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 Dec 5 2020
Hi everybody. It’s nice to see some of the same faces, week after week or whatever it is. Somebody wrote to me and said, “Such a nice community has grown up.” Really? You know? Amazing. I never thought of that, but it’s true. It’s true.
One time Sharon and I were doing a workshop weekend maybe, or maybe just one day together in LA and it was such a nice afternoon. It was really great. You know? So, at the end I said, “Oh, this is so great. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all find someplace and be together and we could just be together our whole lives?” And then I said, “Oh, we did that. Earth.”
David Nichtern, my friend, our friend David, he said he was riding on the subway one day and he looked around and he thought to himself, ” What if I had to spend the rest of my life in this subway car, this train car, with these people?”
In New York, you don’t look at anybody, because you look at anybody, they immediately look at you, “Yeah? What do you want?”
But imagine, you know, if you were in a car with 30 people from all over, all different shapes and sizes, and these were the people you were going to spend the rest of your life with, you would need to, and you would want to connect eventually. You would have to connect. So this is where we are on this, as Jimmy Hendrix called it, “this third stone from the sun,” this planet. We’re all together here passing through. Passing through.
Hi. Namaste. Ram Ram.
Same to you.
I just wanted to ask a question in regards to, back to when KK told you to give up smoking ganja. I’ve been listening to, over and over again, when you were still smoking weed and then KK Shah said you must give it up.
Actually, it was Maharajji. Actually, it was hash in India and I wasn’t smoking much at all, every once in a long time, but we were standing outside his door, outside Maharajji’s window, and somebody asked him about I guess, about smoking hash, and he said, “It’s not good for you. It destroys your body over time. If it was good for you if it would bring us to God, I’d get a room built and we’d fill it with hash and we’d all go in together and smoke it.”
The reason I ask is, because I’m trying really hard to give it up as a coping mechanism and it’s really hard to surrender into that.
Why do you want to give it up?
Because I have this ridiculous thing in my mind that, to be a good devotee, you have to do all these things.
You have it in your mind that you’re supposed to give up all these things? Is that what you said? Forget about it. Smoke your ass off until you get sick of it and then you’ll just give it up. You won’t like it. Go somewhere where nobody’s going to bother you for the weekend. Get like about a half a pound of the shit and smoke your brains out. That’s why we do it. We’re looking for bliss. You see? We’re looking to be freed of our suffering and our fear and we can’t deal with our shit. So we try to numb ourselves. All that does, is it numbs us. And what, the other thing it does, it actually, over time, it destroys our will. It destroys our ability to actually take care of ourselves and gets us really confused about what we want and what’s good for us. It’s a very confusing situation. You know, there was a great Lama named Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche who said, “What most people call bliss is just a little less pain.”
So, that’s our situation. You know? We think that a little less pain, a little numbing is gonna do the trick for us, but it always comes back. Reality or our subjective reality just rears its ugly head, and we look in the mirror and all we see is our shit. So, welcome to the human race. That’s where we are.
So really, you’re running a trip on yourself for a trip you’re running on yourself. Give yourself a break. At least run only one trip on yourself. That’ll be a lot less painful.
But I wouldn’t worry about forcing yourself to give anything up, but why don’t you play around a little bit, and when you smoke, be present. Look at, “W hat is this doing to me? Am I really feeling good? Yeah. Okay, cool. I’ll keep doing it.”
But don’t just like, smoke and then go out and roll around in the mud, you know? Pay attention to what’s really going on. Is it really something that you’re enjoying? Or is it just a very ineffective way of avoiding dealing with issues? Sweetheart, if we don’t deal with our issues, they deal with us. But still, don’t push yourself. Don’t push yourself, you know. Just pay attention. That’s all.
“Is this really what I want?” Ask yourself. “Is feeling like this really what I want? Or am I really getting what I want from doing this?”
That’s the question you could ask if you want. But don’t give yourself such a hard time. It’s not worth it. Because if you didn’t give yourself a hard time, there would be no hard time. Right? So why do we give ourselves a hard time? Well, there’s a lot of reasons. So at least let’s pay attention to what we’re doing every day and see if it’s really getting us what we want, and if it’s not, let’s try something else. That’s all, it’ll fall away. It’ll fall away because it’s not what you really want.
You get attached to doing the same thing and you forget that it’s not really working. You’re not noticing that it’s not really working.
I started smoking to turn off the mind and then it just became a habit.
Yeah. When I used to smoke, I would get so fucking paranoid I couldn’t breathe. I would get so paranoid, I couldn’t even function. When I was younger, I’d just get stupid. And when you’re young, stupid is normal. So that was okay. But later on I just realized, it was just making me so paranoid. I had to stop. I couldn’t bear it. And I just stopped, you know. It just was not working.
So yeah, you’re cool. Don’t worry about it. It’s all right. Just get good weed, for God’s sake. Don’t smoke shit. And you’ll get over it. You’ll get over it. And if, it’s not even something to get over. This is your life. You know? Is this the way you want to spend it? And if the answer’s “yes,” then do it. No problem. If it’s not, you will change because you don’t want this. And if you want this, there must be a lesson in it for you, you know?
Sometimes we do things just so we can run trips on ourselves and be negative on ourselves, you know, because we’re used to that. It’s like sometimes people who grow up in an abusive home can’t really accept affection, unless there’s some dark side to it, some abuse to it as well. We keep acting out those original programs that were put in there when we’re young, but the more we pay attention to it, and the more we try to just give ourselves a break, it kind of develops, you know. Take it easy. We’ve all been beat up enough by life. We don’t have to add onto it so much, you know?
Yeah. You find some good weed, let me know where to find it, okay? I haven’t smoked in so long. People always ask me, ” Are you clean and sober?” And I said, “I may be sober. I’m not sure if I’m clean.”
It’s hard. It’s real hard.
It is. But it’s hard because we have a need to get away from the stuff that hurts us. So we find something that seems to work, but does it really work? That’s the thing. And if it doesn’t, and you know that, sooner or later it’ll just fall away. Really. But it’s difficult to give up our habitual actions, you know, and really in a sense, the smoking is just another habitual action that we’ve picked up on, because the other ones that we were doing weren’t working. So when this one is finished, there’ll be something else. So just pay attention. Be with it. You know, are you really getting what you want? And if you are, and there’s nothing to say, fine. Keep going. No problem. But it’s up to you to really take a look at it, and don’t be so hard on yourself. Come on.
I’m hard enough on myself for all of us.
Hi. How are you?
Good. How are you doing?
I’m good. I’m healthy and writing a book and doing well.
Ah, you think writing a book is a healthy thing to do?
So I have a question. I have a friend whose teenage son, I think he’s 17. 16 or 17 now. He reached out to me because he’s had some encounters with Maharajji, some fairly, without the help of substances, he’s had some fairly psychedelic experiences in which he feels he’s been visited by Maharajji. He did not know who he was. He didn’t recognize him, but then he did some research and he said, “That’s the guy.”
Can you just tell him to give Maharajji my address next time?
So he was asking. His mom suggested that maybe he reach out to me and ask for guidance and so I just, I did my best, but I wondered what you might say to him. By the way, he’s read, “Be Here Now” and “Polishing the Mirror,” and he listens to you. He listens to your music. Is there anything else?
Well, certainly there are more books he could read to immerse himself more in that with his mind. But is he having problems like stopping at the red and going at the green? I mean, is he having trouble getting through the day and dealing with other people?
No. So he’s good. He’s inspired and he just wants to immerse, I think. I thought of Parvati’s new book.
That’s a great book. Dr. Larry’s book is great, “Sometimes Brilliant.” It gives another, a whole other version of, a whole other way of seeing Maharajji and what he does and what he’s done in the world and what he’s doing.
Yeah. I would definitely encourage him to, as long as he’s dealing with daily life in a good way. If it’s something that all of a sudden he’s saying, you know, I can walk on water or cars can’t hurt me, then you have to be careful, but if he’s really more or less together, then, you know, he could certainly immerse himself more. There’s more. And let him listen to Ram Dass, too, some of the Ram Dass stories and stuff like that. That’d be great., So he gets to understand this is, it’s not just something else. It’s also here. It’s also about how becoming a good human being now and living in the world in a good way, that it’s not going somewhere else where Maharajji is, somewhere else.
