Call and Response Special Edition Conversations with KD December 19 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.

Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD December 19, 2020

“Wherever we are, we are always held in this vast presence, which is our own true nature, and which is the nature of the divine. A real love. Spiritual practice is our way of beginning to remember how to see this space, how to turn towards it again and again, and by turning towards this, we let go of our stuff. We release our thoughts. We release anything that’s between our seeing what is right here all the time.” – Krishna Das

Hello everybody. If you’re here, we’re still here. If you’re not, well, I hope everything’s okay wherever we are.

So, as we sit here, we’re aware of a lot of things, our bodies, our thoughts, different sounds that we hear. But for a moment, just become aware of the space in the room that you’re sitting. This space is not a thought. It’s not a sense input. It’s not an emotion. It’s something we are aware of without any help from our senses or thoughts or any concepts about what is this and what this isn’t and who am I and what am I and all that shit. This is just a space. Now expand that space to the sky. Just see yourself sitting in the space of the sky, the sky that we feel, this vast space that we sense without our senses. This is like our nature. It’s like our soul. Everything happens within this space. It can’t be anything outside of this space. The space is everywhere. I hear a plane flying through the sky inside of this space.

When we’re lost in thought, when we’re caught in emotional distress and pain, when we’re lost in pleasure, we lose the awareness of the space. Stuff comes and goes like birds flying through the sky, like clouds through the sky. But we are this awareness, this space, and when that space is obstructed by our stuff, we suffer, we’re limited. We’re glued to our stuff. The space is presence, with a capital “P,” being with a capital “B,” and anything we’re thinking about it, isn’t it. But that doesn’t mean it’s not here.

Wherever we are, we are always held in this vast presence, which is our own true nature, and which is the nature of the divine. A real love. Spiritual practice is our way of beginning to remember how to see this space, how to turn towards it again and again, and by turning towards this, we let go of our stuff. We release our thoughts. We release anything that’s between our seeing what is right here all the time. This is Maharajji, always present. This is Hanuman. This is Ram. This is Krishna. This is the essence of all those great beings, and it’s also our essence. The only difference is their awareness is not obstructed any longer. They’re free.

All of our practice is to loosen up the way we hold on to our stuff, where we identify with that stuff and allow us to sit at ease in this presence. We don’t have to make this up. This is who we are. Ram Dass called this, “Loving Awareness.” Loving awareness.

One time, he and I were sitting together after breakfast in Maui at the house, and we started having a great conversation, deep conversation, but surrounded by a lot of space. We’d say something and then there’d be long silences, 10, 20 minutes maybe. And it just so happened I was recording it. I think towards the end, we said, “Wow, this was really intense.” And he said, “Yeah.” I said, “You know, I think I recorded it.” And he said, “Yeah, we could call it Dick and Jeff’s journey to Soul Land.”

Dick and Jeff’s journey to Soul Land. Okay. Well, let’s examine all the bullshit that we use to beat ourselves up with.

Q: There was a story you had share, I heard on Spotify, about waiting in an airport and a Lama that you had really wanted to meet for quite some time was coming through.

That Lama was Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, the oldest son of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who was one of the great, great, great masters of the previous generation, and he had four sons who were recognized also as great masters, great reincarnations of great masters. And in fact, the second oldest son just left his body a day ago. His name was Chokling Rinpoche, and he was a great Lama. I mean, these beings are so extraordinary. They are so wide and deep and vast and present. It’s just extraordinary, astounding to even know about them and to get a feel for where they live.

So, yeah, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche was somebody I wanted to meet for very long time, and I had been in Denmark and I was on my way somewhere else in Europe, and Danny Goldman, my friend had been at a retreat with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche in Denmark and they were traveling with Rinpoche to another place, and it turned out that we were going to be in the airport at the same time. So, I said to Danny, I said, “Look, I really want to meet Rinpoche. Can we figure that out?” And he said, “Yeah, yeah.”

He said, “We’ll meet at such and shuts place in the airport at around this such and such time.” Right?

So, I got there and I was waiting and waiting and I didn’t see Danny and I didn’t see Rinpoche, but I figured they hadn’t come through security yet. So, instead I walked all the way down the other end of the airport to the security where you come through and I just stood there.

Now, the funny thing is, I had just finished getting all this work done on my, I had rotted my teeth out with Ricolas which I use to keep my throat moist when I’m singing, and so I had an extraordinary amount of dental work done, just finished maybe a month or so before this, just so you know.

Okay. So, I’m standing there outside of security and people are coming through, and then here comes Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, but he’s by himself. Danny and Tara were nowhere around. So, I stood there and he came out and he got his bag and he turns around and I went, “Rinpoche.

And he goes, “Oh, hi. Oh, hi.”

I said, “Hi, Rinpoche. How are you?”

He said, “I know you.”

I said, “Well, we haven’t met, but I know you.”

I said, “Well, thank you. My name is Krishna Das. Danny and Tara told me that I could, we could meet here.”

“Oh Good, come on. Let’s go.”

So, we start walking and he said, “So what do you do?”

And I said, “Well, you know, I chant with people.”

“Oh yeah, you chant, what are you chant?”

I said, “Well, you know, Hare Krishna, Sri Ram Jai Ram.”

“Hare Krishna? Hare Krishna?” he said. He grabbed, he locked his arms with me and we, and we started storming through the, the high class, the very rich shops area where everybody does their shopping, but it’s really the really super rich shops, right? And there’s all these people walking around and he’s dragging me down this hallway and he’s going, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,” and then he would elbow me. He said, “Come on sing, come on, sing.”

And all these people are looking at us, oh my God. And I’m trying to hide. He’s elbowing me. “Come on, come on and sing. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna!”

So, then we got to the place where we were supposed to meet Danny and Tara, and as we, about 50 feet from that place, they were sitting there and all of a sudden he changed direction and he took me to this little quiet corner and he looks at me and he says, “When you chant with people, do you talk to people?”

I said, “Yeah, a little bit.”

And he said, “Yeah. Okay, good. You should talk about peace. Peace is really important, peace of mind, really important. You should talk about that.”

I said, “Okay.”

And then he said, “If I write a song, will you sing it?”

I said, “Sure. If you write a song, I will sing it.”

“Okay, good.”

And then he dragged me over to where Danny and Tara were.

And so now, this was 10, 12 years ago, every time I see him, he looks at me, and he goes “Hare Krishna!” Like he’s sitting in front of a whole group of people ready to give a talk or something and he sees me, he goes, “Hare Krishna!”

That’s the story. So, you know, these guys are so, these beings are so extraordinary.

He said, “When you said, when you talk to people, tell them about peace of mind. That’s very important.”

So, consider yourself told. Peace of mind. Big thing. Very big thing.

So yeah, that’s the story. And his nephew was actually the son of the Rinpoche who just left the body, Phakchok Rinpoche, who is just an extraordinarily beautiful being. Somehow or other, we met at someone’s house at a dinner party, so he knew I chanted. He said, “Do you have any chants to Shiva?” And I said, “Yeah.” And so, I sent him a whole bunch chants that I did to Shiva. So now every time he sees me, he goes, “Namah Shivaya!” Like right before a class. “Om Namah Shivaya!” Great.

