Call and Response Ep. 29 The Evaluative Mind, Grace, Dada Mukerjee
“I said to Siddhi Ma, I said, ‘Ma, Maharajji said He has the keys to the mind, so to me that means that I am where He puts me, where He wants me to be. So, Ma, is it grace? In other words, is it His doing, or is it my effort that’s important? What’s the deal?’ So, She said, ‘Krishna Das, it’s all grace but you have to act like it isn’t.’ Which is very far out. It’s a done deal. None of this is happening. It just looks like it’s happening. But because we believe it, we have choices to make, we have practices to do. We have karmas to perform because everything is a karma. Every thought is a karma. So, you want to create the karmas that will bring the goodness into your life and into the life of other people around you also, since everything you do creates some kind of karma. Let’s at least try to create some happiness for ourselves with our actions and others. – Krishna Das
Q: I have a long time- very consistent and super crappy meditation practice that is really consistent.
KD: Terrific. And on top of that, you have a long-term crappy evaluative mind.
Q: So, the idea of aiming at a true life and aiming at my true self I’ve been doing for quite a few years.
KD: Where’s the target?
Q: This is my question. I just want to know, the first time that I heard you sing, I couldn’t stop crying. I felt…
KD: That bad, huh?
Q: That bad. The commonality of the broken heart was just unspeakable and you know, in my unspeakably crappy practice, I just wonder if there’s anything you can say about, I mean the side effects are worth it. You know, the side effects of the practice are certainly worth it. But aiming at the true self, or what you’re seeking, anything you can say.
KD: Where are you aiming? It’s everywhere. It’s you. There’s nothing to aim at. Just be there in your crappy meditation. And as soon as you’re not trying to get somewhere, it won’t be so crappy. Notice all that stuff. It’s the noticing of it all. There’s nothing to do. There’s nothing to accomplish. It happened already. We’re here. Now let’s figure out what this is. Or let’s experience, find a way to experience what this is. It’s not like you’re going to be somebody else when you figure it out. You’re already who you are. That’s enough. So, instead, I don’t know what particular crappy meditation practice you’re doing, but whatever it is, you simply come back to your object of concentration. It’s very difficult to do Nam, to do a meditation practice without concentration at first. You first have to be able to kind of calm your mind and your breath a little bit before you can kind of expand your awareness, so to speak. So you have to develop a little bit of the ability to come back from Neverland, well, not that place. From Dreamland, ok? That’s all. So when you do that crappy practice, just sit there and when you notice that you’re just lost in thinking how crappy this is, give the thought back and come back to the breath or the mantra, whatever you’re using for you anchor. You can use anything for an anchor.
Q: For a very long time, my anchor has been just simple mindfulness and breathing and mindfulness of the body and sometimes it’s very scattered and sometimes it’s very focused and I watch whatever it is, but what I think the disconnect that I feel at the moment is so I notice this, I feel more connected, I feel less connected, the mind settles, the mind doesn’t settle, I pay attention to this, I come back to the breath. But the idea that this, in some way, leads to knowing who I truly am or what I truly am, this is where I feel the disconnect.
KD: The idea that what you’re doing will lead you to yourself, you’re feeling, I don’t understand…
Q: So, the practice is quite, seems quite settled. On some days, the mind settles quietly and it’s what I’d like to call a good sit. And sometimes the mind is all over the place, a slightly less satisfying sit, I do it anyways. The side effects of this are calmer mind, behaving better, feeling less prone to serious damage to myself, you know, that kind of thing. This is all very worthwhile. But the idea of knowing who I am…
KD: You don’t know. When a kid is playing out in the yard, it’s just playing. He’s not like, wow, I’m really playing now, aren’t I? You don’t know. There’s one to know anything at that point. There’s just Being. You’re trying to control that. You’re trying… you’ve got some vision of, some idea of what it’s going to be and you’re trying to manifest that. It couldn’t’ be that. Just relax. Take it easy. Watch your breath and allow the breath to calm itself. When you leave it alone, it will calm down. It’ll slow down. It’ll deepen. And if you want to be mindful of that, that’s good. But it’s not, it’s not something to accomplish. You’re trying too hard, you know? That’s just, that’s your stuff. Trying too hard, you know? So, ok, so I’ll tell you this little story, so in the 1800s there was a great saint in India named Ramakrishna. You might have heard of Him. Very famous these days. And He talked about how the practice of the repetition of the Name, how that works. So he said that every single repetition of one of these Names is a seed. Ok? A seed. Just like a huge tree can be in a seed. It has the potential of that tree. The energy of that huge tree is in a tiny little seed, for instance, right?