You want it to integrate. He’s kind of young, but you want him to feel okay about himself now, here in the world, not just think that I have to go somewhere else to get this, or, you know. And tell him to talk to Maharajji. Well, yeah. Tell him. Tell him to feel his presence where he is, not somewhere else, you know. Try to guide him to be in his body, you know. It can be here. And yeah, give him my address. Tell him to give it to Maharajji the next time he comes. “This guy wants to see you. Here’s his number.”
Speaking of seeing people, can I ask you personal question?
You can ask. I don’t have to answer, but you can ask.
I’m wondering how you’re doing in the aftermath of Ram Dass’s transition, and if you feel him.
Oh, I feel very much. I miss him very much, but it’s like that country song that I’m writing, you know, “How can I miss you when you won’t go away?”
I miss my interactions with him. My favorite thing was making him laugh. You know, he would explode in laughter sometimes. We had so much fun and I miss him a lot, but I feel him a lot. No, “but” is not the right word. I miss him a lot and I feel him a lot, and a lot of my dearest elders have passed on from the body in the last few years and there’s a well of sadness there for sure. And that’s okay. You know, I mope around anyway. It’s just a little bit more moping. I’m used to it.
You’re welcome. Take it easy. Yeah, all right.
How are you today?
Hi. How are you?
I was thinking a lot about something that I think you said, quickly, in our last time together about, I think I wrote it down correctly, that the lesson of betrayal is trust, and I’ve been thinking about that and looking at my life and the one thing that has come up a couple of times is I notice my sister-in-law, my very dear sister-in-law, who was a very good friend also to me passed away between the time you and I were together in this time, and one of the things that I notice, and I don’t know if it’s betrayal, but I’m trying to kind of map it that way, like I have , I’m angry, like I’m mad at her. I’m mad at the universe. I’m mad at whoever it is there is to be mad at that, you know, that she left, that she took, that she went away, and really for me actually it’s a little bit like she took herself away. My little granddaughter, who was only 10 months old in this year of 2020, also passed away, and again, my experience was being really angry. Like how could that little girl do that to my daughter, who was her mom. And I’m just interested in kind of exploring that the lesson of betrayal is trust. That’s sort of what I’m interested in.
I’m not sure if that particular phrase pertains to what you’re talking about. I think what you’re talking about as a loss of control, you know, when God died, she made you the boss. So you’ve been in control of everything and now people are doing things without your permission, and that’s very painful, and actually the pain that you feel, the anger is really just more protection. self- protection, because the grief is so strong. So, it just transforms itself into anger. So yeah, if you’re angry at something outside of you, you think but grief is so internal, you know, that it’s a much deeper kind of emotion and more painful.
So yeah, that’s a lot of pain there. I think the anger is just protecting yourself from the depth of the, and that’s okay. You know, really. I mean, I think as the days go by, the anger will dissolve and the grief will rise up and you’ll become more aware of it, and then you’ll be able to process some more of that.
You know, everybody has their own life to live, and they’re not living it for us. They’re living it according to what they have to work out for themselves. People don’t come into this world a blank slate. All little children are not totally pure in a sense of they’re all good. Everybody comes in with their own predispositions for things. The parents, they were born to the culture they were born in, the experiences they have, all constantly like a self-fulfilling prophecy, and they do the work they have to do, and there’s no way to understand it in the mind because it’s beyond the mind.
You know, let me read you,, let me read this letter. Maybe most of you don’t know this. This is very heavy. Okay? It’s really heavy, but so is death, and so is life. So I want to read this letter to you. The background? This is a letter that Ram Dass wrote to the parents of a very young, a young woman, a teenager, I believe, who was killed by somebody. She was raped and killed. And so her name was Rachel and Ram Dass wrote this letter to the parents.
“Rachel finished her work on earth and left the stage in a manner that leaves those of us left behind with the cry of agony in our hearts as the fragile thread of our faith is dealt with so violently. Is anyone strong enough to stay conscious through such teachings as you are receiving? Very few, and even they would have only the briefest whisper of equanimity and peace amidst the screaming trumpets of their rage, grief, horror and desolation.
I can’t assuage your pain with any words, nor should I, for your pain is part of Rachel’s legacy to you. Not that she or I would inflict such pain by choice, but there it is, and it must burn its purifying way to completion. For something in you dies when you bear the unbearable, and it’s only in that dark night of the soul that you are prepared to see as God sees and to love as God loves.
Now is the time to let your grief find expression, no false strength. Now is the time to sit quietly and speak to Rachel and thank her for being with you all these few years and encourage her to go on with her work, knowing that you will grow in compassion and wisdom from this experience.
In my heart, I know that you and she will meet again and again, and recognize the many ways in which you have known each other. And when you meet, you will, in a flash, know what now is not given to you to know, why this had to be the way it was.
Our rational minds can never understand what has happened, but our hearts, if we can keep them open to God, will find their own intuitive way. Rachel came through you to do her work on earth, which included the manner of her death. Her soul is free now, and the love that you can share with her is invulnerable to the winds of changing time.”
In love, Ram Dass.”
Thank you for that. And thank you for reminding me that grief is there, and it’s like in his letter, the burning of it, you know, burns up something, consumes something.
Let’s thank Ram Dass.
We get so caught up with the details of our daily life, the little hurts that we get, the little joys we crave and the little discomfort that we might feel. It’s also important to us until we step back a little bit and see the whole picture as best we can.
I remember when I was young and I knew everything. You couldn’t tell me anything. So, it’s good to be reminded again and again, what this is really all about. There’s great joy in our hearts that can’t be destroyed by anything in this world, and our work is to find that joy, find that love, find that happiness, despite what the world is telling us about ourselves.
“Ram nam karne se sab pura ho jata.”
Maharajji said, over and over, “From repeating the names of God, everything is accomplished.” Because when we’re doing that, when we’re listening to the sound of the name, when we’re repeating these names, at that moment, we’re not obsessing about ourselves. We’re not caught in our version of “me.” We’re tuning to a deeper place inside of us, where everything is okay just as it is.
That’s why practice is so important, because it’s not how you feel when you’re doing the practice. How does a farmer feel when he’s riding on a tractor planting seeds? He’s not eating the fruit of his work at that moment. The seeds have to grow, but if you don’t plant them, they don’t grow. So, it’s our responsibility to ourselves and to everyone, everywhere, everyone in our lives and everyone on the planet, to do this work of turning within, opening a window into that place within us that’s deeper than all this shit, deeper than the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves that we just believe day after fucking day.
So, it’s up to each one of us to do that work for ourselves and for the ones we love and for the people we don’t even know, because we’re all in this together.
One Ram Dass’s greatest, I think it was his greatest quality, was his willingness to drop his own trip at any moment for you. No matter what he was feeling, no matter what he wanted for himself, he was ready, willing, and able at any moment to be there with you, with us, regardless of what else he had going on. He would drop it in a second to be present with somebody. It was amazing. And that quality, as his life went on and he suffered terribly from the wheelchair and the stroke and the neuropathy and the pain, and that quality turned into real humility, real presence, and he didn’t inflict his suffering on anyone else. Quite extraordinary.
Every once in a while, with people he really knew well, yeah, he would be an asshole, but that was allowed. One time when I first met him, not the very first time, but the first couple of times I met him in, he said something so horrible to me. This is way back, you know. I wrote him a letter, or I said to him at the time, you know, “You’re just, you’re a fucking asshole.”
So, two weeks later I got a letter from him. He said, “Shiva is a cosmic asshole,” which was his way of apologizing.
It’s so interesting. You know, we see other people as we see ourselves, as egos, really, we see other peoples’ stuff, and we see our lives as stuff, just chugging along, you know,? But when I look at Ram Dass, I see this incredible being of light that was always there, manifesting more and more, and by the end, that’s pretty much all there was, even though sometimes he didn’t think that, because it’s still, there’s always stuff when you’re here in this body. There’s always some stuff.
