Call and Response Ep. 35 Too Little Too Much, Violence and Compassion
I’m searching for understanding of how someone can be on this earth and literally be so unloved that he could walk in and kill people in a yoga studio and take his life. How can we make sure people feel the love that we feel in here?
“Don’t try to make it ok. It’s not ok. Eventually it won’t hurt so much. That doesn’t mean you’ll have figured it out. It just won’t hurt so much.” – Krishna Das
Q: This morning was very profound and I was able, I was really able to feel unconditional love.
KD: I’m sorry to hear that.
Q: I know, right? For like, every being in the universe and I just felt very expansive and then when we got ready to go to lunch, I stood up and I’m like, oh I have to use my legs? Like, all right. And then I just, I was physically shaking like, vibrating, but then I was physically shaking out of fear. So, I’ve really been letting myself be gentle and process.
KD: So, the thing you left out in all beings was yourself, right?
Q: Yeah, and I had shared with you last night so much that is coming from my family. I was raised southern Baptist evangelical and when I came out of the womb was pretty much told I was a wretched sinner. You needed the Lord and that never resonated with me, and my dad actually reminded me, in the middle of an argument, how when I was little I actually came to him and asked him if we could pray for the devil because I only felt love for whoever this being was, I was told. And I thanked him for reminding me of that, because it gave me validation that I am who I know I am and it’s been a really troubling year. This Sunday is my niece’s birthday and I don’t feel safe calling so I have mailed both her and my nephew cards and I’m just going to keep being who I am, but it’s been really challenging, at times, being in my body.
Thank you for the space you create. It’s really beautiful.
KD: Well, we all have our own, each one of us has our own storyline about why we are who we think we are and the beauty of practice is that, as time goes on, less energy is stuck in those belief systems. That’s not something rip off and just throw away and forget because, we’re made up of all that stuff, you know? And without doing some practice, there’s really, we won’t ever get a vote as to how we go through our day. Right now, most of us are on automatic, you know? We’ve been programmed by our lives and we don’t get much vote about how we meet different situations. And the only time that we’ll ever, the only time that there’s a possibility to get a vote is as things arise. But we don’t get a vote as to what arises. We only can get a vote as to how we meet those situations. And right now, usually the wave crashes over us and we don’t even realize we’ve been hit by it until we wake up on the shore and then, you know. So, that’s why they say, do practice when you can. When you remember. Because those seeds that you plant, that we plant in our quiet time, so to speak, those seeds continue to grow through the rest of our lives and most of the real change is off the radar. But we want to know now. So, and that’s just more ego bullshit, you know? Because we want to feel the way we feel. We want to feel good. We don’t want to feel bad. And that’s already too bad. But that’s where we find ourselves. We want pleasure and we don’t want pain. We want pleasant circumstances and we don’t want unhappy circumstances, so we’re screwed.
The great, the third patriarch of Zen, Chinese patriarch of Zen, wrote a beautiful sutra called the “trust in the heart sutra,” which I stole for one of my, the name, the title, I stole for one of my CDs. He said it was ok. And the first line, “The great way is not difficult for those with no preferences.” Oh. Ok can I try the not so great way? You know? But really that’s our whole thing. Maharajji used to, many times, he would sit there and he would go, He would just repeat, over and over, like for hours, “too little too little too much too much too much too little too little too much too much too little too little too much” so one devotee said, “Baba what are you doing?” He said, “This is what your minds are doing all the time. Too little too little too much too much too little too little too much too much.” That’s what we do all day long. All lifelong. This is too little. This is not enough. This is too much. You know? That’s the deal. That’s where we live. And, you know, it goes down into the deepest emotional level. We don’t like what we feel. We don’t like what we feel about ourselves. That’s too little, too little or too much, too much. You know? So, the only way to even begin to become more comfortable in our own skin as we are is to do some practice. Because practice is what trains us to let go of those obsessive endless flows of thought that we are at the mercy of most of the time. You know, you can’t, when you’re lost in thought, there’s nothing you can do. When you’re lost in an emotion or completely immersed in a feeling, that’s it, you’re immersed. At that point, it’s, there’s nothing you can do except ride it out. And then when it passes, you notice what just happened, like when we were chanting. So, you’re singing “sri ram jai ram jai jai ram” “this is so great, sri ram jai ram jai jai ram” half an hour later you go, “Oh, I was chanting. What happened? I’ve just been writing the shopping list for the next three years.” You know. But you didn’t notice while you were writing the shopping list that you weren’t paying attention to the chanting, and then you came back and you noticed. So, you can’t make that moment happen where you wake up again when you’re asleep. But when you wake up again, then you notice that, and you re-enter the chanting again with more awareness. You know, you don’t have to chant like, “sri ram jai ram jai jai ram”, you’re trying to make yourself feel something, you know? That’s, it’s, it doesn’t work that way. You repeat the Names; you’re planting these seeds. Every repetition of the Name is a seed. And just like a seed has, a tiny little seed has a whole tree in it. Right? But you don’t see that at first, but you plant the seed, because somebody said if you plant this a tree will grow. So, the same saints say that planting these seeds of the Names of God, which is not something else, or something other than who and what we already are, we’re not planting seeds for a forest somewhere else. We’re planting the seeds that will grow within us and as those awarenesses within us grow we begin to see ourselves differently and we are less threatened by things that were painful in our lives and we’re more open about our issues and our, more awareness of what’s going on in there.
