has long been part of the warrior’s journey: “Arjuna, the prince warrior in the Bhagavad Gita, does not want to fight an inevitable battle, and so he chooses Lord Krishna, a Divine incarnation, a mahavatar, to be by his side on the battlefield … I decided, like Arjuna, I would choose God to fight my own inner battle.”
By turning to the Divine, Nantel finds her inner strength — and describes how its power helps her heal. At one point, she draws on the potency of her yoga practice to imagine she can “blast” the cancer cells right out of her body — and it works. As she relates, it’s not a miracle that such an approach would succeed. To her, it’s part of being so closely connected to the spiritual power that lies within us all.
Nantel is particularly impassioned as she explains various techniques. In flowing passages, she discusses the importance of releasing the Divine energy that resides inside us, how to achieve and harness the power of Samadhi — a trancelike state, how to discover and use mantras to help us break free of limitations and doubts, and how to truly connect with the world of the Spirit.
“It is all the same energy,” she notes, from the bees and ants to human beings. This lesson is well worth telling, over and over. And Becoming the Light, filled with the tools we need to reach a higher state of consciousness, connect to sacred spirit, and to feel a deep sense of joy, is a book worth turning to, time and again.
For more on Vivianne Nantel, visit her website