When I first met Lama Gyurme, who I’d been listening to for 15 years already. He’s the Lama who lives in Paris, who recorded those CDs. One of them is called the Lama’s chant and it’s one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever hear in your life. So, I was in Barcelona and some friends knew that I really loved Lama Gyurme, and he was giving a teaching about an hour outside of Barcelona. So, they came and picked me up and drove me out there, and so I got there, and we were taken upstairs. The Lama hadn’t come down yet. He was just, I think he was taking a shower or something. He just arrived. So, we waited in his room and he came out and he sits down and, “Hello, how are you? Yes,” he said, and he said, “What do you do?”

So, I said, you know “I lead chanting.”

“Oh yeah? What kind of chanting?”

I said, “Well, you know, Sri Ram Jai Ram, Hare Krishna.”

He said, “Oh.” He said, “You sing to the masters.”

And I went, “Oh.”

I never thought of it that way. You know, because in India, they don’t see it that way. They see these beings, those deities as gods, but that’s just another word. You know, these are our elder beings. These are the beings who have transcended where we are and where they originally came from, and they are elder, they are elevated. They are living in a whole different way than we live. So, yes, and since they are divine beings, but the way they see them that way, he said, “You sing to the masters.”

“Oh, okay. Very cool. Very cool.”

So yeah, that’s the story.

There was also another story. You said you had asked in a class, “What does it mean to be enlightened?” And I forgot the name of the Lama, but the answer was “not asleep.” Not sleeping.

No, this was another one of the four sons of Tulku Urgyen, Mingyur Rinpoche.  Chokling Rinpoche was the only one that I unfortunately could never meet, but I’ve been with Chokyi Nyima, Mingyur Rinpoche, and also Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Those are the three other brothers who were recognized as reincarnations. So, it was a course on, one of the teachings in Tibet, Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism is called Dzogchen, or Mahamudra, and this is resting simply in your natural being, in your simple awareness, natural awareness, with no concentrating and no manipulating and no trying. It’s very simple, but it’s of course the most difficult thing for us to do. So, it’s usually taught at the end of a long, many years practice of the different types of meditation. But the previous Karmapa, the 16th Karmapa ordered or asked Tulku Urgyen, who is the father of these four Lamas and other great Rinpoches, to start teaching these very advanced practices because they were needed now. And because people, especially Westerners didn’t have the time or the inclination or the ability to do all these other preparatory practices, but they could still get, they could still be helped tremendously by this Dzogchen, the Mahamudra teachings.

So, the point is, there was something called the rigpa, which means your natural awareness, pure awareness, or not pure in the sense of pure and impure, but just natural, spontaneous, what’s the word they always use? “Unmanipulated” is the word. Anyway, so somebody asked Rinpoche, you know, everybody was saying like, “So what, is it rigpa? Is it this? Is it rigpa, if that? Is it awareness of this?”

So, he just said, he said, “Well, just think and just think to yourself, ‘not sleeping.’”

Wow. I don’t know if you feel that, but in other words, you just noticed, “I’m not sleeping,” and then you feel something. You feel just simple being there. Almost, there’s no thoughts actually happening at that moment. All there is, is the awareness that you’re not sleeping. It’s different from saying “I’m awake,” which is thinking about it. “Yeah. I’m awake.” Well, maybe, maybe not, but when you say “not sleeping…”

So anyway, that’s that story. Not sleeping. So, we’re always not sleeping when we’re not sleeping, but we’re usually not paying attention. We’re usually lost in thought. So, we remind ourselves to look and that’s the practice of Dzogchen Mahamudra. There’s techniques that they teach you to see your true nature, so to speak. To become aware of it by dropping thought or by dropping, yeah. But it’s a very, it’s, it’s such a subtle practice, it’s just, it’s very it, you know, I’m in kindergarten myself. I don’t know about you, and this we’re talking about, you know, PhD classes here, you know, and I haven’t learned how to count two and two yet. So that’s what we’re talking about. But, “not sleeping.”

Q: Hey. First of all, you know, I’m a fan. Thank you. All that. I love you. It’s embarrassing. We have three questions and you can answer whatever you want.

I appreciate that. Thank you.

Just three. So, the first one is, can you tell the story about Maharajji and a thorn in my side Bible verse? And then, I’ll give you all three, and then you can pick. The second one is, in the Chalisa, the line, “Aura Devataa chitta na dharaee,” that we only need to praise or think of Hanuman and no other deities, if you could just talk about that a little bit, like what about the other deities? You know, like Ram. And then the third one is, if you could describe what it was like to touch Maharajji’s feet. And yeah, that’s it. Those are the three, whatever you want. And I don’t want to take up more time. So, pick whatever.

So, that verse in the Chalisa, you know, Hanuman is our special friend. He’s here to help us. Ram is everywhere all the time. Know what couldn’t be anywhere, is the doer of everything anyhow, but Hanuman is here as our special helper and Hanuman is that doorway into Ram, and he’s also the remover of obstacles and the purifier of our hearts and cleaning up our karmic situation that allows us to connect with the deeper place within us. So, “Aura devataa chitta na dharaee,” you don’t need to hold other beings, other deities in your mind. Everything, you’ll get everything from Hanuman. He’s the one that connects us to everything. Hanuman and your prana, your energy and your body are not even different. So, in that sense, Hanuman is specifically a part of our incarnation and exists to help us find the deeper reality within us.

So in that sense, Hanuman is our helper. He’s here to help us. He’s our special friend. He does. It also says, what’s that line in the Chalisa where, “Ram is the Supreme, the ascetic king, beyond, beyond, beyond. But you do all his work.” So, Hanuman and Rama are not separate, and neither is Hanuman far from us. So, that’s what we’re talking about.

And Maharajji used to say, also, you can only reach the formless through the form. And Hanuman is very close to us. Hanuman actually, he lives in our prana, in a sense, and prana is not just energy. It’s also conscious energy. There’s awareness in the prana, but we’re not aware of that ourselves beause we’re stuck in our physical bodies and our minds, our thoughts. But Hanuman is deeper.  He’s always available. He’s ready to help us find Ram at all times. And he is that flow of grace that awakens us and that connects us to that deeper reality, Ram, Krishna, all the so-called deities.

So, yeah, so one day I had walking in Vrindavan back in Maharajji’s time, I stepped into a hole in the road and I snapped my knee really badly. And when I woke up the next morning, it was like out to here. So, I thought, “Well, I’d better go to Mathura,” to the hospital and see a doctor because this is really bad. In those days, Maharajji told us not to come to the temple until four o’clock in the afternoon, because the visa guys were trying to get bribes to extend our visas and Maharajji was just fed up with all them. So, he just said, don’t come until four.

So, it was early in the morning, of course, but I thought I’d better take care of my knee, because it was really bad. So, Raghu helped me walk from the town to the temple, where we were in the Bazaar, where we were staying, because I couldn’t put any, almost no weight on my leg. It was really bad. And I limped in, we limped into the temple, and Maharajji was sitting all alone with one devotee there. Gurudatt Sharma was there with him in the middle of this big, empty courtyard, on his Tucket, on his bench, and I limped up very self-consciously, you know, and I pranammed, and then I sat down and I had to put my leg out straight underneath the tucket, because I couldn’t bend my knee.

