Call and Response Ep. 58 Life On The Road, Everyone is Your Teacher
Q: Do you use people, just in general that come up in your life, as your teacher?
“The more at ease you are with yourself, the more you’re willing and able to be at ease with anything that comes to you because it doesn’t force you, it doesn’t push a button that closes you down. So, that’s hard work. That’s how life is our teacher. Are we closing down? Are we protecting ourselves? Or distancing ourselves? Are we judging? And we do all the time. It’s natural. It’s human.” – Krishna Das
Q: I was just wondering what your preference of music is other than singing kirtan. Do you like rock and roll or country music?
KD: I’m an old fart, you know? Steely Dan, Ray Charles, Van Morrison. I like Eminem. I don’t know. I like a lot of stuff. I like jazz. I like rock. I like classical. I like a lot of stuff. I don’t listen to much music, because when there’s finally a moment when nobody’s calling on the phone or trying to get me to do something that I’m actually… it’s just such a blessing.
Q: Thank you.
KD: You’re welcome. There’s a lot of good music out there, but I don’t know what it is.
Q: I’m from Long Island, too.
KD: Your next birth will be better.
Q: Thank you. My question is, I saw your tour schedule for the next, I don’t know, six months. I’m looking at you up there and over there…
KD: Oh, I’m up there, too?
Q: Yeah you’re right there.
KD: I’m everywhere. It’s amazing.
Q: I just wanted to know, my son is actually on the road touring with a band right now and he’s having a lot of trouble figuring out how to balance taking care of himself and being on the road and I’m actually asking you how you do that when you’re on the road. Because you have a such a huge schedule coming up.
KD: You know, me being on the road is like being in an ashram, for me. You get up, have some breakfast, go to soundcheck. You sing. Go back to the hotel. Snack a little. Go to sleep. Get up. Pack your bags, get on the plane, get to the hotel. Go to sleep. It’s either eating, singing, traveling or sleeping. It’s like an ashram. That’s it except for the traveling. You know? When I get back to my room and I close the door and there’s nobody there, praise the Lord. That’s just so great, you know? But when you’re young, you don’t get back to the room before you take a few hits or a few drinks or you know, you go down to the bar to see who you can meet. You’re creating your own stuff and it’s difficult. It’s very difficult. You have, we don’t, we’re not trained, taught how to take care of ourselves, so when you’re on the road and you’re touring like that it can be really crazy. But, if you’re asking me, it’s not like that anymore. So, your son is in a band, you say he’s traveling?
Q: yes, but he did pack his yoga mat.
KD: That’s good. He can kind of use it as a pillow.
KD: Where are you? Hi.
Q: Hi. I listened to some of your other, oh, it’s really weird hearing myself in this… anyway, I’ve heard a lot of your other teachings, like, via Spotify…
KD: Could you not say “teachings” please? It just freaks me the hell out…
Q: Ok. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
KD: Just say, “stuff” or something like that.
Q: Your stuff that you talk about, when you talk about relationships
KD: Oh, here we go.
Q: I know, I’m like the one that’s going to say it. So, like, there’s something you said, like, “Relationships are like, you do your business and I do mine.”
KD: That’s a quote. I didn’t say it.
Q: That’s a quote. Well, it’s a quote you said. And I just find that, like with, like relationship with like a man or a relationship with your mom, or a relationship with you know, whoever you have in your life and some people are, you know, like really searching for, you know, maybe they have more pain that they’re going through and then other people just like have zero awareness at this point. How do you, like, navigate, like through relationship with them.
KD: I’m not sure what you mean. Relationship with who?
Q: Like, with pretty much anybody that’s like close to you that doesn’t have, like, an awareness of a path.
KD: I beat them up. I torture them until they wake up to God.
Q: I mean I guess like, what I’m hearing…
KD: They’re people, right? I just say, “Hey what’s up?” You know? “How you doing?” I’m not… first of all, the implication is that I have some awareness. That’s very nice of you but I’m just a guy like anybody else. I treat people the best I can and it’s not up to me to judge people and to… “Oh, this person doesn’t know shit, I’m not going to talk to them.”
Q: No, I don’t think that you’re… I’m not using it as like, a negative term, I’m using it as like, maybe as like using them as like, the live Guru of some sort. You know, to use them… or do you use people just in general that come up in your life, as like your teacher? Is that something that like..