Over the 50 years we were together, there was so much, so many different types of teachings going on. Even though the situation about this letter is not exactly the same, it’s the context that’s important, not important, but it’s the context that’s so powerful for us. We chop life up into little soundbites or little Tik Tok clips, and we forget what else is going on.
We don’t know. We’re not aware of the context for things, for the reality of things. We just pick little snippets and then we get off on that or we have reactions to that, but our hearts have to get as wide as the world to encompass everything that’s going on.
These great beings, Maharajji knew everything. He was aware of the suffering of every being in the universe, and everything he did was to relieve that suffering in whatever way he could, every minute of every day. These great beings, they’re aware of the suffering, but it doesn’t destroy them, because there’s nothing to destroy. There’s no ego. There’s no one holding on to a version of yourself. There’s just the whole universe. These beings have become the sky that holds all the clouds and the smog and the planes and the birds and the cities and even the earth, everything’s held in that sky, and the sky is not affected by it. It holds it lovingly and with gentle kindness and compassion, never destroyed by whatever happens inside of that sky. That’s where we’re going. That’s what we’re on the way to becoming, that sky, to recognizing that we already are that sky like presence.
But we forget, again and again and again and again, but you don’t know you forget until you add a practice to your life. That’s what shows you that you’ve forgotten when you’re gone. You’re there singing “Ram.” There’s a thousand people singing with you, and you’re thinking about screwing the girl next to you. Or the guy. Whatever you’re into.
And then you go, “Oh, shit. I’m supposed to be singing.” But you were singing, but you just weren’t paying attention. So you noticed you were gone. Without practice, you don’t know you are gone. You just grow up, go to high school, drink some beer and die, and you’re not there for one second. And that’s not good.
Well, there you go. It doesn’t have to be that way. So, when we add some kind of practice to our lives, that’s what shows us. It reveals to us how, that when we’re not here, but we only see it when we come back.
I’ll drink to that.
Hi Krishna Das. How are you?
The past couple of sessions that you’ve had, you’ve told a couple of stories about your Indian father and yeah, I was curious about how you met him and how he came to be your Indian father.
Well it was our, my first trip to India and Ram Dass’s second trip. We were in Kainchi. I think it’s probably the spring of ’71, which was the first spring that we were there. Most of us arrived in the fall. Many of us arrived in the fall of ’70, and then the spring of ’71, we were living in Nainital and going to the temple to see Maharajji probably every day, and we might’ve met Mr. Tiwari there. But then, we were invited to dinner at his house at some point, and KK was our kind of, go between. So we went to dinner at KK’s, the Tiwari’s house, which was up on the top of the hill in Nainital at the school, cause he was the headmaster at that point of it was very prestigious school up there, and we had a very nice dinner and Tiwari was very charming, very happy that night. He loved Ram Dass very much. He was very attracted to Ram Dass, but the funny thing was that KK had said some things about Tiwari to us. He communicated that there was something about Tiwari that wasn’t right. You know, something was off. We felt that because KK had transmitted that to us about the way he had talked about him, and so that first visit was very nice. We had a great meal. Mrs. Tiwari was one of the greatest cooks that ever lived, on a little kerosene burner and a little fireplace, you know, a little fire.
But the rest of the time in India, that first trip, while Maharajji was alive in the body, we weren’t very close with him. But it was after Maharajji left the body, one of my Gurubhais became very close with Tiwari, got to know him more and some of them, I was already gone from India, so in the summer of ’73, that’s when they got to know him better. And after Maharajji left the body, they continued to be close with him, and then through that connection, I met Tiwari again, and I still had this attitude about him because of what KK had, originally when he introduced us to him. But there’s a funny story about that.
And so the story is this, that KK and Tiwari were also Gurubhais of another very great Saint named Brahmachari Maharaj who was believed to be the reincarnation of Sombari Baba. If any of you have read KK’s book, “Devbhoomi,” it’s an incredible book, incredible stories of the saints and especially Sombari Baba.
So is this getting too complicated? Anyway, so I got close to Tiwari anyway, because he was so kind to me and Mrs. Tiwari was so loving and sweet to me and they took me in and allowed me to live with them and stay with them as long as I wanted, and really they just adopted me, you know, and I really became like the the oldest son in the family. To this day, I’m called “KD Tau,” which means “brother’s, brother.” It means “uncle.”
So, some years later, it may be, was even like as late as, I don’t know, the late seventies, I was in the temple with the Tiwaris in Kainchi. We were staying in the temple and KK came. Now there’s a backstory. Okay. This? Great Saint, Brahmachari Maharaj, when he left the body, before he left the body, he gave a bunch of money to KK’s cousin, you could say, and with instruction that he should use that money to build a small temple to Shiva at this little orchard where KK had a kuti, a little cabin, and Brahmachari Maharaj used to stay at that place. He did a lot of sadhana out there, and he wanted a little lingam installed, a little small Shiva Temple built.
So, he gave the money to KK’s cousin and over the years, Tiwari was the eldest disciple of that guru. So, KK was always asking him to organize the building of the temple that their guru had asked to get built, and Tiwari was not doing it, and after a few years of trying to get Tiwari to do it, KK just lost his patience and got pissed off at Tiwari, and that’s why when we met to the first time, there was all this negativity. Okay?
So the thing is, why did Tiwari not do it? So here’s what happened. It turns out that KK’s cousin had given that money away to his sons and the money was gone. He had just pissed the money away. KK didn’t know that, but Tiwari knew that. But he didn’t want to tell KK because KK would be angry and hurt and furious, and so he didn’t tell KK all those years why he wasn’t going ahead and having the temple built, and he took the brunt of KK’s anger. So finally KK found out ,and he came to the temple, and he came into the room where we were and he was crying. And he kept saying to Tiwari, “Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you tell me?, Why didn’t you tell me you knew? All these years you knew and you didn’t tell me. Why?”
And Tiwari just said, “Would you have believed me?”
And of course, that’s when KK really broke down and cried, and in order to make up for his anger towards KK, he said, “I’m going to make halva for you.” You know? So he made this huge pot of sooji halva, and he brought it to us and we had to eat it, but he’d used so much ghee that we all had the shits for about a week.
This is how these people are. They’re so great. All these years, KK, Tiwari was willing to take the abuse so KK wouldn’t be hurt. So he wouldn’t be angry at his cousin, and it was only after his cousin died, that KK found out. Until then, Tiwari wouldn’t tell him. I mean, the humanity of these people is so extraordinary. I mean, we’re just like babies next to these people.
So yeah. So over the years I got very close with them and I could tell him anything, and I did tell him everything, but he always gave me the bottom line. He always chilled me out. He always showed me a bigger space to hold it in, no matter what I was going through. It was amazing. And he was such a great Yogi. He was extraordinary. I mean, whenever I was there, Ma would sleep with the kids and I would sleep in the same bed with Baba, with Tiwari. So, he’d get up at three in the morning, 3:30 in the morning, go piss, come back, sit in bed, cross his legs, boom. Gone. For four or five hours, until the house woke up and tea was prepared and, you know, then he would wake up and, you know, have his morning hot milk and read the paper. Not once in how many years? Not once in 22 or three years did he ever say to me, when he woke up, ” Would you like to meditate? You know, maybe you should sit up, you fucking asshole.”
Not a word. And I kick myself now. What I could have learned, what I could have experienced. I never said to him, “How do I meditate? Help me.”
All those years. God, I mean… but still, he loved me so much. He kept chiseling away, trying to get a little chip in there so he could slip in a little awareness, you know, and I wasn’t having any of it. Unbelievable. So what to do? Here we are.
Thank you for that. Thank you very much.
Okay. So we also have a question from someone who would like me to read the question to you. “Thank you for this opportunity. I would like to thank Krishna Das, for Maharaji came to me through Bernie’s Chalisa.” He has been like an an ambassador to Maharajji in the same way that Ram Dhut is to Raja Ram. I just wish to know how to find Maharaji’s love back. I live in fear that because of my impure life and thoughts, I may lose him forever, and that life would be like without his love. Basically, I feel I cannot live up to his expectation of me.”
