Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD April 11, 2020
Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.
“It’s very difficult time. So, it’s a good time to be kind to yourself and allow what is to be for now. This is the moment you have. You don’t have any other moments. Now is what you have. 10 minutes from that will be now… What happens three years from now, you don’t know, but now is the time that you have to try to relax about all these issues that you have in your life and in your emotions, come to peace with them, greet them, get to know them. Stop judging yourself so harshly for feeling these things. Stop judging yourself harshly for not having what you think you should have. ‘Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I don’t have what it takes for this to happen for me.’ This would be a good time to let the sting of all those kinds of stories dissipate a little bit and don’t believe them so strongly every minute of every day. Right now, you can’t do much about anything. We’re stuck at home. We have our minds to deal with, and it’s our minds that all the suffering comes from; our minds, our emotions and our stuff.” – Krishna Das
I’ve been traveling for 25 years, almost nonstop. Which of course I love to do, and I love to sing with people, but I can actually spend a whole day now without worrying what’s going in the suitcase. It’s amazing. Because usually I have to travel, and I’ll go through two or three different climates. Right?
So, I take two suitcases and the harmonium, wherever I go. And if I never came back home again, I’d have everything I need for the rest of my life. Now, having all this space around me, I have time to clean my room. I’ve been cleaning for weeks. I haven’t made a dent.
Well, what do you want to do? What do you want to talk about? You know, trying very hard to achieve some particular kind of state of consciousness or some kind of feeling that we think we’ll be able to hold onto, that’s not really the best, beset plan. What we need to really cultivate is the ability to live with whatever shows up in our, in our life in the moment.
When I was younger, when I was, and I was in India with Maharajji and every day when we’d come out in the afternoon, he would come out to sit with us. I’d take a bath, cold water bucket bath, put on some clean clothes and come out and sit in front of him, and one day I laughed almost out loud because I saw that I was waiting for something to happen, you know? And I realized, every time I sang, every time I meditated, every time I did any kind of practice, there was a program running behind, like waiting for something, waiting for it to happen.
And that moment, sitting with him, I laughed because I realized, wait a minute, it’s already happened. I’m here. And I realized I had this, this idea that liberation, freedom, Nirvana, ultimate bliss was, when I would get that, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be there when that was here. I wouldn’t be there.
And I laughed because I recognize that that moment, there will not be billionth of a second that I will not be here, that you would not be here, but we get washed away and blown around by the winds of this and that, and the waves of this and that. And so, we don’t recognize that we’re always here. It would be like the ocean thinking that it’s a wave only and every time the wave crashes and tries to hold on to that wave and then it crashes and disappears or grabs onto another one.
But the ocean is always there, regardless of how many waves come and go.
Q: Hi everyone. My starts maybe with more of a statement and hopefully it’ll roll into a question, but I’m thinking a lot about the hanging out in the heart space. And I’ve been tuning into the YouTubes on Thursday nights and thinking about the importance of being with people that are sharing good thoughts and good intentions. And I heard someone say recently that this is a good time to be strong and separate yourself from others that are full of fear and full of anxiety. And I’m a teacher. And so, my colleagues and my students are full of fear and anxiety right now. And I feel that I’m starting to take that on. Trying not to, but how can I be in a, hanging out in the heart space with people and, and let my students know that it’s going to be okay, but at the same time, I can barely get myself through the zoom faculty meetings every Monday morning. I don’t know.
Well, if you, if we would greet each moment with compassion and kindness for ourselves and others, we wouldn’t feel the need to protect ourselves. So, you you’re afraid of being hurt by what’s coming from what you think is the outside. But as you know, there really is no outside. We only experience it as an outside, but where do we experience it? Within ourselves. So, it’s our own knee jerk reactions, which are caused by our own attachments and our own fears and our own anxiety and all that stuff. It’s all that stuff that colors the outside world and makes us see it and experience it in a certain way.
And when you’re you become kinder to yourself, one of the things you notice is how fucking hard it is to keep it together and to feel okay. And then you see, well, if it’s so hard for me, imagine people who probably don’t understand that there’s any way to deal with this stuff in a in a positive way that w that you can learn and grow from. So, those are the people, then naturally your heart will feel for them, and there’s nothing to protect them. There’s no fear. There’s no worry. You can’t, you know, people’s, people used to say things like I’m gonna, I’m gonna will myself into some state of mind. You know? What am I trying to say? I remember people saying to me, like, they were afraid of getting something from somebody else. Right? Like catching some kind of fear from somebody else. So, I said, wait a minute. All right. I want you to give me a headache now. Some on, give me a headache. You can’t. So, nor can you get a headache from anybody else? So, it’s just the fear.
Right? So, the fear is within us, that’s our own stuff. And once again, there’s always reasons for that fear. It’s not necessarily what’s happening in the moment outside of us. It’s what buttons that stuff is pushing inside of us. So, this is the time to cultivate kindness, compassion, and ease of heart with our situation, as it is. Not try to change it, but to be with it in an open, relaxed way that allows people to be who they are, but you don’t have to buy their version of reality.
Q: Right. Yeah. I’m thinking about letting go, too, in many ways, just in general.
It’s not easy.
That’s why we do kirtan. That’s why the chanting, that’s the meditative aspect of the chanting.
You’re singing, you see a lot of people chant and they think that they’re supposed to feel some particular thing like love, imagine that, you know, but that’s not how I, that’s not what it means to me. That’s not the way I do it. I sing. When I notice I’m not paying attention, I sing. And when I notice I’m not paying attention, I sing. And that clears away the clouds that are between myself and the sun of who I really am, which is all the things that I really want to be and feel, so to speak. So, if you’re busy trying to manipulate your emotions, you’ll never let go.
So, we’re training, we’re training for these moments, right? When we sit down for whatever 10, 15, 20 minutes or whatever, and we sing, or we meditate or we chant quietly or whatever, we’re practicing letting go. And that moment that we practiced continues through the day underneath the conscious level.
So, when things come at us, there’s, now there’s other options in our awareness and our being to respond, other ways to respond.
It’s just like an athlete who practices foul shooting. You know? They’ll take thousands of shots, thousands of shots working on the right position, working on the thing. What do I look at? What do I do?
When it comes to game time? Boom. He shoots and he doesn’t think about it. There’s no thinking about it, but all the training that one did manifests in that moment. And that’s, that’s the deal. That’s why practice is so important because it’s the deal you make with yourself to not go, to try to pay attention and not go off with every thought forever, you know, but it’s not easy.
And the minute, of course, the minute you sit down and try to do some practice, you, then you really see how much nonsense there is in our heads all the time.
But that’s a good thing.
And then you start thinking, Oh, I’m totally fucked up. I’ll never get this. Right. That’s just a thought, let it go.
So, when in the non-practice session times of our life, we have those thoughts or we, we start believing those stories, there’s also a part of us that we’ve been training to release that belief in those negative stories. But we have to put the time in by ourselves in the practice time or with a group doing the same practice, like in the chanting.
And then it’ll happen by itself the rest of the day. But you don’t notice that, because if you notice that you’d be, we’d be patting ourselves on the back and forgetting that we’re not, you know, it’s not about us in the first place. It’s about letting go. The funny thing is, you know, the spiritual path is not about “me” at all.
It has nothing to do with, “I think, feel, taste, touch, want don’t want.” That’s all the stuff we let go of. And that actually allows a much for a much richer, deeper experience of life.
Q: Thank you so much.
Ok. One more thing, one more thing, the tail end of that is that, so the first step, for instance, when you’re in a meeting or you’re meeting with people who you feel are really cranked up in fear and stuff, so first you, you feel for them and you wish them well. This is a part of the loving kindness practice that Sharon Salzberg always teaches. The Metta meditation. Because then when you’re wishing them well, so they don’t feel so bad, you’re not thinking about how you feel at all. You’re freed of yourself, your little circle of me, me, me at that moment, and that plants seeds, as well, of being freed of that obsessive me stuff. That, those seeds will also grow it at a later time. So, the first thing is recognizing what’s in front of you, the fear and the, where a person’s coming from and the second one is wishing them well.
And In the meditation practice, the formal Metta practice, there’s four different phrases that we offer to, we offer the universe or ourselves: may I be safe, May I be happy, May I be healthy, and may I live at ease of heart with whatever arises. So, you offer this to, you start off offering to yourself and then when you’re just about to have a total meltdown, they say, okay, now offer it to someone who’s always been on your side, always been your friend, always been there for you, regardless of how screwed up you were. And you start bringing that person to mind and you say, Oh, may you be safe, may you be happy.