And Maharajji, just as you know, he kind of hardly looked at me, looked at us and you know, people were always coming and going. It was no big deal. So, we came and we just sat there for a minute or two, for a few minutes, didn’t say anything. And I thought, “Well, I’m having darshan. You could cut my leg off above my knee. I don’t give a shit. I’m staying right here. I’m not going anywhere.”

So, after a few minutes, he gets up and he walks towards the back of the temple. He took Gurudatt’s hand. You know, he used to take somebody’s hand usually when he walked. Not usually, but many times when he walked, because He kind of walked like a two-year-old. Bang, bang, bang, you know, from one leg to the other. And so, they were walking away from where we were sitting towards the back of the temple. And the further away he got from where we were sitting, he started leaning on Gurudatt, leaning on him and limping, like he couldn’t walk, and I thought, “Oh,” I said, “he’s taking the karma of my knee.” Right?

As soon as I had that thought, he turned around and ran back to the tucket, plopped down on the tucket and patted me on the head and said, “Good boy, good boy. You thought I was in pain. You wanted to help me? Good boy. Good boy.”

So, we just sat around for hours with them. It was fantastic, you know, and he never asked anything about my leg. So, later in the day, I think it was, it could have even been the next day. I’m just not exactly sure. It was quite a few years ago. Other devotees had come and Girija was there, Larry, Larry Brilliant’s wife, Girija Brilliant was there, and in her shoulder bag, there was a Bible and Maharajji reached down into her shoulder bag and he pulls out the Bible and he opens it like this and just pushes it over to me and said, “Read this,” and he points to something on the page.

He didn’t even look. Right? And first of all, even if he looked, he’s not supposed to be able to read English. He just opened the book and said, “Read this.” So, this is what I read.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of revelations there was given to me a thorn in the flesh. The messenger of Satan to buffet me.” Satan, being the ego, in this case, so to speak. “Lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing, I besot the Lord thrice that it might depart from me, this thorn in the side. And he said to me, ‘my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness.’”

“My grace is sufficient for thee, because my strength is made perfect in your weakness.” You know, so Ram Dass and I talked about this for 50 years, you know, and in fact, finally, one day he looked at me and said, “You know, we’re evidence that that’s true.” So, I had two t-shirts made up with the word “Evidence” on them and I sent one to him and I have one.

What it means is, what we’ve come to believe that it means is that Maharajji’s grace is all encompassing, and the power of his grace is made obvious in the fact that we can’t do shit to help ourselves. We can’t do anything. We can’t stop our thoughts. We don’t even know how to be good people. We don’t know how to take care of people. We don’t know how to take care of ourselves. We don’t know how to live in the world in a good way. We’re full of all our shit, 24 hours, 365. That’s our weakness. But even in that recognition of our inability to do anything to help ourselves, the grace is what uplifts us as we surrender and recognize that it all comes from grace. That’s when we understand the power of grace. Grace is enough. The grace is everything. And as we recognize our inability to overcome our own stuff, that’s what shows how incredible the grace is.

You know, it’s very much like when I started chanting with people. After some months, I saw what was happening. I saw what was going to happen, and I also saw that I was not able to chant in the right way, that I was a hungry guy and I was going to use all this energy and all this stuff that was coming towards me to satisfy my hungry desires. And I saw that there was no possibility that I could not do that, that I would not do that. There was no possibility that that wouldn’t happen, that I would usurp all this beautiful energy to feed me whatever, with whatever the hell I wanted. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I was helpless to change that. And it was horrifying because that’s not why I started chanting with people.

I started chanting with people, number one, to save my miserable ass and to reconnect with Maharajji’s presence, which I had left. I had left, let go of his hand, and even though he had not let go of me, I had stopped being able to feel it, and I needed to reconnect in a deeper way to that place again. And that’s why I started chanting with people, because I understood that that was the only way I could do that, reconnect, was to chant with people. And so, when I saw what was going to happen, and when I saw how I was going to use the situation and use people to feed myself and misuse that, all the good stuff that was coming out of the chanting, I quit.

And I said, “That’s it I’m finished. I’m not doing this. I am not going to fuck myself up. And I’m not going to fuck over all these other people. I just can’t do it. It’s horrible.”

So, I quit. And I said to Maharajji, I said, “You have to fix this. This is your problem. I’m singing to people in your name and I’m not going to be, I can’t do it. I’m fucking it up. And I can’t even fix it because I’m the problem. You have to fix this, or I don’t sing. You got it? That’s the deal. Good night.”

Every night. I would say that every morning. I’d wake up and I’d say, “You haven’t done anything. Don’t you understand? I am not going to chant with people until you fix this. Get it together.”

And then every night, again, for three months. I went to India, I quit. I stopped singing and I went to India. It’s funny. I arrived on the spring solstice, and I left on the summer solstice. I was there for three months, and every day for those three months, except for the last two days, I was in absolute, total despair. I was being prevented from doing the only thing that could help me. I was being prevented from doing that by my own stuff. There was no way around it. I was the problem.  There was no way around that.

So, what could I do? You know, I just said, “That’s it I’m finished. You have to fix this. You don’t fix this? That’s the deal. I’m not singing. That’s the way it is.”

So, I was going to leave India at the beginning of May, actually, or was it the middle of May? The middle of May, after about two months, and Siddhi Ma had come up to the Hills and I was living with the Tiwaris in Bhimtal, about 45 minutes from the temple. And we used to go to the temple every couple of days, me and Baba, or me and Mr. Tiwari, Mrs. Tiwari and Baba, Mr. Tiwari, and see Ma.

And one day she looked at me and she said, “What are your plans?”

And I said, “Well, Ma, you know, I think I’m going to be leaving for New York soon.”

So, she was quiet for a minute, and she said, “No, you have to stay until June 15th,” which is the day of the bhandara at Kainchi, celebrating the opening of the first temple, the Hanuman temple there that Maharajji built. “You have to stay to see you have to stay until the Bhandara.” And then she said, “You have to see Maharajji’s big form.”

I thought to myself, “What is she talking about? Big form? What is that?”

So, I made a couple of calls back to New York and nobody was looking for me. Right? So, I thought, “Okay, I can stay.” So, the next day I said to her, “You know, I can stay. Good.”

So, I move into the temple now, you know. So, I left the Tiwaris and I moved into the temple, but still nothing was happening. There’d been no change in my, in whatever. I didn’t even know what that would look like if it happened, but I just knew something had to happen, and every day I woke up, I saw nothing had happened and that I was exactly in the same place, total despair, and the days were clicking off. The time was moving on and soon I would be back in America, and I’d be fucked up, and what am I going to do?

And every night I would go out into the back of the temple. You know, in the old days when I lived there, there was one light bulb out in the front courtyard of the temple. That was it. The rest were candles and stuff like that, you know? And so in the back of the temple, I used to go up on the roof and lie back on the roof like this, and just look up at the sky and the shooting stars would, you could hear them like, like that. It was amazing, you know? And so, I would go up. So, but now everything was built up and there were lights everywhere, but there was a few little corners where, if you could sit, stand in the shadows and you can still see the sky very beautifully, and so I would go out to those places in the back and I’d look up at the sky and I’d talk to Maharajji and I said, “You know, I don’t understand. You haven’t done anything. You know? Get it together. Good night.”

