Hi my name is Alma Chopra and I am the author of this website. I was born and brought up in New Jersey, USA. I went to prominent and prestigious schools, receiving a degree in Psychology, English, and Spanish from Case Western University and later completed 1 year of Law at Cleveland State University.
For 15 years now I have been suffering from cerebellar ataxia. If you are not familiar with Ataxia you are not alone, it’s not a very well know disease. Ataxia has many classifications: but at the core it is a balance disorder. At the age of 10 I was diagnosed with this disease, and it was later further classified as cerebellar ataxia. What I suffer from is the symptom: the headache without the underlying fever. Although the etiology of Ataxia can be genetic, a head lesion, or an underlying disease, I was the lucky one to be diagnosed with the most enigmatic form of the disease.
Now after spending my life running after and being afraid of my disability I can understand how it empowers me. The humiliation and emotional pain I am inflicted with is unbearable, but the strength that I [and others with diseases] possess to rewind and replay circumstances and scenes that inflict physical or emotional pain cannot be overlooked.
Having lived a life with an untreatable, degenerative disease with an unknown cause left me pondering for many years. Until my mid 20’s my thoughts were kept at bay as I was mostly preoccupied with academics, but I was always drawn to the more metaphysical concepts and always believed in destiny.
Traveling on this journey my hardships have allowed me to become a more mature being. I can understand, relate, and advise people in ways others cannot. After 15 odd years of slipping, regrouping, falling, floundering, and getting up again I have found the one stronghold that gives me some stability and peace of mind: faith. Faith is an abstraction and an anomalous solution to life’s puzzles, but the greatest puzzle pieces concern who we are and why we are here.
Faith is not my ‘saving grace’, as my saving grace is my own will and strength, but faith is a very large, stable, and supportive stepping stone. A stepping stone to where? Being at peace with yourself, being happy, and being satisfied. Isn’t this what we all want? We work so we can afford to buy luxuries, we watch comedies to make ourselves laugh, we undergo physical activities i.e. sleeping, eating, and mating to satisfy ourselves.
My condition has made me understand that making myself happy with luxuries, tasty food, an attractive partner is temporary. I am on the quest to find something that can give me more long lived happiness. Inherently, I believe in the soul and reincarnation, so when I was introduced to the Vedic texts a few weeks back, I figured out what I have been trying to do for so long, but was fiercely found ill equipped: nourish the soul.
When I chant, meditate, and loose myself in the Flow I am at peace. For so long I have searched for happiness and peace that came with more permanency, and now that I found a means for it I would like to help others in similar or different situations find it too.
So this website is a way for me to put my footprint in the world. I would like to offer whatever I can to others before time consumes me. I have been told before that I am inspiring, let me try to expand my audience and hopefully get the attention of one or two of you that can’t find inspiration elsewhere.