Oh, and then you’re floating, you know? Wow. Yeah. And then they say, okay, now come back to you. So, this is the practice. And it’s so hard to let ourselves be at ease. It’s so hard to be kind to ourselves because we grew up in a culture that, for the most part, is not kind. People are not trained to be kind to themselves.
They’re trained to get as much as they can of anything they can hold on to, to grab a little pleasure and avoid pain. That’s how we grew up. That’s the whole world we grew up in. In the West, Western psychology and Western culture. S
o, I was thinking about saying something else, but I don’t remember what it is, so,
Q: I met you in Madison last year at just about this time, when you were at that gorgeous church, it was so beautiful.
Q: And I am the recipient of your last hug because you had to come to me cause I’m the wheelchair user. Right? So, my question, you know, my life has, so, I try to balance again, we’re talking about that internal heart space with the absolute chaos around us and, and find my place and find my footing. But my real question is, is it, is it my ego that wants to be pain-free, that wants to be able to get up and run and walk and participate in this life in a different way that my body won’t let me do right now?
I know, it’s big.
No, it’s not that big. Medium sized one, one medium sized ego.
So, it’s all ego, sweetheart. Everything on this side is ego, but that doesn’t matter. We don’t care what it is. How do we live in a good way?
So, you can’t stop the wind from blowing, so you might as well flow with it. When Ram Dass had his stroke, when he first had a stroke, he was lying in the hospital, paralyzed, unable to speak. And he was looking up at the ceiling cause he couldn’t move. He’s on his back. And he was thinking to himself, Where, where’s God? Where’s Maharajji? I was almost, I almost died. He said, I failed death. He said. Yeah? It’s supposed to like, have, you, know, Ram Ram going, going. He failed death. All he could think about was the pipes on the ceiling. So, and at that time he said, he used to think that Maharajji had given him that stroke. He used to say he was stroked, you know? And in fact, there was a whole movie made called “Fierce Grace” based on around us, his belief at that time that Maharajji had actually stroked him, had given him that stroke for his own benefit, to some degree.
So, many years later, he finally went to India again for the last time, in the wheelchair. And he was with Siddhi Ma, Maharajji’s great devotee. And she said, Ram Dass, Maharajji did not give you the stroke. He would never do that. That could never happen. The stroke is your karma. What Maharajji gives you, and will, has given you, is the strength and the grace to overcome the results of your karma in this moment.
And that’s a very big difference.
So… and, Ram Dass’s beauty and strength and greatness was that he did overcome those, those shortcomings. He never, he didn’t focus on the physical pains. He had so much pain. He had diabetic neuropathy, which is like needles, and he had extraordinary physical suffering. He never mentioned it. He was able to overcome his pride of having to be helped to do anything. At some point, maybe 10, 12 years into the stroke, he had, he fell and had to have hip surgery, hip replacement, and then he fell again and ripped his rotator cuffs. So, he couldn’t do anything for himself anymore.
He couldn’t turn himself in bed. He couldn’t do anything. He, everything had to be done for him. And he overcame the pride and he accepted help. And. He really blossomed. It was extraordinary.
So, not just for you, but for all of us…
What we have in our life at this moment is what’s supposed to be there, whether, all right, whether it’s supposed to be there or not, but it’s there. So, there’s nothing to say about it. So, but that’s the first step is recognizing, okay, this is, this is the given. Now what? Am I going to let it run me? Or am I going to deal with this?
You know, someone wants to ask his holiness, the Dalai Lama, are you happy?
And he said, well, I guess you could say I had a hard life. I was taken from my parents, like at the age of three, then I had to take the reins of my country at like 13. And then I had to escape while the Chinese invaded and killed millions and millions and millions of my people.
He said the Chinese have taken everything. The Chinese government,
Taken everything from me. Am I going to let them take my happiness?
Happiness, peace, calmness, openness, compassion, kindness: This is our true nature.
Let’s not let Our own actions of from the past, our own Karmas ruin this moment. We can overcome all that, but that’s where the work starts. That’s what it’s about. That’s why we calm our minds. That’s why we plant the seeds of the name.
That’s why we keep coming back from our thoughts. Everything you said to me is your thoughts and you believe them. Why? Why do we believe those stories? You know? We do. It’s, we’ve been trained to do that.
Q: I’ve been, I’ve worked a lot on dismantling a lot of them, and there are so many, there’s just layers and layers in everything that we looked at all around us.
Yeah, for sure. That’s the way it is.
Q: I guess. I don’t know how to let go of this one yet.
Just say Sri Ram Jai Ram for 24 hours. And every time you notice that you’re not paying attention, you come back. Gradually, you, your being gets more, it becomes more at ease with sitting in itself.
You become more at ease sitting within yourself. It’s practice. You have to do it. You can’t think about it. It’s not something you think about. We have to do it. Anything you’re thinking, let it go. Who gives a fuck what it is? Even, how great am I? Let it go. Oh, I’ve overcome everything except thinking, I’ve overcome everything.
Let it go. Keep letting go. It’s not pushing away. It’s not pushing away. Releasing,
Q: Allowing you to flow through.
Flow through. Flow through, and, and disappear in the mist. But don’t worry. There’s another one on the way. It’s practice, it’s practice. And you know, there’s many, they say there’s different levels of, of enlightenment. And at some point, even though you’re not creating karmas anymore, the karmas from the past are still coming. They haven’t been burnt yet.
Like when Buddha was finally enlightened and recognized his enlightenment, he said, Oh, house builder, no more houses where you build for me. Houses being the sense of a separate self.
Because there was no karma left. You had burned. It was burnt now, finished, but for us, we’re still putting additions on to the house, you know? You know, we’re putting in fancy tubs and, you know, Wi-Fi and all this stuff to make the house more comfortable, but it’s never going to be comfortable. There’s always going to be some dissatisfaction there.
So, recognize that.
But when you recognize that, and you accept that then the sting goes away of it. Ah, yes. It’s always going to be like this and then it isn’t. When you really, when you really bow to it, then it disappears. It comes back. But you cultivate that, that the offering that you make of your heart, of your being to the moment, to keep cultivating that, coming back, coming back, coming back to the name, coming back to your breath, coming back to whatever your practice is, and then we gradually, but inevitably, that presence within us is uncovered completely. And then the stuff comes, but we don’t identify with it. We don’t grab onto it.
Practice. You have to do it. So. You don’t, then we just stay stuck in our stuff, which is okay. We keep rearranging it and polishing it up and showing it to other people, but it’s just more stuff.
So, and of course, as we, as we do sit more deeply inside of ourselves, we become less reactive to what happens in front of us, qhat happens in our world, and we get the ability to, to, to, we get a vote in how we respond to stuff. Right now, most of us don’t have much of a vote. Somebody says something weird, or it looks at us in a bad way or something, and we’re gone.
I mean, immediate emotional coloring. Right?
So, we’re trying to get a vote here little by little. We will, but it takes time.
Q: Thank you. Thank you.
Q: Thank you so much. Thank you.
Q: I met you years ago in 2004. Doing Dharma Mittra’s 500 hour teacher training program and you had come to the studio for the afternoon.
I come in for the last hour of the 500. Yeah, I get the easy way.
Q: And you spoke with us for about two hours, and we did a kirtan that evening and it was just so beautiful.
Q: And I just wanted to share a little piece of magic that happened right before Ram Dass died. You know, I, I hold that meeting with you so dear and I got to meet Bhagavan Das and Krishna Das was on my bucket list, but with him being in Hawaii and, you know, just this state of things I never really got there.
And on a Wednesday morning I was teaching a senior yoga class in a beautiful greenhouse. And at the end in meditation, you know, my playlist is going. And all the sudden, Ram Dass’s song, “I Am Loving Awareness” came through, and I never heard the album. And I’m listening and I’m thinking, “I thought Ram Dass like Krishna Das. Yeah, Ram Dass. Oh, I, I think that’s Ram Dass.” And I said to the class, I said, “I think Ram Dass has crashed our party.” That following Friday, your email came out saying that loved us. I had left us and I just, the magic of that. And of course, now it’s one of my favorite albums. And when I’m on my yoga mat for myself, I play the whole thing while I’m doing yoga and I just wanted to also thank you and let you know that, if you ever wonder if your emails make a difference and, you know, the things you do make a difference, they so do, because that morning it was like getting an email from my brother, you know,
That’s all. I just wanted to share that with you. Thank you.
Q: Thank you for your love, you know, cause I really, I feel it, you know
Thank you. Thanks so much.