So, on the night of June 14th, I was up out there in the back of the temple, and this was it. I was going to be leaving either the next day or the day after. And that’s it. It’s over for me. I’m finished. Because I won’t be able to sing, and I’ll just keep drowning in my own shit and there’ll be no way out of it. So, I went back to the back of the temple and I’m looking up at the sky and I’m talking to Maharajji, and I said, you know, “I don’t get it. You could do this. Why? I don’t, I don’t understand. I really, I just don’t get it. Okay. I mean, I can’t, if you don’t want to, I can’t make you do something you don’t want to do, but I just don’t understand why, you know. Fix this. All right, I’ll go back. I’ll sing. How bad could it be? Good night.”

Then I went to sleep. In retrospect, that’s what we’re talking about here. “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.” I gave up. I could not do this. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t make you do this, nor could I do anything to help myself. That’s it. Done deal. It’s over. I’m dead.

That was surrender. A New York version, but it definitely was surrender. The next day everything changed. Everything changed. My whole life started the next day. The rest of my life started in the next day. He changed it. He did something. He did just what I needed him to do. He did. It’s his grace. Very hard for us as Westerners. It’s very hard for anyone, West, East, West, North, or South. It’s only by grace that you know grace in the first place. That’s the way it goes. And you don’t make grace happen. No one deserves grace. That’s why they call it “grace.” When we finally recognize our inability and truly let it go, truly let it drop, let our own egoistic aspirations, which are masquerading as spiritual aspirations, when we let them drop, grace can manifest. It was very hard for us. We are so ambitious and so aggressive, and our egos are just so highly developed, you know, and it’s just like Ramana Maharshi said, “Ssking the ego or the mind to kill or transcend itself is like asking the thief to be the policeman. There’ll be a lot of investigation, but no arrest will ever be made.”

So, “My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is made perfect in your weakness, in your recognition of your inability to do anything else,” to do really anything. I mean, all we can do is begin to pay attention. All we can do is begin to look at our stuff, but we can’t make grace happen. We can’t make the universe touch us in a certain way. We could prepare and be ready. We can cup our hands and catch the raindrops, but we don’t make it rain. It’s very hard for us. But, at the same time, you have to recognize that you also need to do practice, because it’s only through practice that we can train ourselves to be aware of grace, to be aware of our true nature. But there’s no guarantee that when we say “Ram Ram,” we’ll be able to recognize Ram, even though, they say that the name and God, or what is named, are not different, which means if we say “Ram,” if we were open and ripe and not constricted by our mental constructs and the programs we tell ourselves about ourselves, when we say “Ram,” we would experience Ram, because the name and what is named is not different.

And that’s why Maharajji, used to say, “Go on, sing your lying, fake ‘Ram Ram.’ And one of these days,” I forget exactly what the quote is. I should look it up again, but, “one of these days, you’ll say it with sincerity and wholeheartedness, fullness, and the real Ram will come and you’ll be saved, but go on lying.”

So, you do have to go on faking it. There’s no question about that. That’s the strange situation. Because we’re asleep and we in our sleep, we can’t wake ourselves up. We get awakened by that divine presence, by Being. It’s not what we do that wakes us up. It’s when we clean the mirror of our heart, all of it naturally, the reflection is accurate, but as long as there’s dust on the mirror, which is all our stuff, it does not reflect things accurately. And we see our own stuff out there, our own projection. We see our own face, the face of our body in the mirror and not the face of our true awareness.

As far as the third question, I’ll let you answer that sometime in the future.

Okay. Thank you. Yeah.

Q: Thank you so much for the beautiful introduction about the expansion. I have a comment or a question about an experience I had. I was at work yesterday. We’re all working remotely, but I was at work yesterday and something happened that touched my very core, like really deep, long old, old, old feeling from my childhood, that in the end it had nothing to do with work, but that was the factor that it awoke that, that long, deep seated feeling, and I just was so angry and then afraid, and my mind went on some trip that was like, “Oh my God.” And I was in the middle of it. Now what was different from other times is that I just kind of paid attention to that. I was like one of the few people in the office. It was not crowded, not like I had my door closed, so I was able to sit with the feeling and eventually, it subsided, and I just didn’t try to deny it or say, “Oh, I’m crazy. Oh my God, I’m nuts.” I just sat with it for a while. And that was really amazing. That was the first time I had sat with a deep seated feeling, a very powerful experience. And I, as I’m listening to you talk today about grace and about surrendering, I’m trying to figure out what can I do with, you know, when those experiences come up again? I wonder if the surrender is in the sitting with the feeling, or if you have any other ideas. I just don’t know how those knots got in there, those buttons in my heart that just got awoken and are really powerful or, you know. So, I would love to hear if you have any ideas, because it was really interesting.

Well, the experience you had seems pretty cool. Why do you think that won’t happen again? Or rather, okay, so you have fear that the next one will wipe you out. In other words, like these are waves coming in off the ocean. Our own karmas created these situations. We were co-conspirators in many of these situations, karmically. In other words, nobody’s innocent, nobody’s guilty. Everybody’s just busy doing stuff. So, these ways were created and they’re still coming in off the ocean, and this last wave crashed over you and you were okay with it. I mean, you felt it. You got wet, but you weren’t wiped out. You weren’t suffocated. You didn’t drown. So, but because we don’t like unpleasant things, fear arises.

Okay. You know, “What if it comes again,” you know, “What do I do?” forgetting that naturally something really cool just happened, and that what happened was beautiful, and that was some sense of fruit of practice, or fruit of your own presence being there. You know? So, I would try to honor that and not just, “Oh, great. That was good. What about next time?” You know? Don’t go there. You know, that’s also a thought. Let go of it. And so yeah, what’s going to happen is going to happen. What’s not going to happen will never happen, regardless of how we feel about either thing. So, it’s best to just try to remain as present as we can, and be aware of that fear that’s there. That’s the here and now. That’s actually in some sense, wiping you out now, even before the next big thing comes. You’re already clenched and waiting for the big one and what’s going to happen. So that’s this moment. So, work with that moment now, this moment now, and don’t worry about what’s going to happen in the next moment. This one’s enough to deal with.

So, it’s a question of, you know, noticing things and you know, unwinding, letting go again and again. And when we do practice, every time we notice that we’re gone and we show up again for a second, that’s a big thing. And that creates a deeper neural pathway in the brain, actually, and makes it easier and easier and more natural to be here and to release things more easily. So that’s what practice does. It’s not like, you don’t mark yourself with “Yeah, today’s meditation was a three on a scale of one to 10, but the day before was like seven and a half. I wish it could have been a seven and a half.”

No. That’s not what practice is about. It’s just every day, whenever you remember, letting go being with things as best way you can. I think.

Thank you. I actually had a great experience and I look forward to the next one.

See. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I know you’re joking, but let’s just, but you’re not joking, too. You’d rather have that experience than another experience, but the bottom line is we don’t have any say over that. So, notice that, too. Notice how you want to have things. We all do. We want to have things that are pleasant and not painful, but the point is we can’t control what’s coming. We can only ultimately have a say or a vote in how we meet each moment. So don’t get too stuck wanting to have only those experiences and not wanting to have the other ones, which is natural for us. We do it all the time, but let’s notice it more often so that we can let go of that, too. And then we’re just, whatever happens, you know, as it, as it arises in a good way.

Thank you very much.