I want you to save that question. Write it down somewhere and set a timer on your calendar and read it again in a year. Okay? Maharajji has no expectations for anybody because He knows, everything, not just who we are now, but who we’ve been and who we’re going to be, what we’ve done and what we’re going to do. He knows why we do the kind of things we do. And he’s already shining on us and ripening us so that we do less and less to hurt ourselves and more and more to save ourselves and others. The only expectations here are your own, and that’s a program that’s running, that’s put into us by our upbringing. The way our parents saw themselves is what we absorb, not how they see us. Yeah. That’s in there too, or how they treat us, that’s in there too, but more how they see themselves, how they go through the day, how they move through their lives is very much how we take a shape moving through our life.
So the self judging that you’re doing, this is what we do to ourselves. There’s no love. Love isn’t something you earn. It’s something that we are already, because he is love and he lives within us, and that love lives within us as who we are, but we don’t see it. We don’t know how to look for it. Most of us don’t even know that it’s there, but you know it’s there because you’ve already felt it, and as he says, “Once I take a hold of your hand, I never let go. Even when you let go of my hand.”
So it’s okay. Keep beating yourself up and keep believing that you’re a piece of shit and that you’ve done all these terrible impure things. Like nobody, you’re the only one in the world who’s ever done anything like that, by the way. All the rest of us, you know, we only live for the neck up. We don’t have sexual desires. We’re not greedy. We’re not full of anger and shame and grief and manipulation of other people for our own desires. No, you’re the only one like that. So, you know, when you’re tired of doing that to yourself, you’ll begin to stop doing that. Even believing those things about yourself, we all do that. That’s why we turn towards the great saints, why we turn towards the Dharma. That longing in our hearts is already, the longing, to be free, the longing to live in that love, that’s already grace. That’s already Maharajji reaching in and pulling you out of your shit. So just relax. Go with the flow and take it easy on yourself. You can’t make it go faster and you can’t slow it down. It’s already happening. There’s just no reason to keep giving yourself a hard time, except for the reasons you think you have to do that, but why do we believe those things?
Because we’re trained to believe those things. We’re born in a culture that only has those things, materialistic, Western culture. There’s no soul. There’s no reality. And even the people in Western culture who talk about God, most of them, you know, it’s a pity, they don’t even have a clue. What they’re talking about. They’re just glorified, egocentric, power tripping, manipulative, good and evil, judgmental minds. “God is love. Love is God,” he said, but we have to find that.
So get in touch with that longing that you have, that you feel. That longing is where the love is. That longing is not where the stories about yourself are.
My question, as a devotee of Hanuman and Ram, was there any meaning behind the choice of the first track on your first album being to Shiva?
Shiva? Hanuman is a form of Shiva. Hanuman is a form, is a manifestation of Shiva’s energy in order to be a part of Ram’s Lila and serve Ram. There are 11 Rudras, 11 faces of Shiva. The last face is a monkey face, and that is Hanuman. That’s where that energy comes from.
But that chant came from Mr. Tiwari and Maharajji, after Tiwari died. They just dropped it on me and there it was, and the chanting at the very beginning of that, Om Nama Shivaya, of that track, is Tiwari chanting the Shiva Puja up in the mountains in a place called Jageshwar,, which is a famous ancient Shiva Temple in the Kumaon Hills. And I recorded that and that, I put that in there first, and then the song starts after that few seconds of Tiwari chanting.
And that was the beginning of my, the real beginning of my chanting. The first CD was just a good try. There’s some nice things on it. It’s okay. But when I listened to it, I hear my mind. I hear me trying. That’s just me, not you, but I hear me trying. It’s from Pilgrim Heart on that I feel I was finally able to sing in a good way, sing the right way. But that’s just my judgmental mind.
So yeah, that’s all. And you know, really the old devotees of Maharajji worship him as Shiva. Tiwari worshipped him as Shiva. That’s the next level from which is projected into this world. So Shiva takes a form of Hanuman. Vishnu takes the form of Ram. The goddess takes the form of Sita. The shakti takes the form of Sita, and all the other beings take those forms in order to live out this drama, to eradicate negativity from the world.
That’s what an avatar manifests. That’s what allows an avatar to manifest, this intense darkness. So, I don’t get into , you know, who you like better? Vishnu or Shiva? I once said to Tiwari, I said, “Baba, who’s greater, Vishnu or Shiva?”
And he looked at me and he said, “My boy, how can you compare infinites?”
How can you compare infinites? They’re both infinite. How do you compare them? Infinity is infinity. They’re just the same thing. So this is all stuff. You know, just sing. It’s all, these are all the names of your own true nature, ultimately, because there’s only one in the whole universe. At least that’s what they say. Maybe someday we’ll know what that means, but that’s what they say. Anything else?
I spent a lot of time in Colorado over the last 10 years with Erin, the love of my life, who I love dearly, and she passed away in a Colorado hospital on the 15th of November, and I didn’t get a chance to be with her, and my heart was completely shattered. All our hopes and dreams have been ripped away from us. I loved her. She had a lot of health problems, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and many things. And she turned 70 this year. I’m 36, but inside we were the same age, you know? I loved to take care of her and to do things with her, and we watched old movies, and we used to watch the Andy Griffith show and all that. We just loved the same things, and now I’m just, I’m just devastated. I guess you probably covered this already, but I just wondered if you had any stories or any insights about grief and what to do with this?
Yeah. Even under the best circumstances, this kind of grief is, you can’t move it. You can’t think yourself out of it. And these circumstances, these days, when we’re locked up with our minds pretty much 24-7 makes dealing with anything very difficult, almost impossible. But you know, my dear friend, Bob Thurman always says, “There are no dead beings.” He yells at me, “No dead beings. Beings don’t die. They drop a body, when the work is finished, they take another one.” But because you and I are attached to who we think we are, it seems like somebody’s walked off the stage, you know, and left us here, and that’s a real feeling. We can’t up-level that. We can’t make it go away, but when we’re in that feeling of that person and missing that person, we’re missing the body. But the person is like right inside of us already at that moment. It’s almost like the virtual reality thing that we’re into these days, you know. So you and I are looking at this image of each other, but I can’t touch you. I can’t. And you could turn your screen off and I could still hear you talk. We’re in the space together.
So, but because we have our programs, man, you know, all our stuff, our hopes and dreams as you say, when we’re not getting what we thought, what we want, what we thought we were gonna, it hurts. But as the flame of those emotions slowly burn down, what’s left is the presence of that person. And the love does not go away. The love does not go anywhere. And the love is really who those people are. They’re not who we think they are. They’re not who we imagined them to be. Our dancing partners aren’t who we think they are. They are love. They are reality. They are being. And we’re all connected, always, and I know, so many of my dearest elders and friends have passed on in the last couple of years. It’s extraordinary. I miss them and it hurts, but I can’t deny that they’re here, also. I just don’t want to let myself feel that. I want to hold onto my, you know. What are you going to do?
You live through it. You’ve live through it. You keep breathing. And the intensity of the grief will go, will definitely become more transparent, and as that happens, the sting of the loss will lessen and you will remember the love more. And the love is what you want. Love is what we always want.
It’s hard for us to let ourselves be okay with things that we don’t want to be okay with. One time, Tiwari and Maharajji were up on the roof of this temple and all of a sudden, Maharajji just starts to dance around like this, you know, in ecstasy, and he says, “Oh… Died in this,” you know? And he was saying that this woman, this old lady that had taken care of him for many years and always brought him food, and had just died in some village, some place else, and he knew.
So Tiwari says to him, “You butcher, she’s, she served you for 40 years, and this is what you do. You dance when she dies?”
Maharaji just looked at him and said, “What? Do you want me to act like one of the puppets, like you?”