Q: Hi. I have a couple of questions, but I just have a little funny story because a few weeks ago I was getting some medical treatments and the doctors, like, hike up my dose of the medicine, and I was feeling kind of drowsy. And in that state, I didn’t know where the thoughts come from and I had this stuff. I was worried a little bit about the virus and situation, and I was like, I need Krishna Das to call me. I think when I came out of this also, this has been most ridiculous idea ever. And here we are. And I guess my question is I’m in New York and I have a family in Belarus. I haven’t seen them in 10 years. It’s a long story. And I found myself having, I’m not very close with them, but I found myself having lots of anxiety over what’s going on. And I guess my questions are how to, how to trust that everything is happening in life as it should be without feeling pain and resistance?
And how to trust life that everything I cannot change is happening in my best interest?
Well, interesting word you have used is “trust.” Yeah. What are the options? Not trusting, living in fear, living with anxiety, living in negative spaces and not being at ease. Those are the options. Either one trusts… Ram Dass and I used to say, he used to say faith No? Fear. Faith? No fear. So, it’s the first thing is really, we have no control. We can only deal with what we can deal with. Right? I mean, if you can’t, if you can’t fix something, then don’t worry about it because you can’t fix it. If you can fix something, then fix it. But if you can’t, you can’t, so then you’re left to deal with your own stuff about it.
And of course, once again, I sound like a broken record; practice when you can. This is why we do practice. So that whatever’s arising in our lives. We are more able to greet that moment that it arises in a better way, in a in a more open way, in a way that causes us less, less grief internally.
You know, we can’t… If we really think about it, we can’t really control much of anything, except we might be able to eventually control our reactions to stuff if we put the time in and recognize that that’s where the real work is.
Yeah. One has to remember that one’s work is to calm one’s ass down. Let it go, relax, find a deeper place to be as these things arise. You can do that. That’s the only thing you can do, you know, this moment, this moment is the only moment that we have. We can’t change the past. We don’t know what the future is.
We’re here now. So, this is the moment that we can, we can take action and, and work on ourselves, you know, and this is the only time we get a vote is now, right? And the past is gone. We have no way of changing that. And the future hasn’t come yet. Now is now and now is where we really are all the time.
You know, two weeks from now, if you ask me if you’re asking yourself, well, what time is it? Well, it’s now. Where am I? I’m here. Just like, if you asked the same question to yourself right now. You’ll always be here. And here is where the work goes on. Here’s where we can, we can train ourselves to release the anxiety. The anxiety is not out there.
What’s going to happen? It’s going to happen. What we can change, okay, we try to change. In other words, we, we disinfect the cartons of food that come to us, that’s delivered. That’s an action, a positive action. We can’t control what’s on that package of food. What, but we can disinfect it when it comes into our awareness, into our life.
So, it’s the same with other things. We can’t disinfect the actions of the world, but, as they’re out there, but when they come in contact with us, we can disinfect them from our own emotional colorings, you know? And then… and as we learn to do that, we get more confidence in our self too. We recognize, okay, I can deal with this. This is, I know how to be with this. It’s not going to kill me. You know, it’s intense, it hurts, but I’m here. And the more we, we come back to ourselves the less the clouds around us color things.
So, but once again, sit every day, three minutes. I don’t know what your life is like. I don’t know what you do, but I know you have three minutes.
Turn the phone off. Turn the television off. Everything. And just let yourself settle. Like a leaf coming down off the tree. Don’t try. The leaf doesn’t have to try. Gravity brings it down. Sit quietly. Let your thoughts begin to settle. That’s all. Don’t kill them. Don’t manipulate them. Don’t chant a mantra like this, Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram. Be with your breath, be with yourself, relax the body.
Do it laying down. Whatever’s easiest for you to really relax, but give it, for that three minutes or five minutes or whatever, really be there with it. Experience what’s happening at that moment, you know. Don’t try to change it. Quiet. Settle. Easy. When you, when you notice you’ve been thinking, just come back, just come back.
There’s you know, one can watch one’s breath come in and out in a simple, gentle way. You don’t have to breathe. You’re breathing all the time. You don’t have to make yourself breathe. So just allow the breath to come and go. Let the stomach relax. Let the muscles relax. Let the body relax. Just calm. And once you know how that works, you can always go there.
It’s your place to go when things are too tough, too crazy, that slows everything down. It doesn’t change anything out there, but it slows it down so you can digest it, so you can be with it in a different way.
We can do anything inside, but we can’t do anything or everything outside. We are, we can be ultimately powerful within ourselves to overcome fear and anxiety and shame and grief and selfishness and all the things that we, how we usually function. And that’s the deal. That’s what we’re trying to do because all those different things, that’s what causes us pain and suffering, you know, and hurts us.
So, you’re always here. You’re always here. At any moment, you can let go. You can always let go, but it takes a little practice to get what that feels like. You know? So do something regular every day. Don’t expect, you know, the sun to rise in the West just because you’re sitting for three minutes in the morning, you know, or whatever, but just do it.
And little by little, you’ll find a comfort in that space that will, the taste of which will stay with you more often. And that’ll help you be the best person you can be, the best human being you can be, and, and when you think of your family and you can wish them well, you know, bring them to mind and say, “be safe, be happy, be healthy, and live at ease.”
You can repeat those lines. It’s four, four phrases that they teach in the Loving Kindness Meditation, and that’s our offering to people, and ultimately an offering to ourselves.
It’s, it’s better than worrying about it all the time and letting that anxiety eat us alive. This is, this is what we can do to overcome all those, all that stuff that, that we’ve been trained to allow to eat us up all these years. But you’ve got it and we all have it. You have the power to do that.
So, add that to your life. Add, add some moments like that, where you’re just allowing it to settle down. You’re not trying to make it feel this way or that way or push it around or manipulate it or shape it into anything. Just be you, which is who you are already. So, it’s not that hard, is it?
Q: Thank you.
Okay. Thank you. And don’t go outside.
He just took his first steps 30 seconds ago.
He was trying to get away from me. That’s why.
He just walked for the first time.
Hello? Hello. How are you doing?
Well on our babymoon, we came to Maui just for Thanksgiving. We were with you and Ram Dass. He’s been chanting since he was …
since he was a baby, right? Yeah, I get it.
But I wanted to say, sadhana for us and chanting was much more prevalent when, when when he was in my womb and now my, my husband is here in the room as well, and I, we just it’s it, I mean, it feels impossible to chant. It feels like, we have our harmonium and I, I sit down with it and Oscar loves it. He starts banging on the keys, crawling on it, you know, I get, you know, a couple minutes out and then it’s onto the next toy or whatever.
I mean, we just, we used to meditate for hours a day, and now it’s zero moments of, you know, and so I just, I know you’re a parent and I would love to just get a realistic perspective on what sadhana, you know…
You think something from me is going to be realistic? You’re a very optimistic person,
Q: yeah, whatever your thoughts are on that…
You know, just love the kid have fun.
Don’t go crazy when he goes crazy and do the best you can. Your meditation is not just when you’re sitting down doing some formal practice. Meditation is how you live in every moment. Be aware, calm yourself. There are times when babies go completely nuts and nothing can calm them down, but that doesn’t mean we have to go on the trip with them.
We don’t get, we don’t always get, we can’t arrange our lives the way we want them all the time. So, we have to deal with them as they are. And this is, this is your life. Enjoy. Be with it. Don’t try to change it. You can’t change it. It is what it is. And there’s an incredible book called, Oh my God, What’s the name of that book? “Knee deep in grace.” Look that up. This woman, an Indian woman who married, got married and moved to Burma. And then she had one child, I think. And then her husband died, and she was devastated, and she started doing meditation practice, but not just sitting, you know, cause she had to raise her kid.
So, it’s an incredible book. She became an enlightened being dealing with her life every moment. It can’t be any other way than it is. So don’t try to make it some other way.
Relax. Let it come. Let it come. Let it go. Don’t try to hold on. Yeah, don’t try to hold on to, to what your, your ideas of things are about, “This is what I should be doing. I should be doing this. I shouldn’t get carried away with this.”
That’s nonsense. That’s that’s all, you know, mind poop. Let it go.
Throw that diaper away, you know, get rid of it and just be with it as it is. There’s no, there’s no….Because like His Holiness said, he wasn’t going to let the world and the events that happened take his happiness away. Happiness is our true nature. Joy, peace, calmness, openness, kindness, compassion. These are all qualities of our real heart.
So, it’s not just when you sit down and squeeze that harmonium. Chances are the kid’s going to break it within six months anyway.
Q: He’s on his way.
Yeah, I know. It’s going to become useless anyhow. So, he’ll take that away from you too. Just go with it, go with it, relax. Let it come. Nothing to do, except be with it all the best way you can.
You always have the option to release the reaction that you just had. It’s not easy once that juice is flowing. Like once you get angry, Oh, there’s very little you can do until it calms itself down so the energy dissipates a bit, but you can still be aware, “Oh, that was horrible. I’m really caught.”