Q:  I visited a refugee camp in Tijuana, Mexico, and I went there to teach yoga, and I happened to just check out the kitchen and I saw people eating rotten food and, very bad quality food, and all these refugees are from Central America that are coming there and piling up because of immigration policy. And when I notice that, I left yoga and I started like, a vegetable garden for them, and we have a big farm now, and then I’m trying to extend all that work to Nogales border as well as Jordan and a lot of other refugee camps now. So, one of the inspiring quotes from some of the talks you’ve done is, I think that conversations with Ram Dass about, “How do I raise my Kundalini?”

Yeah, Maharajji said that. We asked, “How do we find God?”

He said, “Serve people.”

“How do we raise Kundalini?”

He said, “Feed people.”

What does that mean?

That is a great inspiration for me. So, I would love if you can expand on what you saw in India and your experience around food and people. And the second question was more around, you know, I always feel like I am doing bhakti, but I feel like, if I’m not on the ground, actually like, working with people who are suffering, I find a big disconnect to be on my own. So I wanted to understand how you think about those things as well.

Well, one of the reasons Maharajji, or one of the results of being involved in service of other people is that we’re not thinking about ourselves. But when we’re alone and we’re not busy serving, what are we doing? Thinking about ourselves. So that’s what you’re experiencing. So, you know, I would imagine that Maharajji would encourage you to keep serving as best you can without hurting yourself or denying your own karmic responsibilities, et cetera. You know, whatever, the people you are responsible to in Gujarat, et cetera, you know, whatever you have, but doing the best to serve others, because he never encouraged us to do spiritual practice for the sake of our own enlightenment, or whatever. Never. He said, “Serve people. Do your Japa. Remember God, but serve people.” Don’t be thinking about yourself.

When I was going to kill myself in India, I was having a nervous breakdown in the temple with him, you know. Hallucinations, the whole thing, completely out of my mind. He just said, you know, “What are you going to do? Kill yourself? Jump in the river? You can’t die. Worldly people don’t die.” Then he said, “Only Jesus died the real death.”

And I’m thinking, “What is he talking about?”

And he said, “Because he never thought of himself.”

Right? Just keep serving, doing the best you can, and gradually, but inevitably, those thoughts that you call yourself will just thin out and disappear, and you won’t be tortured when you’re home alone with your mind. But on the other hand, this particular time in the world is brutal. Let’s face it. We are confined in the prison of our own stuff here. And we can’t, all the places that we used to go and things we used to do to get away from ourselves have been pretty much taken away, to a large extent. Everything’s right in front of our face all the time. So, that’s a good opportunity if you’re someone who works on that stuff. You know? This is a great, powerful opportunity to see your stuff and practice letting go, and finding different ways to, to get through the day.

But I can’t believe the work you’re doing. It’s fantastic. I totally bow to you. I think it’s an amazing thing you’re doing and it’s incredible. Really great. So, keep doing. Keep doing. It’s wonderful.

Thank you so much.

Q: Hi. Hi KD. Yeah, it’s been a while since I could talk to you the last time. I think it was two months ago. Then it was fine, and since there’s been a roller coaster ride. I lost my job. I was so scared that, you know, I’m going to be kicked out of this country. I’m in Boston on a visa, obviously. And I just kept praying. Thank you. I mean, I was just hanging on to Hanuman Chalisa, praying to you, Maharajji, Hanumanji, and it was, it was a tough time. Like I just didn’t know. I was kind of losing my shit.

Yeah. Big time stuff. Hard stuff.

But unexpectedly, I wasn’t too scared because I’ve been getting calls from different companies, and I didn’t imagine that. There’s one company that I got an offer from finally. And that’s the best thing that could happen to me. Like it, it just all worked out in such a small time that I just couldn’t think of it. And I don’t have the confidence. Before the interview, I was late. Maharajji, it’s all all to you. It’s all to you. It’s all, you know, your grace. You’re going to over. Finally it worked out. So, thank you so much. And I want that blessing to, you know,  I’m really thankful for that blessing and COVID continues, and as you say, you know, if one thing is over and another one is here. I’m not working, currently, just waiting for the immigration thing to be over and just instead just hanging on to the Hanuman Chalisa to pass my day. These are miserable with the COVID and I’m confined within my house.  But hopefully it will be over. So, I want your blessing. I’m planning to go to India and possibly arrange bhandara, maybe. I want to visit Vrindavan, maybe a temple Khanpur. So, I wanted your blessings to be able to do that. Hopefully everything works out in time and I’d be able to travel in, in time.

Yeah. Sounds good. Sounds good. I don’t think you already have all the blessings you need, or you wouldn’t even been thinking about these things. Really. And first of all, my blessing will only give you diarrhea, especially in India. So, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

If it’s a blessing, I’m happy to take it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m sure. And it will, again, I’m sure. So don’t worry about it. But wonderful. I’m so happy for you and very glad. Yeah, I think things will ease up with the visa situation very shortly, so hopefully everything will work out for you.

Yeah. I still cannot imagine that, you know, this happened. It was a rollercoaster ride.

Well, make sure we give thanks to the one who deserves the thanks.

So yeah, I mean, now I have this, because of COVID and all, I don’t know what to do the whole day. There are just standing thoughts in my, you know, I’m thinking all the bad things and what not. And maybe listening to your bhajans all the time or doing Hanuman Chalisa. What more can I do? Or it’s the way, it’s going to improve someday?

I would watch some television, watch some movies. I would try to walk a bit, get some physical exercise. Maybe learn how to cook some good food. Spend some time cooking, taking care of yourself. Don’t try to beat your mind up. There’s no button to push to make it all go away. It’s just a question of living every day in the best way you can. And these days it’s very hard. Welcome to the human race. That’s the way it is. There’s nothing to do. 1, 2, 3 to change everything. Practice takes time to ripen us, but we must do it. You must do it. So do your Chalisas every day, regardless of how you feel about it. When you don’t feel like doing it, that’s the best time to do it, because it’s only the vasanas and the tendencies of your own mind. Because you’re suffering. If you keep giving into those vasanas, then what the fuck’s going to happen? Nothing. You keep getting buried by your own stuff. So even when you don’t feel like doing it, do it, and don’t expect it to feel good. Don’t expect to change everything, but just do it. And then whatever you do with the rest of the day, just do. There’s so many good things on Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, you could watch 40 hours of TV a day if you want, but just do your practice whenever you’re not busy watching television. And move around a little bit. You’ve got to move a little bit.

Thank you so much.

All right. Be well. Ok?  Ram Ram.

Q: Namaste, KD. I just want to ask you, I just saw the movie on Sunseed, and then you spoke to that person who had made the movie. In the end there was a chat with you and him where you talk about, we have to remove the shine. You know, and Dada Mukherjee also showed you the lota that Maharajji had left. And he said, “You see KD, you don’t have to shine. You don’t have to shine.”

Is there a deeper meaning to this? That, you know, of the shine thing? Is that the spiritual ego?

There’s only one ego. Everybody’s got one of it. Everyone thinks they have one of it. Let’s put it that way. And we’re always busy trying to shine it up and make it look good to attract things to ourselves, to make ourselves look good, make ourselves feel good, to make other people notice us, so we can get things we want, et cetera, et cetera. But we don’t have to do that.

