You Are What You Love

By Donna Strong


Vaishali is a spiritual galvanizing rod, crackling with cutting-edge candor and laser-like clarity. Her first book, You Are WhatYou Love, is a tour de force of wit and wisdom. Her writing transcends the confines of regular language, offering mind-bending new perspectives to bring deeper understanding.

As a woman who has undertaken a lengthy study of the great spiritual traditions, she has digested an encyclopedia of esoteric information, offering it with Zen directness and simplicity. In bringing forth the work of Emmanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish mystic and scientist who lived three centuries earlier, she has offered us a font of timeless insight. It proves its merit by simultaneously addressing the current collective interest in the Law of Attraction.

She offers Swedenborg’s perspective: You are what you love and you create it in abundance through what you give your attention to. This book makes it pointedly clear; we choose Heaven or hell each moment, based on where we place our attention.

As a street-smart ‘doctor of divinity,’ Vaishali’s prescription for transforming the ego-ridden ills of present-day life is to offer generous portions of soul food, insightful commentary on what truly sustains our lives, spiced with pithy humor that is right at home. Vaishali’s work certainly affirms the psychology research that wit is a lively form of intelligence.

They say the masters have a great sense of humor, and Vaishali stands among them, to remind us all that we are able to transcend temporal turbulence as the enduring and eternal flame of awareness that we each are. As a living example of one who has faced great trials as her own life unraveled, the ‘V’ in her name must surely stand for victory, for she has triumphed in realizing brilliant awareness beyond the muck of the unenlightened mind.

As a diva who pays daily homage to the color purple, she is a shining example of the gifts of the Violet Ray for our age; the ability to transmute and move forward, laughing and free. Unabashedly direct, she has a lightning form of brilliance to not only illuminate ancient wisdom, but also make it crisply modern and sagely savvy.

As we kick off the New Year, we present Vaishali, a woman who presents her spiritual acumen with a strong dash of verve and vivid color.

Awareness: To begin, please tell us how you came to love the color purple…

Vaishali: Ever since I was a small child, this color has just fascinated me. I’ll tell you an interesting story that might explain it. When I was first putting together, You Are What You Love, I thought I should seek out somebody in the industry who would just give me the straight dope on whether this was something I should pursue, or maybe I shouldn’t quit my day job. So I got hold of Dannion Brinkley, and we sent him a copy of the book. After he read it, he said, “This is going to be very, very big.”

For the first year after we made contact, we only talked on the phone, so he never saw that everything in my life is purple. I tell people that I had my white and grey matter converted to purple so it wouldn’t clash with my accessories. We were talking on the phone one day and he says, “When I look at you energetically, you don’t even exist.”  He said, “Are you familiar with the Violet Flame group?” I said, Yes I am, of course. “

When I look at you energetically, this group simply downloads through you, you don’t even really exist! You are purely their conduit, and I have never seen that before.” So I suspect that explains why since I was a small child, this color has absolutely mesmerized me.

Awareness: I asked you that because I thought there might be a relationship; the Violet Flame is such a potent energy.

Vaishali: I have a little blurb about it in the book, indicating that it is Shiva’s favorite color. Shiva is considered the most powerful of all the Hindu gods, because he was willing to drink the world’s poison and transform it into unconditional love. I see the color purple as symbolic of an application of your free will to take the lowest, the world’s poison, and to transform it into unconditional love.

Awareness: For me this gets to the core of something I feel is the truth about you so I really appreciate your openness in sharing it. It also illuminates for us that there is something intelligent in our inherent draw to certain colors and interest in subjects we should trust. Can you tell me a bit about how Emmanuel Swedenborg came into your life, since he is such a major figure offering spiritual direction in your compelling book?

Vaishali: Someone gave me a cassette tape, called The Secrets of the Masters, done by Michael Coleman, who was head professor of Philosophy at Sonoma University at the time. There were many things I recognized in the collection, like existentialism, Freud, and reincarnation, but there was one tape marked Swedenborg, and I had never heard of him.

At that time, I was in my mid-twenties and I had been diagnosed as terminally ill. His whole idea of ‘you are what you love’ and ‘you love whatever you give your attention to,’ was the seed that created this vast inner revolution in my life. You know when the Beatles say; ‘You want a revolution, you had better free your mind instead.’ 