Yeah. Okay. That’s also thoughts. Keep letting go, letting go. Be with it as it is, not as you think it should be. It’ll never be like you think it should be for long. Anyway.
Just look, pretend, just pretend you don’t need to sleep for the next two or three years. That’s okay.
Q: That’s the, that’s the realistic expectation for a very many months.
Yeah. Yeah. All right. Thank you. Thank you so much.
I just had this weird feeling that this is like a radio talk show. You ever see the guys that’s in sitting by the mic. “Hello? Yeah. Our next caller from New Jersey is,” you know, it’s crazy.
Q: Namaste Krishna Das. Thank you for allowing the space for everybody to come together and to share what’s on their heart and their mind.
I have a quick story to tell you. I purchased your book, “flow of grace” last week. I’ve been doing the Chalisa a couple times a day. Wednesday was Hanuman Jayanti, which was his birthday, I guess, right?
Every Tuesday, right? whatever. Yeah.
Anyway, so I made sure to keep him in the heart and did the Chalisa like once an hour, picked up the book, read a part in your book that said the monkey took the form of a mosquito.
Later that night after I read that, I go to shut, the lights off in my place and what’s in my place? There is a mosquito the size of a baseball
really? Oh my God.
So, yeah. So, and my girlfriend is pregnant. So, I have all these things going in my head with the virus and West Nile or whatever it may be out there. So, I go to open the door up to let the mosquito out and the mosquito comes in.
So now this divine chase is going on for about an hour, as I see this mosquito remembering the path that you wrote and long story short, I ended up taking the life of the mosquito.
So, what goes through my head? Here I am ruining yet another chance to meet God and all this guilt comes on me and later on, you know, after dealing with all the sadness of that, as silly as it may sound, my girlfriend was asking about what’s the problem.
When I explained to her, she looked at me a little crazy, which was,
which wasn’t the first time.
Yeah, yeah. I’m used to that reaction from a couple of people, but anyway, so, you know, and then I started to think about it. Well, you know what, maybe this was a lesson to kind of forgive myself and to maybe not take form so literal.
When I do the chanting, when I do my prayers and meditation, I tend to attach to a form. I close my eyes and I picture, and I picture, and I picture, and I just want to know what your insight would be on that experience. What would Maharajji say with that mosquito and me taking the life of that mosquito. And what would be the lesson than that?
Yeah. One thing I can tell you is that I have no idea what my heart would say under any circumstances. I’ll tell you a funny story. So back in the India days, Ram Dass had bought a Volkswagen bus from these other people, other Westerners, and we were driving around.
We’d drive to the temple every day from Nainital. There were maybe 20 people hanging off of this Volkswagen bus up on the roof, hanging off the back. It was crazy. And at one point Maharajji looks at Ram Dass and says, Ram Dass, you’re a Saint. You have to, you have to take the regular bus.
He takes the keys away to the Volkswagen bus and he hands me is the key. And he says, you’re the driver.
You know? So actually “driver” became my name for a long time. Driver!
So, I always drove, or I always had the keys to the bus. Now I always had this desire that I wanted to drive Maharajji around, you know, but I never said anything to anybody. I never asked Maharajji. I never said, but I always kept those keys with me 24 seven, every minute of every day, I had the keys with me, no matter what I was doing, because I knew it could happen any time. So, I, but I never said anything to anybody.
So, one day, about a year later, we were in Allahabad and we’re all sitting around with Maharajji, sitting in the room and he looks at me and he goes, Hey, you have the keys?
And I said, yeah, let’s go. Right.
So, Dada, it was Dada’s house. Dada was one of these great old devotees. So, he walked Maharajji out of the room, down to the car. And I opened the door for Maharajji to the passenger side. And Maharajji was very short and and the Volkswagen bus seat is pretty high. So, he kind of had to throw himself up into the seat. Right? And he bashed his head head on the door, the top of the door. I mean, whack.
I almost shat my pants. I could not believe it. And I went, Oh my God, look at that. What? I can’t believe this; this is my fault. I, my desire created this. I never, this is the worst, my own, you know, my, my guru bashed his head on the car because of me and I said to Dada, I said, Dada, did you see that? And he said, He did it on purpose now, just drive
Because with the world that Dada lived in, anything that Maharajji did, he did it on purpose. He did it for a reason.
And so, I, okay. So, I got in the car and we drove. Maharajji was like, watch out, watch out, look over there. Oh, there’s a car. Be careful. Watch out over there. Oh, Oh, all the way to the, like about a 20 minute drive to the to where the, this Holy place in Allahabad and I’m driving, like he’s freaking me out.
So, we get to this place, we parked the car, I turned the car off and after a minute He says, okay, let’s go back. And all the way back He’s going. Oh, watch out. Be careful that you’re going too fast. Slow down…
So finally, we get there, back to the house, but about two or three days later, we were sent off to the South to do a pilgrimage with Swami Muktananda. Because Ram Dass had promised Swami Muktananda he would do that.
And even though he tried to get out of it, Maharajji said, you’ve promised, so you have to go. So, we all went, there were three or four of us that went.
We were driving out of Allahabad. And I’m driving and we’re coming in this long curve, right? This long, slow curve and off to our left, on the other side of the road, there was this big reservoir, a huge reservoir.
And there was no gates or no, nothing. It’s India. Right?
So, I come into this curve and I’m driving way too fast. And I realized that too late. And we’re, we’re, the car is sliding across the road. And it’s going to go right in the reservoir. And all of a sudden, this wind came, and it moved us like this back onto the road.
Right? So, my storyline was like your storyline. I did this. This is all because of me. I’m responsible for this. This is my karma blah, blah, blah. The other storyline is Maharajji did that on purpose. Right? So, it’s not exactly the same situation, but who knows? Maybe that, maybe that mosquito could have bit your wife or you and made you sick.
You don’t know what the next minute is. Right? You made a choice in that minute to do it one way or other you’re going to live with the karmas of that. So, you might as well just give up thinking about it. Give up your stuff about it. This is what we practice doing. Our stories that we tell ourselves all lifelong about me.
This is me, me, me, me, this way, me, me, me, that way. I’m me. I’m this. You know, maybe not. It’s just our story and there may be no reality to it at all. So, you know? Enough, right? Give yourself a fucking break.
Q: I know. The old self came in and said, man, I just want to get close to the god. This is what I do. I stomp him out.
But well, maybe, you know, karma is a very strange thing. Nobody understands karma except the fully, a fully enlightened being really understands all of that.
On the other hand, you know, my friend David Nichtern, many years ago, one of the great Lamas of the previous generation, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, he came to America, and David’s teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, was hosting him here. And at one point, David was driving Khyentse Rinpoche around in the car. And Khyentse Rinpoche was sitting in the back seat. David was driving. Khyentse Rinpoche said, pull over here, pull over. So, he pulled over and Khyentse Rinpoche… there was a fly in the, in the back, the rear window, you know, of the car and it was buzzing around. It couldn’t get out. Khyentse Rinpoche lovingly carefully, lead it along the window and released it from the car and said, okay, we can go.
The attention to detail of a great being is extraordinary. They understand all the ramifications of every action of everything that comes into our awareness, you know? And they, they have so completely transcended obsessive concern about themselves, that all they have is care for other beings.
It’s natural. Right? So maybe next time, you’ll find another way to deal with that. But you don’t know, but in the meantime, why beat yourself up?
Q: yeah, my intention was pure…
Your intention was good. Yeah.
Another thing happened once when Dada was in America, I was driving him around and we were going for a drive one afternoon and We’re driving around this neighborhood in Westchester, New York, where it’s big neighborhoods, big kind of very upper middle class houses. Right. And as we were driving through these beautiful country roads, this squirrel ran across the road and I hit it. I killed a squirrel and I said, Dada, Oh my God, Dada, look, look what happened. I killed that squirrel. I had no intention to kill it. It just happened, Dada. I don’t understand.
He just said, just be quiet and drive.
Q: Good. Like keep on going
Be quiet and live. Okay? Have a good time.
Thank you so much.
Ram Ram. Yeah.
Q: Hi. Hi KD. Hi. Here’s the thing, right? So, I’ve kind of written it down because it would make it simpler for me.
Well, As I may have told you in the past once or twice, and I’ve met you a few times, I’ve lived up a pretty screwed life. I’ve lived a pretty screwed up life…
Oh, I met you in England last time, right?
You did. Yes.
Right after the, after the evening we talked outside.
That’s right. Camden town. And I saw you in Shivananda this year.