Dada was responding to this sadhu who came to his house to bring us to the Mela. And Dada thought that this other was the guru, but he wasn’t, he was just one of the chelas. And he was a total asshole. This guy was really disgusting and all full of himself and preening and walking in like, “I’m such a great, you know, I’m so great and you people are nothing.”

So, Dada just went “Whoa.” And that’s when he grabbed me and took me into Maharajji’s room. And you don’t have to shine. It’s okay not to shine. Just be yourself. And don’t spend all your time trying to shine yourself up. You know? Spend your time cultivating good qualities. Not just shining up the ourside. That’s basically what it’s about, you know. Be compassionate and kind and think about other people instead of thinking about ourselves all the time, which is what we do.

Thank you so much, sir.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

Q: Hi. I just wanted to thank you. I’ve been so enjoying all of these weeks, the chanting and your speaking and how you respond to everybody with so much heart, and I don’t know why, I’m feeling sad today. When I, I think I told you last week, how I gave away all of my Buddhist stuff, when I thought I had broken my vows. So, I started to look through old boxes from my childhood, because I was so young when I took refuge, and I started to find so many pictures of my teacher.

Beautiful. I never met him. I really regret that. Yeah. One of Maharajji’s devotees, Annapurna, who was with us in India, she was with Dudjom Rinpoche, and she kept telling me about them, but I was too stupid to listen.

Well, I mean, I’ve met many, many, Rinpoches throughout my life, but he’s definitely my root guru. So yeah, I’m looking at this and I’m remembering like, oh, we did a two week retreat with him, you know, and I remember, and so memories have been coming back of that. Like there was definitely a heart connection, but it’s, I don’t want to say it’s different when you’re a child, but it’s something about being a little girl, and he loves to have, all of them love to have children and animals around them. And you know, I think I told you, I’ve always had, it’s not a snobism I just haven’t felt close to sanghas in general. I’ve just kind of felt, and for whatever reason, my karma has always been that the Rinpoches or Lamas have been like, “You come with us.”

I wouldn’t complain.

No, it’s been wonderful and it’s, it’s all happened. My dad says it’s tendrel. You know, it’s just, yeah. And I’m feeling sad today just because I know Tulku Thondup is upstairs and he’s fine. He’s totally happy.

Yeah. Yeah. They’re fine. We’re not. What are you going to do?

So yeah, there is a saying, someone said this to me once, and it’s something I’ve been repeating a lot lately, that the lesson of betrayal, is trust. So, the kind of pain that you feel is kind of like, the way you betrayed yourself, your deeper self, and got rid of all that stuff and denied this and denied that, and really hurt yourself that way, and now you recognize that and, and that’s that pain, but that also leads us, gives us our self back. It doesn’t mean we don’t hurt because we do. That’s what we do as human beings. But we also get ourselves back that way.

Yeah. Oh, I’m thinking of when I moved in here five years ago, when he, when I happened to just, you know, meet him on the street and he said, you know, “Move in.”

And so, I did, directly below him. His apartment is upstairs. It’s like a temple. It is a temple. I mean, every wall is covered with Thangkas. And he came down and he, he blessed every wall of my place with his phurba. And my dog has some Buddhist connection, some connection. He goes into trance whenever, whenever Tulku Thundop does mantra, my dog just goes completely… So, he said, “You can bring your dog on retreat.” This was when he was in better shape. So, I brought my dog on retreat and everyone says, “Oh, no.”  Sanghas can be such jerks. But anyways, you know, they were like, “What are you doing with this dog? What’s your connection to Tulku Thundop?”

And I’m like, “I don’t know. He invited me and told me to bring the dog.”

Don’t you love that? Yeah.

I’m not great at sitting still. My dog is just like… for six hours. Totally.

I remember, you know, some years ago there was this guy in the temple who had a position of some kind of, in the temple, you know, helping out. And he was just vicious to the Westerners. He was such a miserable shit. It was hard to believe the things he would say to us. You know, so one day myself, Arjun and Archit, we were in the kitchen with Ma in the back of the temple, just hanging out, and this guy walks in and he’s standing behind us. And then I was just, we’re just talking with Ma, and then I noticed in the corner of the room, there was a chapati making machine.. They have a machine that makes chapatis. It kneads the dough. And I looked and I laughed out loud, you know?

And Ma said, “Krishna Das? What were you laughing at?”

I said, “Ma, look. it’s the machine, you know?”

And then she looks at me and she said, “Yes, Krishna Das. These days, no one comes to do seva the way they used to in the old days,” you know? And then she turned to this guy, this was the greatest moment, she turns to this guy, and she said, “You will never see the things that Krishna Das has seen.”

Yes! Boom. In your face. It was a great moment for me because this guy was so miserable. I mean, the things he did were so horrible. You have no idea.

There’s a lot of strange scenes. I mean, I’ve been in this since I was six, so I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff and yeah.

Yeah, it brings out, you know, it’s like an organization just immediately brings out the worst part of everybody. People grasping for power and importance.

I mean yeah, they’re jockeying for where they’re going to sit and “you’re on my place and that’s my, and move over. That’s my spot.” It’s funny.  

It’s great though. Isn’t it? Seeing how stupid we all are? We’re just the same.

I have my own ego, I realized. I’m used to be like, “I’m with them.” You know? “I’m with the band,” you know?

So, the Lama I was trying to, I found all these photographs from my childhood of all these different Lamas and Kalu Rinpoche and, you know, everybody that I took refuge with and took vows with. I’m like, “Oh my God.” I stopped doing my ngondro when this whole thing happened. Tulku Thondup said to take it easy, just take it easy. And at 30, when I had the abortion and I went into deep mourning, basically, I was also at the height of my external power as a studio executive in Hollywood, and I gave it all up and I, I moved to New York and I got a degree as a, as a social worker, and I knew I wanted to work with children. I just love children. They’re just, and what I’ve been doing for 15 years, and Tulku says, this is my work. And I’m so grateful for when you talked about service, like, what keeps me alive and when I feel totally happy and in my highest purpose, something other comes out of me. I work mostly with extreme sexual abuse cases in foster care. So, kids who’ve been raped by their father from zero to five and left on Harlem hospital steps. You know, just really like, severe, severe trauma, multiple personality disorders from trauma, and yesterday I was working with a girl that I just love. I’ve had these same kids for four years, which in a kid’s life is a lot of time, like seeing them go seventh grade to now she’s in high school. She got raped freshman year of high school. She’s black. Before that she had been raped in Haiti with her mother. And anyways, I’m going to ask Tulku Thundop after this, I’m going to call him. But the chief of psychiatry called me, and she said, “I was looking at your notes and they say ‘severe trauma and suicidal ideation.” I said, “Well, wouldn’t you?”

I mean, she, you know, she’s been raped twice. She’s straight A’s. She also brilliant, straight A student. Her mother’s Haitian and doesn’t believe in therapy. I speak French to her. I speak like five languages. I speak to her in French. So, she finally said, “You love my daughter. I see that you love my daughter. And so, I’ll let you, she can only talk to you. She can’t talk to anyone else.”

That’s their cultural thing. So, I’m holding all these secrets. So, then her best friend killed herself. She got the diary of her best friend. It turns out the father was raping the best friend. Then her other best friend in, she went to go visit her father in New Hampshire. She wrote to me, “Something, I think terrible has happened.” But she always thinks something terrible has happened. I said, “No, I’m sure it’s fine.”