We’re all puppets here, man. You know, our stuff, all the strings that pull us around is our stuff, and what to do? It’ll get better. I guarantee. There’s no doubt. Just be with it as best you can and talk yourself down from the grief a little bit. And remember that you’re feeling them right now. They’re here with you right now. Not in a body. We can’t see it with our eyes. We can’t touch, but our hearts are touching that. We’re feeling them now, but we don’t, you know, we’re spoiled brats, you know. We want it the way we want it, and when we don’t get it the way we want it, we get pissed off and angry and that’s not going to help, but we can’t help it. What are we going to do? So be with all of it. But don’t deny that the love is still here, because the love will always be here. Even when your body is gone, the love will still be here. So, don’t push it away. We can’t do that. We have to live with it. It’s a gift in a way. The grief is a gift. The grief forces us to look deeper and be with the love that is there, and let go of the attachment to all that stuff around what we thought that person was, like you said, the hopes and dreams, you know. You know, be in the now, right here where we are, all those loves are together in our hearts, always. We’re all together with those beings that have passed on.
How many lives we’ve lived? How many people we’ve left behind? How many people we’ve met again and again? There’s this story of this Buddhist elder, one of the great elders, Maha Kashyapa. After the Buddha had left the body, he was like the elder. And he came out of the jungle one day with some of his disciples to beg for food. And as they approached this village, they stopped and the elder looks out and he smiles, and one of his disciples sees this and says, “Oh, great one,” you know, “an arhat doesn’t smile without a cause. What is the cause of this smile?”
These are the way Buddhists supposedly talk. So the elder says to look upon that scene. “Look upon that then tell me what you see.”
So the disciple looks out and he says, “Well,, you know, at the edge of the village, there’s this little hut, and out in front of the hut there’s the a few people. There’s this woman sitting on a chair, nursing, a baby, holding a piece of meat that she’s eating, and there’s a dog trying to get the meat and she’s kind of kicking the dog away, keeping the dog away from the meat.”
And the eldest says, ” Just so. In fact, that young woman is nursing her enemy, eating her mother and kicking her ex-husband, her former husband away to keep them away from the meat that she’s eating.”
In other words, we think we’re seeing reality. You know, you think you’re you. I think I’m me. You think she’s gone and you’re still here. They say that we’ve all taken so many births and been everything to everyone, which is why we should treat everyone well, because they’ve been our parents. They’ve been our lovers. They’ve been our friends, our brothers, our sisters, our enemies.
One time Maharajji was sitting around with some devotees, and one of them was a very old devotee of his, the sweetest of all the old devotees that I ever met, and he just casually, Maharajji just casually pointed to him one day and said, “Well, in our last birth, he was my enemy.”
What? You know, it’s like you can’t, it’s beyond processing with the mind. The play goes on. The characters keep changing.
When I was going to kill myself, my ex-girlfriend, my former girlfriend killed herself in America when I went to India, after I was in India, and then she came to see me at night, one night after she killed herself. So I was really devastated, and I was flipped out when she came to see me and I went running to Maharajji. So, anyway, it’s a long story. But after that happened, he started to tease me about getting married, and he said, “Oh, Krishna Das cried when his wife died, but he’ll be happy when he’s married again.”
And I was freaking out because what would happen is, there was a big group of people, I mean, 20, 30 people at the most, and, you know, people would kind of get together and start spending time together, the boys and the girls, and Maharajji would look at them and say, “Oh, you’re friends. They’re friends. Isn’t that nice? They’re friends now.”
And he’d pat them on the head. “Oh, your friends. That’s good.”
You know, a couple of days later he said, “Whoa, you’re good friends. They’re good friends. Wow. That’s great.” You know, pats them on the head.
A few days later, he taps him on the head and says, “Now you’re married. Go back to America. See your parents. Go.”
So I was totally dedicated to not getting sent away. So I was like this. I would not look at a woman. I would not get involved with anybody like that. I wanted to stay with him. And I saw that this was just a ticket to Palookaville if you got, you’re back to America, you know? So I don’t know where I was going with that, but oh yeah. So, so then he kept teasing me about getting married. And of course I was flipping out that he was trying to send me away and a few different things happened and I wound up actually having a complete nervous breakdown. I mean, full on hallucinations, out of my fucking mind. And one day, I was sitting in the back, in one of the rooms that we hung out during the day while he was in his room, and in the floor in front of me, this, this black Whirlpool, slow motion, charcoal, gray, black Whirlpool opened up in the floor in front of me and was like slow motion, you know, going around. And I was going down into it. And just before I would have I don’t know what, one of my Gurubhais came to the door and said, “Krishna Das.”
“Maharajji’s calling. He wants you to come right away.”
So, I got up and I went into the front of the temple and as I walked towards him, I completely broke down. I started weeping and I just basically fell into his lap and I just was weeping uncontrollably, and he was really quiet, which was unusual. He didn’t move. He didn’t say anything. He was completely still and little by little, I calmed down, and he started talking very quietly, which was also very unusual. He was always laughing and joking and teasing and throwing food all around. This was different. This was like he was talking, but it was my own inner voice talking. It was like he was talking inside and he said, “The soul is never born, never dies.” You can’t cut it. You can’t wet it. You can’t, you know, this is from the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Two, I think it is.
And then he looks at me and says, “What are you going to do? Jump in the river. You can’t kill yourself.” He said, “Worldly people don’t die.” He said, ” Only Jesus died the real death.”
What is he talking about?
He said, “Why? He never thought of himself.”
Thoughts of “me” never arose in that being. There was no agenda. He was one with God. There was no thought about himself. He gave his life for his people and he became immortal, but worldly people don’t die. The real death is the death of the ego. He said, “Someone dies and people crying and weeping and they don’t eat. They don’t do anything. But after a few days they’re eating and drinking again.” He said, “This world is the flow of attachment.”
One attachment replaces another attachment, one after the next and that’s this world. Samsara is the flow of attachment. And it looks at me and said, “The fruit of attachment is tears. And you’re reaping that fruit now.”
You know, as the man said, you reap what you sow. You reap what you sow. But attachment is not love. Then he says to me, He said, “You’ll be happy when you’re married again.” Meaning, you know, and I said, “Maharajji, I want to marry you.” And he just laughed at me. He said, “If you marry me, all you’ll get is love.”
You won’t get laid. I mean, come on, you know? So that’s the deal, man, you know. So it’s a big thing. You know, this life is a big thing. Even though we’re not seeing it, the big picture is right here where we are, you know, and we need a tremendous amount of courage to really stay with that, regardless of what the world tells us, you know, regardless of what our own emotions tell us, what our own stories tell us about ourselves and life. We need tremendous courage to even look for the big picture, to try to really be with that true awareness.
It’s a lifetime work. It’s not something that happens, you know, like this. You realize you’re in it. We’re in it. We don’t know how we got here. We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re going to do the best we can. That’s all we can do. We can’t do anymore.
Hi. My questions seem to have been answered by listening to everybody else, which is always the case. I did have one thing to say though, kind of a question. I feel like more as I get into the practices and I learn to, that my pain and my stuff, especially now going through COVID and everything that I’ve been going through, that it’s all about just being present. Right? So all of our practices that we do, it’s a way to escape being present. I mean, not our practices. When the mind is whirling, when we’re like, you know, being hard on ourselves and all that. So more and more, I learn how to be in my heart and to be in that, the heart is wide as the world, and I get in that space, whether I’m chanting or whatever it is that I’m doing, and it’s, I want, I feel like, like a need, like to share, right? Not necessarily with sangha people who also can understand that space, but when I’m trying in this world right now to, because I feel like I have some sort of a calling, because I can get into that space and it’s real for me and I want to share it, but what’s hard is I recoil because so many people, it’s hard for me to stand in that place that I see my teacher, you know, I see Ram Dass stood there. It was like unattached, you know, just giving the love, feeling, you know, darshan and all the teachings from him, but not, for me, I still feel like, everyone else’s negative energy. Like, that love is bull. You know, that’s not real, where you’re at. Like we have to fight about politics. We have to have different sides. So, I’m trying to stand in my heart and it’s easy when I’m alone, but I’m just saying, when I want to join, be out in the world and sometimes I feel the negativity coming back. Do you understand what I’m saying? Am I explaining it somewhat?
