I have visited this forum quite a bit for over a year now and would like to humbly offer this introduction.
My background is that I was brought up in a Christian family in the United States. I was always a questioner when it came to the beliefs in Christianity, but I never broke completely free of a lot of the fear and guilt that it taught me.
A little over two years ago (in the summer of 2014) I went through what I can only describe as a period of initial awakening. I became horrified and depressed by all of the things I was seeing in the news. At this time my body also began to reject eating meat. I had tried to become a vegetarian several years ago out of compassion for animals, but my ignorance in nutrition led me to begin eating meat again - this time, however, my body and soul could no longer bear the thought of eating meat.
I began to sleep very poorly as I was consumed with pain for other beings on the earth who were suffering. My mental and physical health were suffering severely when a friend of mine recommended that I see an Ayurvedic doctor. I was very intrigued and decided to see him. It was a turning point in my life as he gave me a diet to follow, daily asanas, pranayama techniques and taught me about meditation.
It was not long after my initial visit and reading about Ayurveda and yoga that I had a very vivid dream. I fell out of a large slide or tube into a classroom. There was an Indian man with a mustache dressed in western clothes teaching at the front. I thought I was invisible but the man looked at me directly, wrote something on a piece of paper and said, "When you wake up, learn about this:" - he held up the paper and it said something like "Brhman". In the dream I could not read it correctly and thought he must have just spelled a word incorrectly. I woke up and began searching for words with those letters and soon found Brahman.
This started my studies of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and of the different Sanatana Dharma traditions. I had tears when I heard some of the words spoken to Arjuna because I had never heard anything that made so much sense on a spiritual level. I must say that I was also led to read the Tao Te Ching and a lot from the teacher Swami Lakshmanjoo - I read a commentary of the Bhagavad Gita by S Lakshmanjoo and it helped to make things even more clear.
At this point I would have to say that the Bhagavad Gita, some of the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching and Kashmir Shaivism have helped to remove a lot a of ignorance that had covered my knowledge for most of this life. I still feel like a neophyte when it comes to meditation, but I am continuing the process, where "no effort is lost."
There is a lot more to the whole story but just wanted to give a little summary. Thank you for listening and thank you for your model of devotion that naturally attracts the seeking hearts, rather than forcing beliefs on to people as the religion of my upbringing had done.