“I haven’t heard from her in two days. I just know. I think she was killed.”

And I said, “No, she wasn’t killed. She’s fine. It’s New Hampshire. She’s probably out playing by the lake.”

Turns out she was killed. She was killed by this older man and drowned in the lake. She has six personalities. Luckily none of them are very mean to her. So, they have different nationalities. Two are dating. And I said, “Are they parts of yourself?” I don’t want to give her the schizophrenia diagnosis because I just don’t want that on her. I don’t like pathologizing people. So, the psychiatrist said, “Why haven’t you given her schizophrenia? And why haven’t you sent her to the hospital?”

I said, “Well, Harvard, Yale, everybody wants her. She’s a straight A student. This is that’s her thing. She’s doing well in school.”

And they said, “Well, your record is on the line. You know, if she dies, it’s, you know, you’re going to be sued and lose your license.”

And I was like, “What do you want me to do?”

They were like, “We want you to report to the police that you have a rape investigation.”

I said, “She doesn’t want to report. And that will cause more trauma.”

So, I think I’m going to leave my job. I mean, I just, I wrote, I talked to her afterwards, and I said, listen, “My  job is saying that I know we’ve been keeping this secret, and I think it’s for the best. I don’t think you have to announce to everyone that you were raped and have everyone on your high school know you were raped. I do think that will cause more trauma. I think you’re right. But my job is pressuring me. We need to come… They want you to come forward or they’re going to report, or they’re going to send you to the hospital. I don’t want that to happen.”

And then she wrote me this beautiful two-page letter about, you know, my mother would, basically I’d be an outcast for the rest of my life. And so, I wrote back to her, “Okay, I’ll keep your secret. I’m going to leave my job.”

I wouldn’t have told her that you’re going to lose your job, because if something happens then she’ll have more guilt, which she doesn’t need.

No, no, I’ll take her into my private practice. Like we can, you know, we can, we can work this out another way. I’m not going to betray you. Tulku, every time I have a hard case when something’s really, because these are all hard cases, I go to him and I ask him and he says, “Well, you know, you’re, it’s true. You’re not a great practitioner, but this is your practice. This is your service.”

Yeah. Ask him for blessings for these girls. Only blessings can deal with the karmic realities.

Yeah. A lot of suffering.

Okay. Nice to see you. Take care.

Q: Hello. Hi. Again, I don’t have a question. I just have something that I felt compelled to say, and…

How many pull ups can you do?

Now?  Seven. Before? Many more. You should see my kids. Yeah, I have a situation that is, it’s a challenge for me. My co-parent, who’s not in the same country as me, he’s from Ethiopia and his family is in a region in Ethiopia where the government, the national government has declared war on this region, essentially. And for about six weeks, they cut off the region from telephone, power, electricity banks, everything was shut. There was no way to really find out anything. He’s got, his parents are there and about seven of his brothers and sisters. He has one brother in Sweden and one sister in another part of Ethiopia.

So, for about six weeks, he had no news of his family, and finally, he’s just gotten a hold of them. They opened up the phone lines and everybody’s alive and they’re relatively okay. And I’ve found that I think the kind of scale, that what he’s going through is something that is, I’ve not experienced personally in my life with somebody who’s such a close person to me in this way, in the moment.  I have friends that have come from war torn places, but I haven’t gone through something with them. And I have tried my best to, you know, just be present for him and available to him and just be there in whatever way that he needs and not try to impose, you know, what I think is good for him. And I feel like inside, like it’s so, I feel like I’m just so helpless. I’ve also tried to do things like write letters and, you know, actions that might be effective in some way. But I feel, I feel really, really helpless, and I think the only thing I can see right now is that. Just the scale of the suffering and the pain, not just for him, but you know, for everyone that’s going through that, and when I just, all I can feel my frustration is coming through. I can only think that I just have to feel this and it really just hurts. And I just don’t know if you have any other thoughts.

You can only do what you can do, and you can only feel what you feel. There’s no where to go to change it. You have to let people be who they are and do what they have to do. You can’t live someone else’s life for them. And you can’t make everything in the world right. Nobody can. And we may feel certain ways about things, but there’s nothing we can do about that. So, we just have to drop it. You feel what you feel, but you also, we’re not, you know, we can’t even, we can’t even take care of ourselves. What are we going to do about other people? So, you just wish them well.

This is a good time to do a Metta practice for yourself, for your partner, and for the world. That’s what it’s about. That’s why those practices are here. You know, all the great beings, they know all this, they feel all this themselves because they’ve become the body of the universe and we are the cells in their body. So, they feel everything that every one of those cells feels, but they are not destroyed by it, because they are the whole body and they have a pain in their knee, but they don’t identify with it. They’re beyond being caught by the egoistic delusion of being separate. We are not beyond that, but inside of that delusion of separateness, we can transform our emotions into wishing the best for everybody, which is a recognition that we can’t change other people. We can’t even make somebody else feel good, but we can wish that they do. We can wish that they don’t suffer. We can offer them the friendship of our hearts. And we can offer ourselves that too, because it’s only the thickness of this emotional flow that is causing us suffering. We don’t have to suffer that way. There are ways there are ways to suffer that is good and useful for us and other people, because the suffering encourages us to expand our hearts and not close down.

So, whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. What’s not going to happen is not going to happen, regardless of how you and I feel about it. So, as Ramana Maharshi said, “the best thing is to remain in silence, which is our true nature.” “Peace of mind,” as the Rinpoche said.

Regardless of what happens, that’s where we’re headed. That’s what this is all about. So, the more we get with the program, the more our suffering will serve the greater good and not destroy us.

We take ourselves so seriously, all our emotions. It’s so important how I feel. It isn’t actually, but we think it is, so we get right into it, you know? Okay? But it’s very difficult. We’re human beings. So, we have to deal with that. All the coverings that we have, all the emotional shapes and colors and emotions and stuff that we are carrying around. But a practice Metta practice is so beneficial for all of that, all of that, just connect with the feeling of wishing yourself and others well. Just wish them well. You can’t make them well. It’s not our job to make them well, but it’s in our own best interests and theirs to wish them well. Do we really want them to suffer? No. So, I wish I wish you well.

I heard you say the other day, and something that I’ve heard you say a couple of times about the Dalai Lama, when someone asked him if he was happy and that really resonated with me.  I’m so far from that, but..

No, you’re just close, a breath away, that’s all.  You’re not far from that at all. It’s right here. It’s your true nature. It’s not somewhere else. It’s not in somebody else. It’s right now. Are you going to let this situation destroy your peace of mind and your essential goodness? Feeling of goodness? And if the answer is yes, well, okay. If it’s no, then motivate yourself to deal with it in the best way you can.

So that’s the deal, you know. In order to get out into the ocean, we have to go through the waves, and there’s only one way to go through the waves, which is right through the waves. You know, if I could, I’d get a helicopter to drop me out into the ocean, but those helicopters aren’t available on this world. We have to go right through the waves and those waves are our own stuff. So, just like we started this whole afternoon, we’re getting wet, but that can’t be avoided. But are we creating more waves? The best way not to create, to calm the waves is, like the Metta practice or the repetition of the name, or whatever works for you. But whatever it is, if you don’t do it, you don’t do it.