So, every repetition of one of these names is a seed in the same way. And He said, so the seeds of the repetition of the Name are thrown out into the wind every time we repeat and some of those seeds are carried by the wind onto the roof of an old house in the jungle. And they get caught in the tiles between the tiles on the roof of this old house. And over time and seasons and wind and rain and snow and sun, the tiles start to get softer. They break down. And at that point, the seeds of the repetition of the Name take root and they start to grow. And they destroy the roof of the house and they keep growing and they destroy the walls of the house. They destroy the whole house. The seeds of the repetition of the Name start growing and they destroy the roof and the walls of this house. He says, “That house is who you think you are.” All the stuff. Who are you? How would we know? You’re a conglomeration of thoughts about it… that’s about it on that level and so, the seeds of the repetition of the Name destroy that house and the house is a temporary structure created for a reason, in other words, karmic reason, created a house and inside the house and outside the house it separates the inside from the outside. Just like you’re sitting here in your body, the same way she’s sitting there in her body. It’s two bodies and two spaces that are not apparently together. Not apparently the same. But when the house is destroyed, when the sense of a separate self, a temporary structure like a house is destroyed, there’s only open space. And there’s no one Being in the open space. There’s just presence, Being. And you’re freed from the constriction or the belief that you’re a separate Being around which all your stuff orbits. Your shame, your fear, your guilt, your selfishness, all that stuff. Gone. It goes around and orbits around somebody else. Because there’s no planet of Me any more. It’s been, the house has been destroyed. The house is temporary. Me is temporary. I hate to tell you. That Me is going to die with this body and a new Me is going to be created from your karmic package with the next body. That’s what they say. I don’t know personally, but that’s what they say. And that’s what I say when I don’t know what I’m talking about. So take it easy.
Q: I guess I’ll keep sitting. Thank you.
KD: Good idea. Or not. Good to keep sitting. It’s good. But don’t try so hard. Just sit there and be there. But you’re there whether you’re aware of it or not. So, the deal is to try to become aware of being there. For that, I would, it seems to me that I would find an object of awareness, an object of concentration that you can stay with that will keep bringing you back. I think the mindful is a little bit too amorphous for a lot of us. It’s too subtle. Now if you would go, sometimes you can go to these retreats, you know, a week long, ten days, meditation retreats, either Vipashan or Loving Kindness where you get a serious dose of it. You get a, it deepens your understanding of it or your experience of it and then you can take that back home where it will gradually dissipate completely, so then you go back again. But you need to find more deeper, you need to find a way to deepen what you’re doing. I mean, you don’t have to but when the longing is strong enough, you’ll be forced to. So, see how it feels.
Q: I just wanted to express some gratitude to you. My father passed away about three years ago of ALS and he was really scared of dying. He had no spiritual connection and he got really sick and tired of everybody telling him to meditate and to manage his pain. He was like, “I’ll do it if I want to” And one day, he was in the VA and I brought some Krishna Das and I said, “Just listen,” and we sat there and his hospital bed and we had the most beautiful moment, just holding hands and we both went to a place together and he listened to the music nonstop until he passed pretty much.
Q: I arrived to the house maybe an hour or so after he passed and his wife, you know, said he passed listening to Krishna Das, his favorite, which you played at the beginning. Sita Ram Sita Ram. And I could tell there was still a light coming out of his body the way like you turn off a light bulb and the filament’s still glowing a little bit and I just wanted to express that gratitude.
KD: That’s so sweet.
Q: Thank you.
KD: Thank you.
Q: Hello I just want to say thank you. I encountered you in Canada on a road trip with one of my best friends who is very fond of you back in September. I have never seen you. This is the first time I’m actually seeing you.
KD: Yeah? What do you see? Just kidding.
Q: I am actually, you know you are way better in person.
KD: The before and after pictures. This is the Beyond The After.
Q: So, I’m very very happy again because I never even heard your name prior to last September.
KD: You’re lucky.
Q: On this road trip, my friend said, I think you’re going to like his music. So, she played one of your cds and immediately when I heard your voice, I knew your voice before. I knew you before. And I feel my heart lead out and again, this was a CD, I’d never even seen your face before and I just heard your voice and I knew your voice. So ever since, I play you regularly, even at work I hear you. Can you imagine? So, I’m very very happy to be here, also because I never knew who Neem Karoli Baba was.
KD: I still don’t. But anyhow. Go ahead.
Q: I met him. I encountered him through you.