I would heartily agree with that. It allowed me to see how the way I was living affected my health. When I really examined this law, ‘you are what you love,’ and ‘you love whatever you give your attention to,’ I realized I loved some really limited, non-life sustaining things. There was a direct correlation to what I was fixated on, and how my  body was responding. Before being diagnosed as terminal, I had abdominal pain for a year. After having exploratory surgery, my doctor told me all my organs were in crisis. While taking a quarter from his pocket he remarked, “Your liver and small intestines are the worst. I could flip this quarter as to which organ will shut down first.” Because of the difficulties in my life, I had given worry the bulk of my attention. Worry was my drug of choice. It was the first thing I would focus on when I got up in the morning and the last thing I thought about before going to sleep at night. I mainlined worry. My love of it only brought more worry into my life.

When I realized this, I was already in so much pain all the time, I figured what do I have to lose?  Swedenborg stated very simply, there is nothing in it for you when you give your attention to anything limiting. So I thought okay, there is nothing I have to lose, my life is already swirling down the drain, so why don’t I practice not giving my attention to anything limiting?

I began practicing. When my attention floated back to things that were limiting, I would let them be an inner alarm clock that would awaken me to, “Oh yea, this is not what I want to do with my love!” I didn’t spiritually travel from wherever I was to find my goofy butt in a bag of protoplasm.

That is not what I want to do with my love, so I started practicing giving my free will only to what lived in an unlimited place and it created an absolute inner and outer revolution in my life! The more I pulled my butt out of the fire and gained momentum and mastery of this practice, I realized this is something the rest of the world really doesn’t get.

Awareness: It is absolutely true. There are qualities of these principles that are well known, but you are a catalyst to wake people up. Love is a powerful force. Yet we try to put it in a little box and keep it  ‘well-managed’ in our lives.

Vaishali: And it is not! Our palpable living relationship with it is so superficial; it is a short shoddy affair. We think of love in this very limited way, as to do only with things we like or family or pictures that have to do with puppies and kittens. It does not reach the depth of ‘You do not have love, you are love.’ It is inseparable from your spiritual identity. It is what you brought with you when you came, it is the vehicle by which you experience this planet and it is what you are going to take with you when you leave.

Awareness: One of the things you touched on right there, and your book brilliantly exposes, is how we language everything like it is some kind of property. We are constantly reviewing all of the things that we ‘have.’

Vaishali: The most crucial perception of our spiritual identity, our alignment with love, our value, our power and worth, is that we have it completely at the mercy of the temporal world, so we see it as conditional. Especially with the Puritan work ethic in America, we see it as something that has to be earned or deserved. It needs to be claimed in the eternal category.

Regardless of whether we have gone through a big nasty divorce or people say, “I don’t like you because you have a big butt,” “You don’t have love, you are it.” No one or no thing on this planet has the power to change that! Whether you can pay your bills or not, get fired from a job, or whether you have been a housewife your whole life and feel like you don’t have value as a workforce commodity, you don’t have value, power and worth, you are it! That is eternal and unchanging! 

The soul is a sum total of our free will and our love, what we give our attention to, our service, the quality of our relationships and our life purpose. When we move the soul out of the temporal, it allows us to have experiences that we have come to earth to have, and not have our spiritual identity suffer from the experiences we go through. Hopefully our experiences are going to be wide and divergent, because we didn’t come here to live in a shoebox.

We need to go from what the temporal world wants to allot us by how well we perform, or how the conditions in the temporal world play themselves out today, all the way across the spectrum to, okay world, throw your best at me. Put me through the sausage factory, do your name calling, after all, this is life on planet earth, but you are not going to change the fact that I don’t have value and worth, I am it. You are still not going to change that I don’t have love; I am divine love in this moment. So go ahead and throw your best at me. Everything you throw at me tempers the truth in my mind to a state of absolute perfect unconditionality.

Awareness: Your comments remind me of what it was like as I let go of being a married middle-class woman, and the confines of ‘this is as good as it gets in life.’ Exploring in the years afterward was alternately painful and expansive; yet there was an inner guidance that kept urging me on to find a place of more freedom, one that felt right.

Vaishali: We all need to take our lives out of the temporal shoebox and move them to the eternal category, understanding everything that comes isn’t coming to diminish you or to make your life more complicated, it comes to serve you and bring an immortal relationship with divine unconditional love that is beyond the annihilation of anything in this world.