I do. I’ve been doing Metta a little bit every day for probably a year. It’s a little bit of what I do, but it’s actually interesting that you said that because I hadn’t even done it with a situation, you know.

We tend to do our practices, like as if, we tend to rush through them and feel good that we’re just doing them, you know, and not really being there very much. So those are the moments when you’re shown how much you’re not there. So now do the practice and you’ll be there because you need to be, because you’re suffering. When we’re not suffering too much, it’s like, “Okay, Sri Ram Jai Ram. That’s nice. I did a whole mala. This is fantastic.”

But we didn’t even connect. We weren’t there for a second. Not that it’s not useful. It is useful and it’s planting seeds, but so much more of ourselves is available or could be available to bring to the practice. And that’s part of our situations, that we’re not here and we’re not there. We’re nowhere, even when we do practice. But it is from practice that more practice, that deeper opening happens. So, like Maharajji said, “Sing, repeat the name whether you’re happy or sad or angry or tired.” If you don’t… Repeat the name without any devotional feeling or anything. Do it with no devotion, but do it.  Otherwise we don’t plant the seeds that we need to plant.

Thank you.

And one thing. So, for the other people who are not an immediate question, you know, where are your heads? Where are your hearts? You know? Are you present with what’s going on? Are you judging? Are you avoiding? Are you checking your mail? Are you with the suffering here or do you think that your, you know, it doesn’t really apply to you?

This is an opportunity to be present with someone who’s going through something in their lives and to be included in the family of the world, the people in the world, to feel a part. Everything that everyone says in these gatherings is coming from inside of each one of us. All of us suffer. All of us will go through horrific things in our lives. All of us will lose our loved ones. All of us will find new loved ones. All of us will have to get up every day and deal with what arises. So, during this period of a couple of hours every other week, be here. Overcome your own judgmental mind about what you like and what you don’t like about what you hear, and open your hearts and extend that opening to whatever everyone is going through here. It’s a good opportunity to see yourself and to see what makes you uncomfortable and judgmental and to see what makes you cry, to see what causes emotional this or emotional that, and still try to be here with it all and with everyone. Everybody here is a part of humanity and we are all one family. We share the same blood, as Maharajji said. Try to be here with it all, if you can. It’s good practice. And by judging others, we’re judging ourselves very harshly.

End of lecture. Next victim.

Q: Thank you, KD. You offered that amazing meditation at the beginning, and in that moment, I believe I heard that, in the space there are no emotions and it’s free and it’s infinite, and I love the invitation to the sky and all of that. But when you shared about your key months in India, I started to feel tremendous, like almost burning. And I do know, you know, the images and statues of Hanuman, but it was almost unbearable because the suffering, which you might have experienced then, has traveled through the space or something was like terrible grief, despair, sadness for a few minutes. But almost every time you share about your suffering, I start to gently tear up.  It’s not a problem, but emotions are in the space sometimes. There is a lot in this space. I went to Maharajji’s ashram in Kainchi and in Vrindavan,  and I felt his presence, and I actually point out and I said, what happened to the ceiling? And they told me, oh, we changed it. And I almost felt like, his mudra. So, when you said there are no emotions in the space and I feel something like that, can you talk a little about the, you know, love in the room and, you know suffering in the room? And I wrote a very short poem and yes and I hear you, I hear everything. But to integrate it takes time. And I did Metta Meditations since the day it was suggested. I was okay for two weeks. And then, a couple of days ago, I just sobbed in “may I feel safe.” I never felt safe with my family, and I still don’t. “May I be healthy.” I never felt healthy around the family. So sometimes Metta meditation is not just calming. But I know the time is running. So, I will be listening.

I never said there’s no emotions. Clouds go through the sky. But if our awareness is on the vastness of the sky, then the clouds don’t affect us the same way.

If my awareness is listening to you sharing about the suffering, I sometimes feel the suffering. I feel the emotion. I feel the bhavana because it was very, very difficult. And it’s still karmically, it’s hard for you, I feel. I know this sounds so arrogant, but I speak to you from my heart. It’s not even easy to talk about that. And I felt it. So, is that ego? I mean, it, to me, I don’t know, but maybe I shouldn’t even worry. You know? I mean, from worrying about where I put my books, now, it’s, you know, but I feel this and not just because of you. I feel that, you know, emotions of some people. You know, the whole universe is suffering, but I don’t make it my own. But it’s still happening very vividly and very physically. So, what is that?

Well, its okay. I won’t worry about my emotions. I’ll let you worry about them.

So sweet. May I take another couple of minutes to share the poem? it links to something you said. I have to read it. I don’t remember the poems I wrote years ago, but it’s called “I.”

“Once I could see if myself as I am that. I am here. Once I believed that love is to call someone dear. Once I could not accept that fullness and void are the same. And I kept asking, how come consciousness did not  get affected by playing the game? Once your touch, your look, and your words felt like a bridge. Once I thought that in order to get enlightened, one must cross, connect, or reach. I was unable to see that love joy and bliss dwells in the infinity of hearts. And I used to look at you breathlessly, admiring you as a marble statue, not realizing that my mind was shrinking the whole into different parts. I was afraid of the concept that real itself, it’s real. It’s unreal. But one day I finally saw Brahma sitting in your eye. He waved at me and accepted, and I accepted his invitation to enjoy the effect without a cause. And I might even start to laugh at the paradox that all my complex questions have such a simple answer: ‘I.’“

Thank you for being wonderful guy. Please do not go into silence. We need you.  Love you all guys. Have a happy holiday.

You know what, since we’re talking a lot about karma today, I’m just going to read you, this is from a wonderful Rinpoche called Lama Zulfa Rinpoche.

“People say, ‘It’s my karma,” as if there is nothing they can do about it. Whatever comes along, they have to experience it. This is very depressing because it would mean that there is no method at all to escape from suffering. It would mean that if we planted a seed, whether it died or grew strong and tall would be determined by this unchanging karma, regardless of whether we tended it or not, watering it, feeding it, taking care of it. But that is clearly not so. We do have an influence on the seeds we plant. In the same way, like external seeds, where the strongest will grow the fastest and biggest, our karma works in the same way, and like external seeds where and how we tend them, makes a huge difference in the outcome. How we tend our karma can determine which ripens and which doesn’t, and like weeding, we can purify the negative imprints on our mental continuum.”

That’s interesting. We can purify the negative imprints of our own seeds on our mental continuum.

“Perhaps at present, the negative imprints overwhelm the positive one and we are destined for rebirth in a lower suffering realm, but that is not preordained. By purifying and by accumulating merit, we can reverse that. Definitely. We have the free will to determine our next birth.”

But that’s a very powerful statement, and it should help us understand a little bit of what karma is about in a very simple, very powerful way. Karma, the laws of karma, of cause and effect are actually the blueprint for freeing us from suffering. They just simply explain the way things work, and once you know how things work, there’s an antidote to things. You can change the way things manifest by our, we can change the way by our actions. So, it’s a very powerful statement, and I think it’s very simple and very beautiful. And whether you believe in rebirth or not, it can certainly change the way we get reborn every day when we wake up. So that’s not one of the things we need to worry about. It can change the way of how we go through our days and how our life manifests to us and in us.

So, yeah, that’s great.

Okay. So good to hang out with you all again. And please take good care of yourself. Be safe and see you soon. Namaste.


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