I do. You know, our job is to heal ourselves, because when we heal ourselves, we will experience directly the oneness of the world, that it’s all one. Your job is not to heal anybody else. You can’t save anybody else. All you can do is be. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink unless it’s thirsty. Unless somebody is ready to look at themselves or whatever, however you want to say it, those that feel that will know it. Those that don’t feel it won’t know it. So your job is just to be you and then do whatever you do. But you know, when I sing with people, I’m not trying to make anything happen for anybody else. I’m sharing my practice. My practice includes, that part of my practice includes other people. So they have their own experience and I have mine. I don’t have theirs and they don’t have mine. So there’s no agenda that you have to go out and save the world.
I know that’s not, I know that to be true, but I feel like I’ve been so healed and that it’s like, I don’t want to change other people, I just kind of want to share it and wherever it lands, it can land, you know? But I still, I mean, I’m sure when you’re at your kirtan, you know you probably feel like all everyone’s stuff, and then at the end, maybe it’s dissipated. But I just feel like sometimes I allow, I feel like it’s the right place to be, just coming from my heart because I feel like I’ve gotten so much, but I would kind of recoil when the world is, a lot of people aren’t coming from that place and I don’t want to fix them, but I just want to share.
Yeah. But that this is all ego stuff, you know. Let it go. You use the word “I” so many times in this last two minutes. You’re talking about yourself again. “I think more and more what I want to do, what I want to do. I want to do this. I want to do that.” Let it go. Be happy. And then everyone around you will feel that, and they’ll be attracted to that happiness and the vibration will help them. It’s not your job.
See, the fact that you’re you recoil at the negativity shows you how much “you” that is left. You recoiled into negativity. It hurts. It hurts me when you see people doing things that are just, don’t get me started. But you know? That’s our stuff. It’s not their stuff. They’re just being them, which they’re allowed to do. It’s not our job to change them. Our job is to love them, but love is letting a person be who they are. They’re already perfect. I get that. Love everyone as they are, not as you could make them into your image of what you want to be, what’s lovable.
But it’s so simple and I feel that, but I feel like people are like that’s, you know, cause I feel love is so much strength, and you know, I have a problem I guess.
Strength to what? Impose your will on somebody else?
No, no. It’s they impose it. They’re telling me, it’s I kind of allow them to tell me like, “That’s bullshit. Like you can’t be in that love amidst all this that’s going on.” Like you have to be in a fight.
Well, they’re right. They’re showing you. They’re telling you the truth. You’re not in that love. You’re losing it because you’re not in it, really. You have to go deeper, sweetie. That’s all there is to it. Love everyone as they are. Don’t try to tell them how to be so you can love them. They’re just being themselves.
I guess I just want them to feel the love that I feel. And I guess that’s just, I know, I hear you.
It’s not that. That’s coming from self protection. You’re protecting yourself. You want them to feel the love you feel so they don’t hurt you with their negativity. That’s your ego.
So they can be in love.
No. There’s nobody out there, Sweetie. It’s all your projection. All those people who are negative, that’s Maharaji showing you your own stuff. You don’t want to see it. You want to blame it on them. Go ahead. Blame it on them. But it’s not their fault.
Yeah, I just want, I feel like it’s simple. It’s a simple shift and I just don’t want, it’s not necessary for me to be in pain. I don’t think it’s, I don’t know. I know what you’re saying.
Calm yourself more and more. Let yourself calm down. Get over what you think it should be and be with it as it is, and you’ll see that you need to be wider. You need to look beyond their negativity, but you can’t see because that’s your negativity. Don’t you see that? Your judgmental mind.
I love them regardless of their, of it, but
Love is not something you do. It’s a space that you live in. It’s your true nature. When you’re finished being who you think you are, there’s only love. So, and in that love, all these people who you think are negative now are just bubbles of love. You don’t see. There’s nothing to react in you against negativity. You don’t see you and you don’t see them. There’s only one being and they’re cells of the same being.
So calm down. Part of this is that, in these crazy times, we get very pressurized. We can’t really let go. There’s a pressure. We feel we have to do something. We have to make something happen. We want to rearrange the world. Now, we can’t rearrange the COVID, we can’t rearrange a lot of stuff, but we still want to rearrange people, you know, the way we want them to be. We want them to play the role the way we’ve written it, not the way they’ve written it. And that’s a way we protect ourselves.
I just want to alleviate suffering, you know? I mean…
First alleviate your suffering.
I am, to some degree, but yeah.
No. Yes, to some degree. Yeah, maybe more than a few others, but it’s still all about “me.” We’re at this point.
Right? That’s okay. And it’s good to see this. I’m not attacking in any way. I just want you to understand that.
I hear you.
You know, the whole conversation with us is about “me” and “what they’re doing to me and what I don’t like about it and what I want for them” and all this stuff. And “I want them to feel the love I feel.” Maybe.
I hear you.
Yeah. Let them be, as soon as you stop trying to change them, you’ll be feeling very differently about yourself even. And…
I didn’t realize that I was still, I didn’t realize I was still kind of stuck in, I thought I had evolved from that, but I guess not. Like maybe even if it’s good intention. Yeah.
“I thought I’ve evolved from that.” Who said that? You know? Oh yeah. I thought I was God. Yes. “At 8: 23 in the morning, I thought I was God, but 8: 24. What was I thinking?”
Oh boy. Okay. Yeah.
Thank you. I just want to thank you again because it’s my birthday. Yesterday was was my birthday and for the last, I don’t know, six years I was on Maui with Ram Dass and you always for my birthday. So I felt like this is a, I’m on the retreat, so I came to Chat and Chai to kind of celebrate.
So you celebrated your birthday here for a bunch of abuse from me. That’s very nice. I appreciate that.
Obviously. Yeah, it’s good. I needed it. Food for thought.
That’s good. Yeah, that’s what we do. We stick our foot out and then Maharajji steps on it, you know? That’s good.
All good. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Hi. Nice to see you again. I wanted to share a story with you that shows my self-centeredness, but I was, I’ve been very moved by everything. It just feels like your heart is very open. It’s very moving. So I think I told you, I… Dudjom Rinpoche recognized me or whatever, he took me in, when I was a little, 1972, maybe ’73, in New York. He had just arrived. He’d been there a couple of weeks, and then my life was Dharma until I was 29, always around teachers, teachings, and I always thought, “I’ll marry a Rinpoche.” Of course I have to marry a Rinpoche. I have to. I mean, who, how can I marry like a normal guy or even, and I was a snot. I was like, and not even someone in the sangha, because they’re kind of annoying. Like, I was kind of backstage with you know.
I never liked sangha very much. I’m not really a group person. That’s embarrassing. I’m just not, I’m kind of a loner. So I, you know, I don’t know. Somehow they took me, I had tea. I was always with the Lamas and having tea with them. And they taught me how to cook with ginger and scallions, you know, Tibetan food and momos.
So then at one point, I was 29 and I thought, well, I should be getting married soon. And then I was having a relationship with Gesar, who’s Chogyam Trungpa’s younger son, the bad boy, and I thought, “This must be really good. This is perfect. So karmic.” You know, and then he dumped me.
And that wasn’t karmic. Right?
And Leonard Cohen had given his studio for us to, this crazy Terton had come into town. I forgot his name. He’s from the same…
Bhagavan Das, probably.
No, not Bhagavan Das, but I met him. He was wonderful. No, it wasn’t Ram Dass, it was, he was a Tibetan Terton. His fingers were chopped off. Oh, Tulku Tundop knows his name because they’re from the same small village. Anyways, they had tortured him and chopped off his fingers. And he was really wild. And I didn’t feel a connection with him, but I was still going and practicing every day. And my dad was sitting up in the front and practicing and that’s where Gesar would kind of come by to pick up chicks. And anyways, I forgot what my point was. Oh. So he wanted a break. So then Gyatrul Rinpoche came into town and they said, “Sanghye Khandro, you go with Sanghye Khandro and Gyatrul Rinpoche, and these other, and Penor Rinpoche’s coming and you’re going to go meet this Tibetan female Lama who’s been recognized by Penor Rinpoche, Jetsunma Akhan Lama.” Have you heard about her?
Yeah. So we go there and they say, “You should go in and meet her, have an audience with her.”