Oh, okay. Yeah. It was good to see you again. So, KD, here’s the thing, I have a kind of spiritual sense of inadequacy because, you know, I, well, as I said, I just now really, really screwed up in my time and the practice, the teachings and the practice can make me feel really melancholic because how do I, how do I, I mean so much to learn and so little time. How do I make up for this?
How do I fill the hole?
Okay. I’m not putting this very well. I mean, you know, you know?
Yeah, but you know, there’s no making up for time. You’re here. You’ve always been here, but you haven’t been paying attention and there’s nothing to learn. It’s just to relax and let it go. Just relax. Let it go.
When you’re giving yourself a hard time, Relax, let it go.
You don’t need to understand why this is, why you’re that way, why this way. It’s enough to just let it go again and again. Little by little, you start to feel at ease with letting go and not allowing those stories to eat you alive. They’re just stories. Yeah. Maybe they’re true on some level, but right now, let it go.
But when I’m sort of thinking I, I’m in my head a lot of the time and it’s kind of hard, you know, I listened to various meditation teachings, Ram Dass being one and of course, yourself. And Ram Dass saying, you know, you can focus on one thing. You’ve got these methods of meditation but still, still the demons come.
So feed them. Feed them, love them. They’re not going to hurt you. The demons are not going to hurt you. You’re only hurting yourself. So, just, you know, say, hi, how are you doing you’re back? What can I do for you?
Sorry, I can’t give you my life. So, you have to go. Bye.
So, you just kind of banished them away.
Don’t banish them, release them. You think they’re coming to get you, but really, you’re holding on to them.
Let them go. They’ll keep coming, but that’s okay. You can keep letting go. Why should you stop letting go? And then of course you’ll get caught and then you’ll spend three days depressed and then somehow or other it’ll kind of pass a little bit and you go, Oh, okay.
So that’s why, that, that’s, that’s what meditation practice brings.
That’s the fruit of meditation practice, is that we might get caught, but we don’t stay caught for so long. So, you don’t always feel so bad, so depressed, but you’re so used to identifying with that, that you don’t notice the space is in between, when you’re not giving yourself a hard time. You know?
So, I’m a moper. Right?
A moper. I mope around. This is my natural state. I mope. And over these years of practice and being involved in, in this path, you know, I mope less than I used to. Really. It’s amazing.
Q: So, the continuation of the practice will, eventually it’ll be it’ll, it’ll lessen this feeling.
I mean, I’ve been doing this now in your kind of world, the kirtan world, the bhakti world two years, maybe less. Meditation itself, About seven years.
I’ve been doing this 50 years and I’m still the same schmuck I always was. Yeah. But I don’t care. That’s the difference. Why do you care? Don’t care. So, you feel like shit. Okay. Next.
But we care because you’re inhabited by that negative state and you care. Don’t care. Say, okay, hello. How are you? Oh yeah. I feel like shit too. You feel like shit? Okay. Let’s feel like shit together. And then it changes little by little, a little change comes back, goes away. Just keep letting go.
That’s all you can do. You can’t change anything on the level that it exists. You can’t think yourself out of a prison that’s made of thought. Every thought is the prison. You have to let go. But one of the issues is that until we have something to hold on to, it’s hard to let go of those kinds of things.
That’s why we, we allow another, in practice we, we pick some, one thing to think about, and then that excludes all the other thoughts eventually. Maybe it’s what you say.
Q: That’s what you focus on?
And you’ll notice that you can’t focus on it for more than like a breath until you’re thinking about something else.
So, you let go and then you’ll come back again and again and again. And if you think seven years is long enough, talk about 7,000 lifetimes of this. So just be now, deal with what’s in front of you right now. Don’t worry about the past. That’s gone. Don’t worry about the future. It’s not here. You’re here now.
And I, I don’t know if I don’t feel so good. I don’t, I don’t care so much. Those feelings may still arise: inadequacy, self-doubt, self-hatred, all these things come, but, you know, number one, they don’t last very long, as long as they used to, maybe just 20 years. And then they go because of the practice, the practice releases them automatically over time.
So, like I said before, it’s like an athlete. You practice one particular move over and over and over, then when it happens in the game, it’s almost automatic. So, you practice letting go in a, what’s the word? You practice letting go, you practice letting go. And then the rest of your day, that practicing will manifest in many ways by itself. By itself.
So, you don’t feel good. Who cares? Hello? You’re still here. We’re here. And it’s like, okay, you’re talking about, what about if you’re dying? You know, like Ram Dass used to go out and sit with people who were dying, you know? And he recognized, if he saw them as people who were dying, that trapped them in that.
So, he would say hi, I’m here, are you here?
And that would help liberate them from their own storyline as well, because that was going on. But they could recognize that they’re present within that at the same time. So, you’re always here, but right now you identify with your emotions pretty much all the time.
So, you’re not recognizing that you’re still here and that the emotion is an object that you are aware of and feeling. It’s a feeling that you are having. Who’s having the feeling? You are not the feeling. You never are, but you it’s like a cloud that envelops us. And we start to think of ourselves. We lose ourselves in the cloud, but we’re still there. So just keep coming home again and again. That’s why we add an object of concentration to practice. It gives us a place to land again and again. That doesn’t guarantee we’re going to be happy. It doesn’t guarantee we’re going to be able to fly and, and, and change our shapes and, and, and, you know, become Kings and Queens of the world. No, it’s just a place to land again and again and again. And eventually we become more comfortable being at home in ourselves.
Practice. Be kind to yourself. You haven’t been taught to be kind to yourself. You weren’t kind, your parents weren’t kind to themselves, their parents weren’t kind, and where are we going to get this from? We get it from the people who have it, the great beings that have brought these teachings and these, these new ways of seeing ourselves, to this world. So, you have to practice being kind to yourself, give yourself a break for your own sake. You deserve that. We all deserve that.
Release the grief, release the suffering. Let it come. Cry for three years if you have to. Let it out. If you don’t let these things out, they push us around from the inside. Give yourself a break, okay, please.
Thank you. You have been a great help.
Hey, what are you eating there? A fork?
Ah, okay. I’ll pretend that I understand just what you said.
Q: you partly answered really all my questions and everything, what’s, what’s in my head. But my original thought was to ask you, how do you invite the flow of love inside when you are so emotionally constipated?
When this so hard to let anything that is positive and actually, I experienced resistance to it, to the positivity, to anything that is good, whether it’s gratefulness, whether it’s meditation, whether it’s practice, there’s intent or resistance to it, possibly there’s the fear. And also, what I experience is that if I do the practice or I invite, you know, the flow of love, then it backfires, that the demons that Sue was talking about, they come even strongly. And there’s always a feeling that no matter what I’m going to do, I am the, you know, the, the bad one, that nothing’s going to change because I am, you know, when you’re talking about the real qualities, those real qualities don’t apply to me. They apply to everybody else. But not to me, that I’m just so fake.
Well, you convinced me.
Well, sweetheart, that’s a program that’s running and it didn’t come from nowhere. There are causes that created that program in you.
We come up against our stuff like that all the time, but that’s, you can recognize that as a program, you know. When you calm down a little bit, you notice you can feel that. It’s a feeling and you, you have the whole idea of chanting and meditation is to release those feelings and come back. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to come back again and again and again, but over time you internally understand that this is not me. The feeling that you’re worthless, you’re not good enough. You’re not worthy of love. You’ll never be happy. Okay. On one hand, like I have a lot of those same feelings, but when I look at my parents, you know, I see where I got them from. Neither one of my parents loved themselves in a real way.
Neither one of my parents knew how to be good to themselves. Neither one of my parents knew how to be happy, at ease in life. And I know my grandparents, and the same goes for them. So, the same must go for my great grandparents and their great grandparents, you know, on and on, it’s just programmed behavior. There’s nothing wrong with you.
Your soul, your true nature is exactly the same as Buddha, as God. There’s no difference between you and the greatest beings that ever lived and walked this earth.
But you’re accustomed to just believing these things and it’s a habit, and it’s a hard habit to break. That’s why there are many, you know, I think Metta Loving Kindness Meditation would be a great practice for you for all of us. It’s one of my favorites. It’s my number two or three. I mean, it’s right up there. Besides chanting, the loving kindness practice that Sharon shares and other teachers share. It’s really fantastic because it cleans out our room.
It cleans out a safe place, makes it, it makes it a safe, clean place for us to sit inside of ourselves. And it’s almost like deep programming, reprogramming ourselves. The program is running. You’re not enough. And based on that, you’ve made so many decisions in life to try to fill up that hole with a hole that is not fillable with stuff.
The only thing that fills that hole is love and that love lives within you as who you are. It couldn’t be anything else. That’s not possible. But you don’t believe that.