KD: Hi. That’s you.
Q: You said something yesterday that I
KD: Don’t hold me to it, that was yesterday.
Q: Yeah, well I had a question about it. When you said that you had visited Auschwitz and that like, if you had grown up there, you could have been a guard in the concentration camp.
KD: Yeah. You want to argue with me about that?
Q: Yeah. I do.
KD: How could you possibly argue with me about my own awareness. What you could say is that if you had grown up there that you wouldn’t be like that.
Q: No, I just wanted to make it more general which is that… yeah, I can say this…
KD: Yes, you can.
Q: There were Germans that hid Jews in their house.
Q: And they risked everything to hide the Jews rather than go along with the party line.
Q: And in this country, after 911 and for some years, you know, there was, there were a whole large group of people saying we shouldn’t let Muslims into this country. We should to this to Muslims and that to Muslims and there was a lot of other people that said, no you can’t hold them responsible for what a few people did. So, I guess what I’m saying is, there are, not everybody jumps in and I don’t think you would have.
KD: Yeah. I totally agree with that. Yeah. Sure. But I was simply saying that I didn’t feel that I was any intrinsically better than anybody else. I wasn’t, inwardly I’m no different than one of those guards. I’m a human being who’s programmed by their lives and by their karmic predicament and if I had been born in the place of one of those guards, I couldn’t see that I would do anything differently. That’s all I was saying.
Q: I guess you don’t know.
KD: You don’t know, but that was my feeling. Yeah. Because the idea was that, no one person is better. No one’s soul is more beautiful than another soul. All souls are equally beautiful.
Q: You don’t feel that some souls are more evolved?
KD: That’s different. Evolved is not, I’m talking about basic, the basic nature, Buddha nature is the same in everybody. The soul is the same in everybody. Some, you might think are possibly older souls who have done more work on themselves for whatever reason but that doesn’t mean that they’re any more God than you are or I am, they just have more awareness because they’ve done practice or something like that. But every reflection, the moon is reflected equally in all different ponds and lakes. It looks just the same. Even if the water’s dirty. It’s reflected the same. The moon, the beauty is the same in every reflection. So, it’s a question of what we do with that. That’s all I was saying. But yeah, there were many Germans who risked more than their lives. Their lives and their families’ lives to help other people, sure. There’s always people like that.
Q: Well that’s what I was thinking.
KD: yeah but I wouldn’t have been one of them.
Q: You’re selling yourself short.
KD: How do you know? I appreciate you saying that, but you don’t know. I don’t know either, so we’re both in the same boat. The not-knowing boat.
Q: I was terrified to come here, to make this trip, a new terror in me. But I’m here and I’m really happy to be here. Interesting conversation you guys were just having. I own the yoga studio that had the man walk in and shoot and kill two people.
Q: I’m terrified to say that. And look, the irony of what I’ve done is I’ve been creating a blockage, so, sorry I haven’t been friendly by the way. I’m usually very friendly. But I have spent a lot of sick time being in his shoes and trying to find compassion. Because bhakti right now is literally all I can do because I’m searching for understanding of how someone can be on this earth and literally be so unloved, that he could walk in and kill people in a yoga studio and take his life. How can we make sure people feel the love that we feel in here? I’m just, I’m completely fucking lost in this world right now. But I mean he has videos where he was saying, he literally said, amidst some horrible, horrible things, he said, “I could just use come companionship.” The world doesn’t know that about him I don’t think. But he literally was aching and hurting so bad that he literally just said, “I could use companionship and friends.” How can someone be in this world and be that shut off? I mean, I hate him, also. I mean it’s heartbreaking.
KD: Well, this world is this world. It’s not heaven.
Q: I know.
KD: It’s this world. And every day shit like that happens everywhere.
Q: Yeah. Sick.
KD: It’s sick. It’s also human, you know? This is who, human beings are whole array of stuff. You know? A whole schmear.
Q: I keep thinking, if he had just taken the yoga class, what if that, I mean, truly, he, I don’t want to get too into it. But he paid and he went into the classroom. Like he was going to take the class. What if he had just stayed? What if he experienced… I mean, it’s the what-ifs. What can we do?
