In her travels around the world, Carole Davis-McMechan has sat with gurus in India and met Sufi mystics in Afghanistan.
But her search for self-realization finally ended back home in Vernon, when she met Gurpreet, an awakened teacher who gives retreats across Canada and internationally.
“I had given up, thinking only saints and holy people could reach the awakened state,” said Davis-McMechan, a mother of two grown children. “Eight years before I met her, I said, ‘I’m done.’” But meeting Gurpreet was an experience I will never forget. She is an enlightened master who teaches that anyone can awake to their true selves.”
After several years of study with Gurpreet, Davis-McMechan asked if she could compile her teachings into a book.
Wake Up! Awakening to your True Self is the result and already the book is garnering wide acclaim. Published in August, it has sold more than 500 copies in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. At the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, it drew attention from publishers from China, Germany, Indonesia, Collins/Harper in India, Argentina and Egypt. It is now being translated into French, German, Spanish, Turkish and Hindi.
“The purpose of this book and why it came into being is because there is such a need for people to wake up to who they really are by seeing their created self, their ego and how this part of themselves is creating such deep unhappiness, with the wanting and needing and having to have creating anxiety and not reaching that place of peace,” said Davis-McMechan.
She said Gurpreet’s teachings are radical: there is no spirituality, no dogma, no belief systems, no mysticism.
“Instead, these words help us to see our own belief systems, our patterns and our created self to embrace everything we see inside ourselves in a kind and loving way, where there is nothing to change and nothing to fix.”
Divided into two sections, the book contains a compilation of Gurpreet’s knowledge and insights. The first section is a selection of questions and answers gathered from Gurpreet’s retreats in 2011 and 2012. The second section offers a discourse on connections (one-on-one talks) she has had with those seeking self-realization, addressing a wide range of issues, from death and grief, fear and anxiety to self-sabotage.
“Gurpreet’s words grace these pages and the simplicity, the wisdom, the truth and the love that this book conveys comes directly from her.”
Born and raised in Vernon, Davis-McMechan comes from a pioneer family who came to the area in 1904. She began her spiritual journey at 15, when she came across a copy of The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
“I had no religion as a kid, and grew up in a very open-minded home,” she said. “But I was immediately fascinated by the book’s message, that death is not the end; it is simply a transition point in the cycle of many lives. There was something compelling on those pages, and it marked the beginning of my very long and difficult search for awakening and self-realization.
“I have sat with the most self-realized people on the planet, and these people are enlightened. But I got so tired of seeing these awakened masters — I was not there to adore them, I wanted to be awakened.”
She connected with Gurpreet by chance when she received an e-mail about a workshop she was doing in Vernon in 2011. But having given up on her search for enlightenment, Davis-McMechan hit the delete button. A week later, she received another e-mail reminder of the retreat and figured she had nothing to lose; with a guarded attitude, she attended.
“I asked Gurpreet as many questions as I could and question after question, she didn’t bat an eye — she welcomed them all, answering me in a direct yet warm, kind way.
“I could see Gurpreet was somehow different. She told us that she had worked for and found her awakening and that she could teach us how to find it too. It’s all heart work, not head work, but the monkey chatter is gone. Awakening is living with your real self, it’s facing everything you are with love. I keep doing the work as I have lots more to see.”
Since that first retreat, Davis-McMechan has attended many more and has accompanied Gurpreet to Istanbul, Turkey to facilitate a retreat there.
In editing the book, she worked with volunteers to transcribe the questions and answers and personal connections with Gurpreet, and gives particular credit to Karen Six of Vernon for her help with the book.
Born in Punjab, India, Gurpreet and her husband immigrated to Edmonton, Alta. in 1984. In 1994, the sudden death of a dear cousin shook her deeply and caused her to begin her search for answers to the meaning of life. Tragedy struck again when she lost her husband to a heart attack.
She was not particularly spiritual, but the pain of losing loved ones opened her to explore spirituality and different types of meditation, chanting and mantras. She began to follow inner guidance with her whole heart.
“The very first recognition that came to her was the need to surrender,” said Davis-McMechan.
When she met a spiritual teacher in Edmonton, Gurpreet began to realize there was a different way to live.
“Through this journey, she established herself in profound inner purity, knowing, selflessness and simplicity of heart,” said Davis-McMechan. “And in 2007 she became one with truth; she awakened. This transformational experience led her to enlightenment.”
Still living in Edmonton, Gurpreet travels internationally holding seminars. All proceeds from the book will allow her to continue teaching around the world
Gurpreet’s next seminar in Vernon runs Nov. 28 through to Dec. 3. It begins at 6:30 p.m. on the Thursday and all other days feature two sessions, at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day, at Pacific Inn and Suites, 4716-34th St. For more information on this and future retreats in Vernon and across Canada, see www.awakeningwithgurpreet.com
Wake Up! has received Editor’s Choice Award from an independent group of editors from U.S. publishing houses. It is available by contacting Davis-McMechan at 250-309-2736. The $20 cost includes tax. It is also available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters for $21.95 US.