So how are you going to change what you believe? Well, it’s a lifetime’s work. You know, you have to recognize that, that this is your given right now. This is your karmic predicament. You know? You don’t always feel like shit, but when you do, you really do. So, beautiful kids… They bring much joy. They bring a lot of craziness too, into your life. They take up a lot of space. They create a lot of reactions in us, you know, that we don’t want to admit to having. It’s all OK. Everything you feel is OK. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s the past manifesting right now. How we meet this moment is the only time we have to vote on, on how we meet this moment. Is now. So just relax and feel like shit and enjoy it. Don’t try to change it. See what happens. After a while you get tired of feeling that, but the problem is you haven’t really focused on it. You just react and run with it. But allow it in and look at it, like, what is this? Where did this come from? What is this? Let it go, come back to the name or to your breath.
Now with two kids in the house, there’s not a lot of time to sit quietly. Three? Where’s the third one? Out driving around somewhere? So, but you can always find a couple of minutes to just let go completely of everything, even of your own desire to not feel this way. See, that’s another obstacle. “I don’t want this. I don’t want to feel like this. I don’t like this.”
The fear of feeling like that is really the hardest thing to let go of. Because once you’re at ease with whatever you’re feeling, it doesn’t eat you up. But that fear, the apprehension of, “Oh, it’s always going to be like this,” It’s called, that’s called eternal damnation. But it’s eternal as long as you’re in it, when you’re not in it, it’s not even there.
There is no eternal damnation. It’s a state of mind. When you’re in it, It’s eternal. When you’re not in, it’s not. So, you just have to… It’s it’s, this is the real stuff. This is the real spiritual work. Sitting cross legged and pretending you’re in bliss is bullshit. The real spiritual work is allowing yourself to be who you are with all the beauty and all the ugliness, the ups and the downs, the fear, the shame, the grief, all that stuff.
Let it be. It can’t hurt you. It can’t hurt you. It’s from the past. How you live, how you meet it right now creates the next moment. Yeah, come on, do your best. Give me your best shot. You know, these things are not Muhammad Ali, they’re little mosquitoes. They seem so big because of our fear. Nothing can hurt you. Nothing ever.
It’s your programming. Like, my program is very similar. Really. I, my programming is very hard for me to be happy and at ease and feel worthy of love. No matter how much love Maharajji showered on me. Look at my life, I could have done so many things in life. The choices I made, so many of them were based on needing something I couldn’t give to myself.
So, we’re in the same club. You’re not alone. Everybody has this stuff. This is what it’s like to be alive at this time. So, take some joy in that, you know? You’re not special. You’re not worse than anybody else. We’re all in the same club.
After a while, and this is one thing that I’ve experienced, is that over the years, and I’m talking 50 years, Ms. Big, seven years over there with her eyes closed, I don’t care so much how I feel. I just don’t care. So, I’m not feeling like God on earth? Big deal. I don’t care. It’s okay. It’s not about me. My stuff, how I feel about me today is not the most important thing in the world.
Right? Is that right? Yeah, that’s right.
So, our baseline, our home base is that kind of, oh, there’s number three. Hello… Hello. Oh, you’re a number two, I think.
Q: Yeah. I’m double trouble.
So yeah, you know, it’s all okay. Even feeling bad is okay. Don’t push it away. Just Pat it on the head, give it something to eat and tell it to be quiet for a while. Okay?
You’re not going anywhere. There’s nowhere else to be. So, let’s clean our room, huh? You know, that’s it. That’s all we have to do. We have to clean our room and be kind to ourselves and everything in our lives. And then we won’t be thinking about ourselves all the time. That’s the real habits that we, that will change, is that it’s all about me. “My state of mind, how I feel” is the number one most important thing in the universe, obviously. Okay.
Just keep breathing. That’s the main thing. If you’re not breathing, that’s a whole other ball game.
Q: Ram Ram. Namaste. Those kids were, so those kids were so beautiful.
Yeah. She’s looking all around for beauty and it’s; it’s jumping up and down in her lap.
Yeah. but that’s so how hard it is to let let stuff in it’s we have such a problem with that because we don’t love ourselves. We don’t, we’re so caught in our programs about ourselves that we can’t let ourselves feel love, but we will. Oh, can I, can I talk to both of you for a second?
So, one time I was sitting with Siddhi Ma in the back of the temple and all the cousins and yeah, that’s her From the Tiwari family, the third generation that I knew, they came. The oldest son was going to get married, so they all came to the temple for blessings. And I was sitting in the back with Ma and there were all these, like 20 of these kids around, right? And I looked at them and they were so happy. There was so much love between them, you know? And I thought about my family and my grandparents, grandparents yelling at each other and my parents not talking to each other and the tensions and, you know, and I, I saw how much love and I thought, what is wrong with us Westerners?
So finally, I said to Ma, I said, Ma what is wrong with us Westerners? Why can’t we love? Why can’t we let ourselves be loved?
So, here’s what she said. I’m going to just tell you what she said. The first thing she said was, well, Krishna Das, what were your parents eating when you were conceived?
And then She said, what were they thinking when you were conceived?
Okay. Then she said an affection was used to control you as a child. It was given when you were good. It was refused when you weren’t doing what they wanted you to do. So early on, even before you knew consciously, you, you understood vibrationally that if you needed to, in order to get what you wanted from them, which was everything, your parents were the whole universe, you had to give them what they wanted.
And so, affection became a business deal. Love became a business deal from day one. And that’s why it’s hard for us to feel that love without business, and what is love without business? So that was very powerful for me, very, very powerful. We were trained to buy attention and affection and we, and we still suffer from, from the experience that, that’s not enough. We can’t feel it in our hearts because it isn’t in our hearts. It’s in our emotions. It’s in, it’s a business deal. You give me, I’ll give you. That’s business. And so, no wonder we feel like shit, you know, so, but underneath that, before that programming went in, and even during all the programming right up to this moment, the love lives within us as who we are all the time already. The programs are covering it up, but that doesn’t mean the love is not there. But it may not feel the way we are accustomed to looking for it. So that’s why I always say, when you practice, don’t try to manipulate your emotions to feel one particular thing. Allow everything to come and go. And from the inside, a different quality will arise from within us by itself because it’s natural to us.
Okay. Sorry. What up?
Q: I have so much gratitude for you and your teachings. You know, I was student of Ram Dass from the eighties and, but it took your singing to get me to Maharajji. And then finally, a couple of times in Maui, with being introduced, literally, to Maharajji where I can say, Oh, he can be my guru, and now I have pictures everywhere and I’m a little obsessed and I’m kind of embarrassed by it sometimes. And I want to hide the pictures and put them in the closet or something.
Yeah. When, when the cable TV comes, I pull that, you know, I don’t let him into the room.
Yeah. Yeah. But I’m so grateful. And I have an easy question. I’m not going to ask the easy ones. I have a bunch of questions. I’m not going to ask the easy ones. I’m going to ask the one I don’t want to ask. The one I don’t want to ask is I trained as a clinical psychologist. I went to school for like a decade or whatever and worked as a psychologist for 30 years, basically treating patients for close to free you know, in, in clinical settings and stuff. I got very burned out and then I got, multiple sclerosis hit me, and I literally couldn’t do the work anymore because I’m not, I, I have no control emotionally. I start crying, like immediately just start crying. Like, it’s really hard for me to even just speak right now. But so, I basically can’t do that work anymore. And then I fell into a job where I’m basically a, a tool for the insurance industry where I’m basically reading clinical cases and saying this person can have more treatment or less treatment.
I can work from home and I can do the work. I’m mentally capable of it. But I’m very concerned about the karma implications. I try to get myself in the right head space before I do it. I, I, I do some prayer and work before I do the work, but I’m basically saying to some people, you can’t have more therapy.
I try to say, yes, you can have therapy, to everybody. Then I’m definitely not doing my job at all. There’s some of them that are real easy, but a lot of them are, are like, Oh, you’ve had X number of treatment sessions and you can’t have any more because that’s what the rules are. And I’m allowed to break the rules sometimes.
But it’s gnarly and I’m just concerned. I’m concerned what I’m, what I’m doing.
I know. It seems like to you, it must look like you’re, you have responsibility in the situation, but really you don’t have much freedom to do what you would like to do. You do have to stay within your rules, but you know, you may not be able to change the rules, but you can change. Do you have direct interaction with these people or it’s just on paper?
Q: it’s all paper.
Okay. But that’s okay.
Q: It’s a total game. I mean, there’s lawyers involved and there’s people that….
I know the game. Yeah.
Q: I know it’s ugly.