KD: Well what we can do is first of all, we can allow our own emotions to calm themselves down. Before you can really be compassionate in a real working way, you have to have some compassion for yourself, too. Which means you have to allow yourself to go through this process until you kind of come back. It’s a shock. It’s a traumatic shock. It’s a big thing. Really big thing. And it takes time for us to land back on earth again. So, I wouldn’t try so hard to feel for him as much as I would try to let myself, you know, calm down, come back a little bit. Just little by little. Don’t try to figure it out. Nobody can figure it out. It’s beyond our pay grade, figuring it out.
Q: That’s what bhakti is for me. My one place where I don’t think. I just feel everything in a good and painful way. So, thank you.
KD: That’s good. That’s a very big dose you got. Big dose. But be thankful, in many ways, that you weren’t hurt yourself. You know? That’s something to be thankful for. It’s ok to feel ok about that as the same time that you feel terrible for the people who were hurt. It’s, you can’t look for logic in these things. There is none. There’s just fierce fiery emotion running the show.
When I first got to India
Q: Sorry guys. To make it heavy.
KD: It’s ok. We’re with you.
When I first got to India, we were taking a bus up from Delhi to the mountains to go find Maharajji. He was up there. And as the bus was creeping up, started to creep up into the hills it came around a corner and a woman with a huge load of cut grass, you know, on her head, stepped out of the jungle onto the road and the bus hit her. This was my first, like, 10 minutes in north India, you know? And she was probably killed. If she didn’t die right away, there was no medical help anywhere. She was just lying in the road, bleeding, and a couple people got out of the bus and looked at her, got back on the bus and the bus just took off, you know? I was just like… welcome to India, you know?
Everything’s out in front in India, you know? There’s no place… there’ so many people, you can’t hide the suffering, the amount of suffering and pain. A lot of people get off the plane, they go to their hotel in Delhi and then they get on the next plane back home. I know people who’ve done that. It’s just, it’s too big. The amount. It’s in 10-D, you know? It’s not even 3-D. It’s just… So, what you have to do is expand. You have to allow yourself; it has to be ok not to understand. Because there’s no way to understand. And it doesn’t help to say this but I’m going to say it anyway, but there are no mistakes, either. These are not random acts that happen with no cause. There are karmic situations that are beyond our understanding and this stuff happens. Babies are born with illnesses and disabilities and all this stuff. There’s no reason for that that we can see. But if you do have any exposure to the laws of karma, the understanding of karma, the one thing that you know is that nothing happens without a cause. We may not see the causes or understand them, but there’s only just so much fighting and yelling at God that we can do, you know? Before we just say, well fuck it, you do what you want to do. I’m going to be pissed off.
Yeah. I understand. Yeah.
That’s ok. It’s good. It’s the way it is. Be with that. And allow yourself to feel those things. That’s the hard part, you know? Don’t try to make it ok. It’s not ok. Eventually it won’t hurt so much. That doesn’t mean you’ll have figured it out. It just won’t hurt so much. You know, when I was going to kill myself in India, I was in the temple and I was having a nervous breakdown and I figured I would just jump in the river and drown myself. Of course, the river was six inches deep. So, I had to make sure I had the right spot, you know, if I could get my head stuck under a rock or something it might work. So, Maharajji called for me, just before I was gonna go do this. He looked at me, He said, “What are you going to do? Jump in the river?” He didn’t seem at all phased by my suffering. “What are you going to do? Jump in the river?” He said, “You can’t die.” He looked at me like I was crazy. “Worldly people don’t die. Only Jesus died the real death.” I’m a Jewish kid from Long Island in a Hindu temple in the mountains of India and this guy’s talking to me about Jesus? “Only Jesus died…” I just looked at Him, like… He said, “Why? Why? Because He never thought of Himself.” No “me” was left in that Great Being. Only Us. Only the One of which we are all part. There was no “me” left. There was no “me” concerned with “my pleasure” “my pain” “my suffering” what I want, what I don’t want, what I’m going to do, what I’m not going to do… that’s the real death. The death of the separateness, right? So, the rest of us just keep spinning around. You don’t have to believe any of this stuff. I don’t even know if I believe this stuff, ok? but They say, karmically, if you kill someone, you give them the right to kill you for a hundred births. A hundred times over the course of incarnations. So, who knows what’s going on? You know? You can’t know. You can just go, please, let people not suffer so much. That’s all you can do. And we don’t want to suffer either and if we’re hurting, if we’re bleeding, what kind of a transfusion can we give anybody else? So, for other beings’ sake, we have to get our shit together. Not just for ourselves.
Q: Anyone else?
KD: Yeah, who can follow that?
Q: Top that.
KD: No, thank you so much for sharing that with us.