Q; Recently. And also, I love him, that’s all I can say. I don’t know how to express how I feel for Neem Karoli Baba but I love Him and I want to tell you that I love you, too.
KD: Thank you.
Q: And again, I just met you or encountered you in September from my girlfriend and it’s, I don’t know how to sing along, I don’t know none of that…
Q: All I know is that I’m very very happy that I encounter you again because I know I met you again sometime before. But
KD: Thank you thank you thank you.
Q: You’re so so beautiful.
KD: ok. You’re killing me!
Q: And also I brought some flowers for Neem Karoli Baba.
KD: I’m sure He’ll like them. Thank you.
Q: So you can give them to Him.
KD: Ok. You give them to Him. Why do I have to give them to Him for? Thank you so much. They’re beautiful. You know, there was, Maharajji had a great devotee named Dada and if you want to read this, there’s a book called By His Grace. By His Grace is the name of a book and it’s Dada’s book and it’s a beautiful book. A beautiful book. So, and after Maharajji left the body, we used to spend a lot of time at Dada’s house in India and he would just be talking about Maharajji all the time. So one day he looks, one day, I must have been reverencing him a little bit too much for his own comfort, right? So he said to me, “Krishna Das,” he said, “Ok, maybe I’m a step ahead of you. Maybe you’re a step ahead of somebody else,” he said, “but we’re all on this side. On this shore. Only He’s gone beyond. We’re all on the same shore. The other shore,” so to speak, is enlightenment, being, truth. We’re just all slogging around together. It’s ok. It’s all grace. It’s all grace.
I once asked Siddhi Ma, you know Maharajji, He used to say, “I have the keys to the mind,” and He’d look at us and say, “I could turn your minds again me.” “No don’t do that! don’t do that!’
He laugh. “I could do” “No Baba don’t do that”
So, I said to Siddhi Ma, I said, “Ma, Maharajji said He has the keys to the mind, so to me that means that I am where He puts me, where He wants me to be. So, Ma, is it grace? In other words, is it His doing, or is it my effort that’s important? What’s the deal?” So, She said, “Krishna Das, it’s all grace but you have to act like it isn’t.” Which is very far out. It’s a done deal. None of this is happening. It just looks like it’s happening. But because we believe it, we have choices to make, we have practices to do. We have karmas to perform because everything is a karma. Every thought is a karma. So, you want to create the karmas that will bring the goodness into your life and into the life of other people around you also, since everything you do creates some kind of karma. Let’s at least try to create some happiness for ourselves with our actions and others. So, Dada was too far out. These old guys were amazing.
He had… His story was, he was a communist economics professor in England, in India, and he had a group of friends and they would get together and smoke cigarettes and drink tea and tell stories and all this stuff. But they’re very worldly, so-called worldly people, not interested in any spiritual… and Dada was completely against any spiritual stuff. So one day, he sees his wife and his aunt leaving the house. He said, “Where are you going?” She said, “Well, right across the street there’s that little house, a tiny little mud house and we heard that there’s this Baba that goes there every once in a while, so we’ve been waiting to meet Him and we heard He’s there so we’re going to go over and see Him.” “Good, go on. Good. Have a good time. Bye.” So two minutes later, they come back and Dada said, “What’s wrong? Why are you back so soon?” And his wife says, “Well, we walked into the house and before I could even bow to the Baba, he said, He called me by my name, ‘Kamala’ he said ‘Kamala, go back home, your husband’s friends are waiting for their tea.’ She said “He called me by my name but I couldn’t even believe it so I sat down, and then two seconds later He said Nay, Kamala go home. Tomorrow. Come back tomorrow. Go” So she had to leave. So now Dada got interested. So the next day, he went over with his wife. They walked into this little house and it’s very dark in there, they could hardly see the Baba sitting on this cot and Dada walks in, the Baba gets up, he grabs Dada’s arm, his hand, and He starts walking across the street to Dada’s house, dragging Dada along, and He looks at Dada and says, “From now on, I’ll be staying with you.” Now just imagine, you pull up to the stop and shop or something like that and this homeless guy says, “Hey,” gets in your car, “from now on I’ll be staying with you.” I don’t think so. Well, the thing about Dada was that he had a very interesting karmic situation. So they walked across the street into Dada’s house and Maharajji sits down on the cot and some people come over from the other house and some ladies start preparing some food, prasad and cutting up fruit and more people started arriving and that’s how Dada became a devotee.
“From now on I’ll be staying with you.” Excuse me?
He was something. He was incredible.