No, it’s not. It’s just this world. It’s not ugly. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, what you could do is that every time, no matter who, what you’re dealing with, you take that piece of paper, you, you have the name of that person. Bring that person into your heart. Wish them well. Include them in your openness and your compassion and kindness, and really feel that, that they, that you truly wish them well. And then tell them they can’t have any more therapy. You know, you’re, you don’t have freedom to do what you want to do. So, you have to do what you have to do, but you don’t have to suffer yourself from that. So, you’re allowing yourself, because you’re taking it very personally, you’re allowing yourself to feel that you’re hurting these people where it’s not necessarily the case. The world, the situation they’re in, their own karmas is what’s hurting them. So, you can free them from that in your heart if you take that as your practice. You can be in love all day long and let these people into your heart every single day.
That… what a great practice, “Ah, Frank Smith was in a car accident, living with panic attacks. Okay, Frank? Yeah. You’ve had treatment for the last 32 years. The insurance company says it’s enough,” but while you’re signing that paper, Frank can be gushing in your heart with love and kindness and compassion. That’s going to have an effect somewhere, and at least you won’t be absorbing your own guilt and suffering from your own guilt that you can’t help these people.
Your job is not to help them. Your job is to do your job. Now, add on top of that, you can really help them by wishing them well, by bringing them into your heart and freeing yourself of guilt, which is just another way of protecting ourselves. So, open up and if you’re home alone, you can cry your ass off. Who cares?
Frank, I love you. God bless you. I can’t stand that you don’t feel good. Be happy, be happy, be well, all these things. You know, nothing’s required that make you feel that you should feel bad. You have a job. You need the job. Do the job without attachment, which means with compassion, not with coldness of heart, but with wide open heart, a heart as wide as the world.
Q: Hmm. Thank you. Thank you for this guidance. Thank you.
Thank him for me. I have nothing to do with this.
Q: Hi. It’s been such a trick this entire time, knowing I was going to get to be sitting in this space with you and just be here with you right now, not even knowing what question I was going to ask, although I have a story. Two years ago, almost two years ago now, and it’s been about four or five years of going through all of my things, but I went to India two years ago and touched a space that I don’t exactly know how to explain, but brought back with me and then, getting back, I mean, I teach, I teach yoga as well. But I, I found that I brought chanting back with me from India. So, sitting here talking to you feels kind of like I’m sitting here talking to myself and I never really thought I would have this chance. Feels pretty surreal at the moment. But I guess my question is that now, coming back from that experience and bringing also that experience with me, that space that I connect with, that saying that I use to connect into my heart center with, how did you, when you came back, how did you start sharing that and cultivating that experience?
You know, I’ll tell you the short story, but if you want to read the whole story, I did write a book about it.
Q: Oh, okay.
Which you’d probably enjoy, called Chants of a Lifetime. But I came back from… Maharajji had just sent me back to America. And then. After two and a half years in India… he kept me there… He allowed me to stay… definitely let me stay… created that whole thing for me. And then he told me I needed to return to America because I had attachment there. So I went, came back and before I could return to India, he left the body and that was a brutal blow to my life. Because I, my, I saw my life as just being with him physically.
I thought I’d always be with him. And then it became apparent that I’d never see him again in the body. So far. So, anyway, the short story is that 20 to 21 years after he left the body, that’s when I started singing with people. And I started for only one reason. And I continue to sing for only one reason, which is to save my miserable ass.
Q: That’s the same reason I do it too.
If, if that’s why you sing, keep singing. If you sing for any other reason keep singing but keep your eyes open because Ultimately the whole universe is inside of our miserable asses. We’re all, we’re all one. We’re all interdependent on each other for everything.
And when you chant, you chant to that place within you that is that love. And that’s the same place in everybody, that is that love. Everybody is that inside. The coverings are different. The shapes are different. The names are different. The emotions are all changing, but the inner reality of every being is exactly the same.
So, we chant into more deeply into that divine presence within. It’s not about who, how many people are out there. It’s not about if they like it or they don’t like it. It’s not about if anybody’s out there. When I sing, my eyes are closed, I don’t even know why I can’t, I don’t even think about it. So, it could be one person or a thousand people, it makes no difference to how I sing.
So yeah, that’s the short version, but I think you’ll get a lot more out of the book.
Okay. Thank you. Thank you.
Hello. How are you?
Q: Hey, hi, I’m good. How are you? So, actually I didn’t have any questions. I’ve read your books. I’ve read, I’ve heard all your podcasts. So, I kind of know most of the things that you say, but I had a story I wanted to share with you. And also, I wanted to ask you something about chanting. So, I, at the age of 15 found Hanuman and it was, it was like the Lila, it just happened.
And I was, I used to go to the temple every Saturday, And I just said, then I just started believing that he’s there. Cause he, I had my Lila’s with him as well. Like they they’re very childish, but it’s my faith. And then like around seven years back, my cousin made me hear Om Namah Shivaya. Yeah. And I did not know who you were. I did not know anything about you at that time, but I kept listening to the song and my only thought is that I follow Hanuman. Why am I listening to Om Namah Shivaya? And then and then I found out, okay, he was the reincarnation of Shiva. So that’s, that’s how that happened. And the more that kept listening to you, then I, I started believing in Ram. You know, I started doing Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram, even the Ram Sita Samadhi you take Neem Karoli Baba’s name and for a year, I did not know who Neem Karoli Baba was. I just kept singing the name. And as time went by, I obviously I’ve had so many gurus I’ve read about and so many gurus that I personally believe in, like in our families, we have gurus as well, but especially in this bad time, I have, I mean, not bad time, but in this particular time I might actually be spending an hour just singing. And it’s, it’s a variety of songs from Kali Durga to Township Krishna, which like just starts my day on such a high note. So, I just wanted to ask you, like, from what I understand, Neem Karoli Baba, was, he followed Hanuman right? Or maybe he didn’t?
Yeah. I don’t know. You could say that. He was actually considered to be…
Q: a reincarnation of Hanuman?
An avatar of Hanuman. An incarnation.
Q: Correct. So, my, my family Guru is known to be an avatar of Krishna. So, for me, like, you know, it’s still difficult to relate to these gods except for Hanuman because I have my connection with Him. But when I listen to your songs, you have, like the way you think for each and every God, I’m sure you sing because you’re singing for Neem Karoli Baba, so the love is there, but I just want you to understand how, why, why did you sing about all these gods? Like, is there any particular reason or you just do it like that? I actually wanted to know that
I don’t know what else to do.
All the forms of gods are the forms of that love that lives within us as who we truly are already. They are manifestations of our own true nature. We’re part of them. They’re the whole, we’re the part, on one level. Of course, Sri Ram asks Hanuman, He said, “how do you see me?”
He says, “well, when I identify with the body, I serve you. When I identify with the mind you are the whole, and I am a part, but when I know the truth, you and I are one.”
So, there’s many levels of that. So, you know, when Maharajji named me Krishna Das, I said, Krishna, Das? what is that? You know, I’m a Hanuman guy.
He just said, Oh, don’t worry. Hanuman served Krishna too, which is actually true.
Q: Yup. That’s what I wanted to know.
The names are not here to separate us from love. These are all the names of love, period. They’re the names of your own true nature, who you are underneath who you think you are. These are the beings that have recognized that, are made of that completely.
So, all these names are equally powerful. That’s what my lineage tells me. Some lineages say only their names. Only the names they repeat are the real name. Well, as my grandfather would say, God bless them. But, you know, let them do what they want to do. You do what you do and don’t worry about it.
So, if it makes you feel good, sing it. If it doesn’t make you feel good, why sing it? That’s all. It’s up to you, how you feel, your decision. Follow your heart. There’s no, the whole path is learning to follow our own hearts because that’s where it lives. In there. Now we can take advice and teaching some other people, but if we agree, where are we agreeing? in here.
If we disagree, where we disagreeing? In here, we’re listening to here. So, it’s all about that. Just sing what makes you feel good. That’s what I do. No?
Q: They all make me feel good by the way,
Then keep singing everything all day long, 24 seven.
Q: Yeah. My husband, when he found that you’re coming live, so you’re going to come to India and I thought, I, and I thought, I’d come meet you there. And it didn’t happen. And I was and I got your email. I replied I’m so happy and then it didn’t happen. And then my, I just told my husband that you’re going to be live. And the first thing he did is he went and he just, you know, he got me this, this community thing where I can come on through, and he’s like, you listened to him all day long, just go meet him.
So, I said, yeah, I’m very thankful to be here.
Thanks for your husband too. Yeah.
Thank you. Thanks.
Q: Hi, KD. I get to see you every year in New York. It’s an annual pilgrimage and I did get to see you in Joshua tree once, which was amazing.
Rochester, I was there a long time ago.