I was like, okay. So I go in, she says, ” Oh, wow. Oh, I’ve heard about you. And your, you came with them and blah, blah, blah. Your name is Uma.”
I said, “No, my name’s not Uma.”
And she said, “Oh, well, Bob Thurman’s daughter came through and her name is Uma. And you remind me of her.”
And I was like, “Well, that’s nice. Yeah, I know her, but I have a name from my, from Dudjom Rinpoche, and I’m not changing it.”
She was like, “Well, anyways, I know you want to get married. I know you want to marry a Rinpoche, but I think you should marry my son.”
So I’m like, okay, well let me check him out.
So she says, “Well, come for dinner.” And everyone’s like, “Oh my God, you’re,” you know, a huge sangha around this woman and we’re all there. And so I meet him and he’s beautiful. And he’s 23 years old and he’s cute. He smokes pot all the time. He’s constantly stoned. And I was like, I don’t like that. But we get together and I get pregnant and she’s like, “Oh my God.” And then everybody leaves town. It’s like the circus leaves town. And she says, will you stay. And I was like, I’ve got to get back to LA. Like I have a life there and that’s where my teacher is and my dad and I was working in the film business at the time and oh, he breaks up with me. I get pregnant and the son broke up with me and I was like, oh, I’m like, what?
And she’s like, ” Don’t worry about it. He’s just off his course. I’m your Lama.”
And I’m like, “I don’t know if you’re my Lama.”
And she’s “I’m your Lama. And you have to have this baby like this isn’t, you know, this is going to be a high incarnation.”
And I was like, oh my God. And he’s like, “I don’t want to be with you. I’m actually still in love with this Israeli girl.”
Anyways I leave and I’m devastated and I’m confused. And I’m so ashamed. Then they start calling me like 20 times a day. This is when we had answering machines, before cell phones. She says, “Well, you’re going to go to hell in this life and all future lives, you know that right? You’ve had the teaching since you were a little girl.”
And I was like, “Oh my God.”
She was like, “Just have the baby being given to us.”
And now, I wanted to marry someone in the Dharma, like a Rinpoche. This has been my path. Something’s wrong here. But I was so ashamed that I gave away all my dharmic stuff. Everything. I’d been doing practice every day since I was a little girl. I gave it all away to my dad. Don’t talk about Dharma around me. I lost my faith and I stopped talking to Sanghye Khandro, everybody. And 20 years later, I moved to Cambridge and I became a social worker, left Hollywood, was a vice-president of a studio, made a bunch of movies, had the money and that stuff and it was, didn’t make me happy, had an abortion. So I was like, “Okay, I’m fucked.”
Like on the outside things look good, but I’m fucked because I’m going to hell in this life and all future lives. And I can’t ever see my Buddhist friends again, because it’s, I’ve broken my vows. And and then I came to visit my mom and Tulku Tundop walks out of her building. And he’s, I was like, “Wait,, oh, you’re a Lama.”
And he says yes.
And I said, “I’ve read your books.”
And he was like, “Oh, have you studied the Dharma?”
And I was like, “I used to, but I don’t anymore.”
And he said, “Oh what’s been your…”
And I said, “Well, I took refuge with Dudjom Rinpoche,” and he was like, “huh?”
And I said, “But then I broke my vows, so I can’t be a Buddhist anymore.”
And he said, “You know what, there’s an apartment in this building. I think you should take it. And you’re going to study with me.”
So I moved in here. He’s upstairs. He’s actually, he’s leaving his body soon. Yeah. Yeah. He’s not yet, but he’s down to a hundred pounds and I’ve spent every Saturday for the last three, four years with him. And I told him what happened and I was just crying and he said, “I’m so sorry. I just,” and he said, “You’re mine.”
Yeah, that’s called real love. There’s no judging in real love.
And then he said, “Why don’t you call Gyatrul Rinpoche? He’s a little confused now, but he’s like 96. He’s still alive. He’s your teacher. Why don’t you call Sanghye Khandro? You know, she’s like your sister.” And then he said, “I’m going to call them.”
So Sanghye Khandro came to town a month later and Rinpoche’s son was, it was the death of Shenpen Dawa. So we went to the funeral and they said, oh you sit up front with Sanghye Khandro, and I was like, ” No, I can’t. I’m like a bad Buddhist.” And they were like, stop it. You’re not a bad Buddhist. So I’m sitting up there with the whole family and they said, “We remember you.” The sisters were there and the whole family.
Beautiful. Yeah, we just can’t stop judging ourselves, huh? Unbelievable. No matter how much love we get, we can’t stop judging ourselves. Like I say, over and over, it if we weren’t judging ourselves, not one place in the whole universe would there be any judgment of us? It’s just our own stuff over and over again.
Does Tulku Tundop have everything he needs? Are there people taking care of him?
His wife, who’s one of my best friends is taking care of him. She’s my age. And she’s been with him since she was 19. When she was studying at Harvard, he was teaching at the divinity school. And he’s now 82, I think. So, anyways, but he, I mean, he’s happy as a clam. He’s fine. Totally fine. We’re just like “ no, stay in your body.”
Yeah. That’s like Ramana Maharshi. They said, “Don’t leave us. Don’t leave us.”
He said, “Where can I go? I’m here.”
He just keeps getting smaller and smaller.
They have enough money?
Yeah, she teaches. She’s a lawyer and she teaches law.
Yeah. Beautiful. Thanks. Thanks for sharing that.
Yeah, I just thought I’d share. I was so touched by that, but how we can get off track you know, how and how not all, I mean, I don’t want to say anything bad about, it’s not about Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. I mean, of course I’d heard the teaching many times, like in old traditional teachings, you don’t commit suicide. You don’t kill a baby. You don’t do that.
Well, on the other hand, there’s a story about Nityananda, who was Muktananda’s Guru.
I remember Muktananda.
Yeah, well, his Guru was Nityananda, and he was really one of the great beings. One day, a car pulls up outside of his ashram, at his little temple, and this couple comes in and the woman’s carrying a newborn baby that had died, a dead baby. And they come up and they said, “Baba, please open his eyes.” You know?
So Nityananda takes his hand and he goes like this and the baby’s eyes open. Then he goes like this and the baby’s eyes close. And then he says, “Now take him away and bury him.”
So they leave. And one of his disciples says, “Baba, why didn’t you bring him back to life? You can do that.”
And he said, “Of course I can do that. But do you want to take responsibility? This soul took birth in this family three times, just so he could die in my presence.”
Oh, wow. Yeah.
” You go ask them what happened.”
And it turns out the woman had two miscarriages before this. And he said, “You want to take responsibility?”
Our arrogance in thinking we understand anything, that we can do anything for anyone, is so ridiculous. It’s so childish. It’s so sad. So we have to really expand a little bit, you know. So that baby took birth just so he didn’t have to stay here very long. He had that much work to do with you, and that his father, and all his ancestors, that’s all he needed to be here for this moment. So, any other story you tell yourself is your imagination. “Oh, they say this is bad and they should, you should never do this.” You don’t know that.
But you also say how you were influenced when you’re, when, what was your Indian father’s name?
Right. And someone cast a slight negative vibe on that. In the beginning, when you were told, “Oh, there’s something a little strange there.” How we’re influenced. I’m not. So when Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, this female, the first female, supposedly enlightened being that I met, who’s a Lama, says to me, you know, “You’re supposed to be my daughter and you were supposed to bring in the next great incarnation of a Buddha and you will be…
Yeah. That’s why we have to trust ourselves, because anybody out there could tell us any fucking thing they want to control us. They don’t believe it, but they want you to believe it. So they get what they want.
This is the part of the story I didn’t tell you.. So Sanghye Khandro comes to town. She gets my phone number. She calls me and says, ” Where have you been for 20 years?”
And I said...
“I’ve been living in hell.”
I said, basically, “I’ve been living in fucking hell. I broke all my Buddhist vows. I haven’t been able to see you or any of my teachers.”
And she said, “Well, didn’t you know that Penor Rinpoche dethroned Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo?”
And I was like, “No.”
And then she said, ” What did she tell you that you’ve been, why did you leave us?”