Awareness: On a related subject, what can people do in the moment to clear the samskaras {also spelled sanskaras, a word indicating impressions} mentioned in your book? Related to this, you make the fabulous statement, “We’re here to practice self soul surgery through self witnessing.”  Can you tell our readers about how to make this perceptual shift?

Vaishali: I love the saying; ‘the truth shall set you free.’ You know, the value of self-witnessing is that when you give your attention to the truth, that is where this tempering comes from that roasts the seeds of karma. No incomplete action comes from it. The idea is, when I give my attention to the truth, that as divine love, it means I do not have God consciousness, I am God consciousness.

As God consciousness, I cannot create a learning experience I don’t need. This is how Emmanuel Swedenborg says it. No one on this planet can create a learning experience that we don’t need. Only what we need to reach enlightenment is ever allowed to touch our lives.

The example I often give is this: What about the situation where some people get cancer and others don’t? What is that about? The people who got cancer needed that experience for the evolution of their souls and the people who didn’t get cancer didn’t. Only what you need, when you need it, according to Swedenborg in his observations on the power of divine love and wisdom. Everything that happens in your life is working for you or it would not be allowed near your life. Everything, without exception, is working for you.

As Buddhism says, pain is a part of life. Suffering is optional. When you go through life and you experience divorce and illness and monetary challenges, you experience the myriad of different crises that are part and parcel with this packaging.

When you give your attention to ‘why is this happening to me,’ the level of suffering escalates. The firestorm whips up around you, creating more samskaras, more marks or more impressions of woundedness, of ‘I have no power, I have no worth, why was I singled out for this terrible thing to happen to me?’ 

When you witness a human experience through the flame of truth, that this is serving me or it would not be allowed to show up, it is actually accelerating the evolution of your soul and the liberation of your mind. Divine love and wisdom is extremely efficient.

It is incapable of manifesting something it does not need. Therefore, rather than coming to this with the firestorm question that only ravages my mind with ‘why me,’ I am going to come to this and ask the question, ‘okay, what’s in it for me?’

Only what serves and brings me to enlightenment is allowed to come into my life, to be experienced in my human incarnation. The flame of truth purifies the illusion and destroys the limitation, removing the samskara from your mind.

Awareness: I had an experience of this recently, and it is potently true!

Vaishali: You know, the truth does set you free. So when you are in the firestorm, stop and witness what you are doing with your attention. If it is not setting you free, it is your spiritual identity’s wisdom telling you that you have not seen the truth of it, keep looking.

Awareness: Personally, I have found that when the firestorm is ravaging, I eventually get to the point where I am just willing to let go, because it is so painful and heavy, I am not willing to carry it any more. Would you like to speak to the quality of surrender that you have addressed in your book?

Vaishali: The first thing that I want to acknowledge is your strongest urge to surrender and let it go is the benefit of spiritual maturity. Most people would draw it closer to themselves, by virtue of how they define themselves by it.

I am the person this terrible thing happened to; I am the person who got this divorce, whatever the litany. So they draw it closer, and their instinctual response is not to let go and let God, or to allow whatever the evolutionary force is to create an opening and do some spiritual sculpting so their true divine form can emerge. So let me just acknowledge that what you just shared is truly revealing of what you love.

It is our work right now to create that hundredth-monkey infectious response, so that it does become natural to ‘let go and let God,’ and not simply sleepwalk. When you sleepwalk through life, you don’t realize how much energy you give away to things that will take you emotionally, psychologically and spiritually to a limited existence.

When you ask most people if they want to have vibrant health, abundant finances, and quality healthy relationships, they would say “Yes, sign me up,” but when you say the price is being aware of what you give your attention to, suddenly nobody is interested.

Awareness: Yes, there is still a big disconnect.

Vaishali: There is a big disconnect. Surrender is a free-fall of ‘I can’t create a learning experience I don’t need, therefore whatever force is moving through my life right now is creating a spiritual revolution, an evolutionary advance, and I will allow the gift of divine love and wisdom to shape and mold and create the perfect vessel.’

Intellectually you are trying to figure out how to get out of situations that are painful or how you can change the situation more toward your ego’s agenda and how it defines the experience. What is happening is infinitely greater than the ego’s opinion.

Surrender is a non-intellectualized state that is the wisdom of a heart aligned with the truth; the awareness that I don’t have love, I am love.
For more information about Vaishali, her books, radio show and other events, please or

Donna Strong’s first book, Coming Home to Calm, will be published in January 2008. She can be reached at

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