Q: Yeah, so this feels really personal to share. So, I’m gonna try and share it and not get emotional. But I feel like life’s been a journey to find my partner and like in this time where we’re all secluded, and we really have downtime to focus on what we want… And it’s something I’ve already, you know, I feel like I’ve been doing different spiritual practices and just really trying to settle in and be honest and feel what there is to feel and work through everything. But this is like a really good time for new practices. So, I just thought, I’d ask you if there’s anything you’d recommend that I add
Just that this moment is the result of all the previous moments, everything in it, all your emotions, all your aspirations, all your desires, all your needs, everything here now. The way you feel about it, how you see yourself, how you treat yourself, how you inhabit the day, how you inhabit your life, all of that’s the result of previous karmas, our own lives, our own programming. Just so, how we’ve live in this moment has a tremendous effect on how we trip and fall into the next moment. So yeah, on the deepest level, you don’t need anything from anyone. And more than that, there is no one outside of you. But we’ve been brought up to believe, to fully believe and to, to, to identify with that. We need to find love and affection outside of ourselves. We need someone to push the button for us to make us feel loved. We’re all, most Westerners have that basic emotional shape.
The only problem with that is that if we demand another being to give us what we want, we’re not allowing that being to be who they are necessarily. We’re only relating to them in a way that we want to squeeze something out of them that we can use to feel good. And for the most part, they’re probably doing the same thing.
So, relationships are very, very difficult because we enter them on multilevels, many different levels, many different levels based on fear and shame and self-hatred and all those things that we’re trying to get away from. We’re hoping that we can find something in life that frees us from that.
We can learn so much from relationships because for the most part, they’re never going to give us what we were looking for. No matter how hard we try. The minute we understand that everything we need is within us, that takes the pressure off of relationships to be something particular. We can allow a person to be who they are in all their glory and they can allow us to be ourselves, even when we don’t flush the toilet, even when I’ll wash the dishes, even when we throw our dirty clothes around, even if we watch TV too much, we can allow a person to be what they are. We don’t need them the same way.
So, so for this period of time where you’re really faced with all that stuff, it’s like everywhere you turn your, your, your stuff is out there right in front of you. And it’s very difficult time. So, it’s a good time to be kind to yourself and allow what is to be for now. This is the moment you have. You don’t have any other moments. Now is what you have. 10 minutes from that will be now, was what you have. What happens three years from now, you don’t know, but now is the time that you have to try to relax about all these issues that you have in your life and in your emotions, come to peace with them, greet them, get to know them. Stop judging yourself so harshly for feeling these things. Stop judging yourself harshly for not having what you think you should have. Maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe I don’t have what it takes for this to happen for me. This would be a good time to, to let the sting of all those kinds of stories dissipate a little bit and don’t believe them so strongly every minute of every day. Right now, you can’t do much about anything. We’re stuck at home. We have our, our minds to deal with, and it’s our minds that all the suffering comes from; our minds, our emotions and our stuff.
You know, I think you can get some of Sharon’s books on Kindle, Sharon Salzberg’s books. Read a little about, about the practice of loving kindness. It’s a wonderfully powerful, intense practice that’s easy to do. It’s not a fight with your mind. Like most people think meditation is sitting there and fighting with your thoughts.
This is not like that. I think reading about them, getting to know the concepts of what loving kindness practice is and what it means to our hearts will give you a much bigger context for the world and, and for your daily life, what can be done with that inside of your daily life. So, because if you weren’t giving yourself a hard time, where in the whole universe would you find a hard time?
So, the ball’s in your court, you wanted this, you got this, this is what, you want to be happy. And you’re now seeing exactly what’s creating suffering for you. Very clearly. Problem is you still identify with that stuff like we all do. Yeah. We’re all on the same boat. Believe me, some people are sitting in the front of the boat, some people in the back, some people in the engine room, but we’re all in the same boat.
So, I don’t have any, what did they call them? Soulmates? That kind of thing? I don’t understand what that means. Everybody’s your soulmate actually. Everybody’s your soul. Exactly. Like you. There’s only one soul and we’re all spark of that same light. All of us, every single one of us, it’s all encased in little different casings, but you can find love everywhere at all times, but because of our emotional shape, we are, we only want it a certain way.
Well, if we can relax that a little bit, we’ll find it everywhere.
At some point we do get out of our own way, guaranteed. You do. But you have to let that happen and that’s not easy. It takes a little letting go. Practice letting go practice, noticing how hard you are on yourself about not having what you want. You know, and this time, of course it’s magnified. So, it’s really visible. There are other times we can kind of avoid it. These programs that are running all the time, we, you know, we get busy with other stuff. So, this is a brutally brutal grace, you know. It’s right there.
You know, when you’re really screwed up and really feeling bad. Just think if you can ask yourself, why do I believe this thought? Why do I believe this emotion? Why, why do I feel like? where is this coming from? And then just try to let it go. You can’t understand it intellectually, but you can notice how tight it makes you feel.
And then you can release that again and again and again and again and again and again, and then those emotions have less to grab onto when they come, because you’re, you become habituated in the letting go mode more. And when you let go, the minute you let go, there’s a, an extraordinarily brief instant where you are your true nature, where, where you see your true nature, but, because look, okay. So, you’re really caught in a story. You’re really suffering. Something’s going on here. It’s terrible. It’s dark, it’s heavy. And then say, let’s say, you’re watching your breath, right?
So, and you notice, all of a sudden, you notice that for the last 20 minutes, you’ve been completely lost in your story when you had supposed to be watching your breath. How did you notice that? How did that happen? That you became aware that you were gone and lost in thought? At that instant you were not lost in thought. That instant passes immediately. So, we train ourselves that the minute we notice we’re gone, come back to the name, or come back to the breath, come back to the chanting or the practice that we’re doing as best we can, and then we’re gone again. But then we notice we’re gone. How did that happen? That’s our true nature shining through the clouds for a second.
So, but we don’t fully see it. It’s just like, and then, so that’s why at that moment that we recognize that we’ve been thinking and going on and on about this and that and this and that…. We’ll come back to the name at least. But even then, you can’t hold onto the name. If you try too hard, you squeeze it and you’re gone.
So, you just have to allow it to be going on inside of you for that period of time, it needs to be some ease of heart about it all.
Take it easy. See, I could be singing Eagles songs, but I’m singing the other thing
Q: I like yours better.
So, so really, we’re so hard on ourselves. You know, we really are. It’s a shame how hard we all are on ourselves.
It’s just part of, you know, also it’s not just us, the whole world, the vibe of the world right now is pretty out there. And when we all feel it on many levels…. I didn’t know you were living with somebody there.
Q: Yes. Two furry relatives,
My friend, Joseph Goldstein, teaching meditation class once. And he was doing interviews with people and this guy comes in for his interview and he’s all anxious and crazy. And he looks at Joseph and says, I want to be the guy My dog sees me as. So that’s what you want to be.
Q: Yeah. I feel like I’m that person
That love. That unadulterated unending total love that our dogs look at us with, you know, that’s who we really are. So how do we do that for ourselves? Well, it’s in there. We have to find it. That’s all.
Q: Thank you, KD.
Yeah, thank you. This is what we’re all going through every day, 24-7-365, you know? This is life. But what we don’t recognize, inside of all this intensity is that we are blessed with the understanding, we are graced with the understanding that there is a way out, a way to deal with this. And if you look out at the world and all of the billions of people, you recognize how, how much we have to be grateful for that we even know we’re in the game. Most people, they’re born, they graduate high school, they drink some beer, and they die. And that’s it. They’re not here for a moment. So, compassion arises in our hearts about that. So, they have no understanding there’s any other way to be here, there’s any other thing to feel, to find the jewel in the heart. They don’t know. And if we know, it’s all the grace of the great ones and our own longing, which is result of our own karma, it’s nobody else’s. You are longing to find this love, that’s you, that’s your grace. And you have to go with that, get into that longing and follow it to where it really comes from.
And I’ll try to do the same. Okay.
We should, we should slow down here and come to a pause in the day, but let’s just all be here.
I mean, you don’t have to close your eyes, but just kind of just for a minute, let’s all sit together and this, the presence of the one of in which we all live.
We’re all little bubbles in this oneness and we’re separated from the whole, by this thin veil of me, which is the bubble.
This is the community of souls which make up the great one. So, of which we’re all apart,
We all want the same thing. We may call it by different names, but the longing is exactly the same in every being, to be in that love, to live in truth. We’re all United in that, no matter where we go or what we do, we’re all within this one, vast presence, like the sky holds the clouds and the people and the buildings and the pollution and everything is held within the vast being of the sky. We are held within this vast being, this oneness.
So, it’s a pleasure being with you today. Take good care. I’ll see you again sometime.