And I’m like, “Well, because I got pregnant and had an abortion.”
And she’s ” Oh, why didn’t you come to talk to us?”
Because of your own programs. Yeah. So maybe now you’ve finished doing that to yourself.
I hope so.
I hope so, too. All right. Take good care of, huh?
I have a question, do you have recommendations to calm the mind in personal and professional moments that cause a lot of anxiety?
Everything we’re talking about is, we’re talking about just that. Every word that’s been spoken in the last two hours is about how to do that and why we learn how to do that, how to recognize how to do that.
For me, the chanting practice is one of the most powerful tools that I have, but it’s not a button that you push and then it makes all the anxiety go away. It’s something you add to your life that over time ripens and deepens and allows you to gain some vote over how you go through the day.
See, in those moments when you’re freaking, there’s very little, you can do, especially for us who are beginners on the path. We have no understanding, no ability really to change the way we go through our day very much, except a little bit at a time, but one thing you can do is just, for a second you know, if you’re at work, going to the bathroom and sit down on the toilet, take a couple of deep breaths and just let everything go through you, roll off you like rain over the body. Just let it drip off of you for just a second, and then go back and get stupid again, because you won’t be able to hold on to it. But that effort you make for one second to release it all is very powerful, and that will deepen as time goes on. But no, there’s no button to push that makes it all change right now. One must start to learn about what the spiritual path is about, what life is about, and get with the program just a little, so that over time, these practices really have a positive effect on you and change the way you go through your day, change the way we react, change the way we lash out, change the way we hide, change the way we try to manipulate other people to make it all okay for ourselves.
So it’s just, it’s little by little we have to learn how to do that. But we should always remember that the only reason we can learn how to do that is that inside we are already perfectly okay as we are. And there’s no doubt about that. We don’t think so, but that’s okay because in here we are already perfectly okay as we are, and nothing we could do can change that in any way, ever. So, it’s a question of finding out how to uncover that place within ourselves again and again and again, until it becomes natural for us to be in that place.
Thank you. The last time I was here, I shared about some insight that I have recently garnered from my past, and so it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been together. Basically the process that I’m going through right now is I’m having a very stark, very eyeopening experience where I’m actually seeing the patterning that was put the, how, the experiences that I went through through my childhood, and honestly for the last 30 years have created so much of my self-talk, and the patterns that I had continued to tell myself that I wanted to outgrow. And so much of that patterning was stuff that I felt was out of my control, but I continued to seek and ask, and really what ended up happening, it was just so strong and so, just so powerful and so monumental in my life, and I think I will look back on it for, I mean, the rest of my life, probably as a turning point, as a switch that was flipped. It felt like a lightning bolt. It felt so illuminating. It was such an experience that, you know, and even in the moment that experience was so, it was actually a bit of a volatile experience. But it was also the last straw. And it got me to that point where I, after 30 years of what I’m now coming to realize was living under the abuse of a narcissist, it just, it threw me right over the edge finally. I just could not take it any longer. And then this, kind of this monster came out of me. And, you know, even that experience, it created some shame and some real, I was just like, “Wow, that doesn’t feel like me.” It was very uncharacteristic. However since then, and even honestly, during the, you know, the processing of that experience, I knew exactly where it came from. But its obviously left in its wake a situation where I’m sitting with and processing, and it’s kind of interesting because, you know, we talk about, and I’m listening that, you know, people are perfect as they are, and people are love. And as a person that, you know, embraces love and I attempt to shine my light as brightly as possible and continue to do that, even for that person for the last 30 years, I’m at this spot now where my mother is tied to this person, and my mother is my best friend. And so I continued to play the part and the role of, you know, the best daughter that I could be and always wanting to be the people pleaser and always wanting to kind of stuff the scenarios that were harmful or hurtful, or even when there was justification about why those things were okay.
For example, I was molested by my stepfather’s best friend and when my mother found out 10 years later, they continued to be friends with him and they are to this day. So that’s just one example. And so I was kind of made to feel like I had to deal with that, you know, and had to be… My mom’s motto has always been about letting go and of the past and not holding onto the things that are hurtful, and so that’s what I attempted to do, especially because it was a relationship that I cherish, you know. She’s my person.
So since this lightning bolt situation happened with my stepfather, after he pointed a can of WD 40 at me, and I unleashed my self upon him, a wall came down between my mom and I, an energetic wall. And it was completely not ever anything that I would have expected. And so now I’m sifting and sorting. And part of that sifting and sorting has been realizing the truths, my truths, realizing that those experiences are the experiences that created the voice in my head. And I’m realizing that I no longer want to attach myself to those stories, but also realizing that I am attached to those people, especially my mom, and she’s attached to him. So I recently had the opportunity to, she was open to having some voice clips, because I mean, she’s missing me terribly. And so I sent her some voice clips and I did tell her from the start that it was my intention to come across with kindness and compassion and, you know, and it’s always my default to feel like I want to protect her and to please her.
And so it was an odd position for me to be in because that’s my default, but I’m also at this spot where I really feel that I, my truth must be told, like how these situations, a number of them, have created who I am and how I have, I mean, honestly, I’ve struggled so much with depression and pain and chronic, you know, illnesses and things like that. And I’ve been seeking answers, like, why? Where’s this coming from? How do I move beyond this? And so you know, I’m now to this point where I feel like I’m having some answers about realizing these things have played such a huge part in who I am. So I guess the, kind of, the part where I’m at right now is like, how much of that is, you know, ego based? Like how much of that, of her needing to hear me and for me to feel validated, how much is that, is ego based? Versus loving her, you know, unconditionally for who she is? And I mean, I know for one thing, he’s not going to change. He personally is not going to change. And I don’t think that’s a relationship that I want to continue to try with because I have and it’s never met with anything except for ugliness, honestly, right, discussed, you know, kind of told her the things that had played into me. Then there’s this little tinge of, I want to honor, you know, my process and where I’m at, but then there’s this little spot where I’m like, well, how much of that really needs to be out there, you know? But it’s out there now. So that’s where we’re at.
Listen. This is a really, this is very deep and complex stuff. Really. This is a situation that, it took a lifetime to get to this place and it’ll take a while to unravel itself. If I might make a suggestion , it would be very useful for you to find a counselor who’s really good at this kind of stuff. And there are people who are just phenomenally gifted in helping us work with these type of situations exactly, and that would really help you a lot, because you have a lot of processing to do, and there’s a lot of your relationship with your mother and your relationship with her husband, and really deep stuff there.
And it’s something you’re going to need help with over time. I really feel that. It’s going to be very difficult for you to really unravel this by yourself. Really. If you can find a way to find a counselor or a therapist that really specializes in helping these situations unravel, and there are people like that who are really good, and that’s, that would be the best thing you could do for yourself at this point. And if it’s the best thing you can do for yourself, it’s also the best you can do for your mother. So for the whole situation to release all this energy that’s locked in the emotional programs that are that are intertwined here, really it’s something that’s going to take time, but you see, you have the courage to deal with it, now you just need the tools. And I don’t have those tools, but there are people who really do have those tools, and I would suggest you try to find somebody, because you’ll be so happy that you did. To talk to somebody who really knows how to help you unravel, I mean, it’s a gift that some people really have.
So take your time and look around for somebody like that and I think that’s the best thing you can do, to add that to whatever processing you’re doing. Okay?
Yeah. It makes good sense. Yes. And in the meantime, I will continue to chant and, you know participate with all of these cool events. There’s so many that we can find online. And I mean, so cool. That’s I mean, this COVID thing, if nothing else, it opened up world, you know, we can intervene with so many other people and so many resources are out there.
Definitely. Definitely. Yeah.
Okay. So that’s it for today. Thanks so much to everybody for coming. And I really appreciate the way that we, all this opening up and the sharing of our stuff really helps everybody, because we all have the same stuff in one form or another. We’re all trying to find out what’s going on with us and find our find that love that lives within us and we all have the same issues, so it’s really useful to talk like this, and so I wish you all the best. Take good care. Be safe. Be safe. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Hide yourself in the bathroom. Don’t do anything. Okay. Much love. Bye bye. Ram Ram.