KD: Sure. Well, everybody is, in a way, your teacher. Your whole life is your teacher. In relationships you see, you know, there are people that you feel comfortable with, a few you feel uncomfortable, a few people you don’t like. You can look at that and see what it is about that, what that person makes you feel and then you try to see why that person makes you feel that way and you keep trying to let go of that and you can also see how self-centered that kind of thinking is. “That person makes me feel bad so I don’t want to be around that person.” See, it’s all about “me” in that case. We’re not concerned… why does that person, how is that person feeling? Why does that person look like he doesn’t feel so good? What is that person’s life like? It’s not all about how that person affects me, right? So, you try to kind of feel where a person’s at, you know, what they’re feeling and why they are acting a certain way. When people are not nice, they’re usually acting out of their own pain, you know, and their own closed-down-ness and then eventually what arises in you is compassion for that person and caring. Not that you can, you know, you go and scream “Sri Ram Jai Ram” in their ear, but you just don’t close down to them. You don’t get negative in your own head about those people. You don’t have to protect yourself so you’re including them in your space without judging so it’s a bit of a practice and it’s not easy to do.
KD: But the more at ease you are with yourself, the more you’re willing and able to be at ease with anything that comes to you because it doesn’t force you, it doesn’t push a button that closes you down. So, that’s hard work. That’s how life is our teacher. Are we closing down? Are we protecting ourselves? Or distancing ourselves? Are we judging? And we do all the time. It’s natural. It’s human. But it’s human nature, but at the same time we’re trying to be more inclusive of people, which happens naturally as you do more practice. As you are more at ease with, in your own self, then people coming, they can go through that, you know, they walk through that space and you don’t have to like, know. Of course, there are times when you recognize certain situations in yourself that you want to protect yourself from when a person who’s very negative might… and it’s like a drug addict comes into your life and you have addiction issues. You’re definitely going to notice and you’re definitely have to recognize the situation. You don’t have to push that person away. You don’t have to hate that person or hit them with a baseball bat. But then you have to notice and be clear that you’re not going to be pulled into their vortex. And that’s taking care of yourself. And that’s the same with anything. Any person who’s, with anybody. Everybody has their own vortex of stuff. And we’re surrounded by it all day long. Millions of people, television, phone, everything, all day long pulling us out of ourselves into, into stuff. So, as time goes on, as we mature, as we ripen, we’re not so vulnerable to getting lost in other people’s versions of life. We have a stronger, more open sense of ourselves which is not threatened by stuff. And ultimately can not be hurt by anything. I did say, “Ultimately.” So, is that anything like what you wanted to hear?
Q: I didn’t want to hear anything. I was just curious.
KD: Then why did I talk so goddamed long? You should have said that at the beginning.
Q: Thank you.
Q: Was there a moment in your life where it was like, an “aha” moment like, where you really understood that you were doing what you were supposed to do on your path in your life?
KD: Yeah, there’s been a few of those. Yeah. Next question.
Q: Can you go into detail? Because I guess I’m like, I think a lot of people are just like searching for that, you know and trusting that even if you’re not there yet that you’re on, that you’re where you’re supposed to be.
KD: Well, yeah. You are where you are. There’s nothing you can do about that except be there. So, inside of that moment, there’s a lot that can happen. But you can have moments and you do have moments where you recognize, “Yeah, this is ok. This feels right.” See the whole thing is getting more in touch with that place and knowing what feels right for you and what doesn’t. You know, you have to pay attention to yourself and you have to learn to trust that place in you, that, is this is ok? And even if the whole world is telling you, “This is what you need,” and it doesn’t feel right to you, just forget about it and do something else. Only you know. Nobody can tell you what to do. And if somebody does tell you what to do and it feels right, good. If it doesn’t, good. The only ultimate source of knowing is yourself. Now, if you trust another Being who you feel is advanced and is a really, you know, trustworthy and honest and a good Being and that person suggests something to you, even if you don’t know if it’s right or wrong, you might try it and see how it goes. Right? Based on your trust of that person. It could turn out that that person is not trustworthy. You know? Look around. Right? The newspaper’s full of this stuff now, so and you trusted that person and you were wrong to trust that person because it turns out that was just a show. Fine. You learned a good lesson. Nothing’s lost. You’re not permanently damaged. It may hurt but you’re not permanently hurt. So, you keep listening to yourself, that’s the thing. I remember one time, I got, I was in Sydney, Australia and just like a few days before the kirtan, some big Guru was exposed as a pedophile and the whole place was just destroyed. They were really, you know, everybody was flipped out. What do we do now? He had hundreds and hundreds, maybe even thousands of disciples. It was really a difficult situation. You know. But those things happen. Those things happen. We have to trust ourselves and also trust that we’ll get through anything that happens to us. We’ll make it through. And that’s, you have to have that kind of courage. One time I was with Maharajji in Mumbai. We had followed Him to Mumbai and we caught Him. And we were alone with Him, I was alone with Him one afternoon in, in an apartment building and He was lying on the bed in the bedroom. There was one Indian guy there. And for hours and hours, Maharajji was just like, lying like this, He’d sit up, He’d lie like that. This and that. Sit for awhile, lie down. And I was doing my sadhana, which was staring at Him like… like that. So all of a sudden, He sits up and He looks at me and He says, “Courage is a really big thing.” What’s going to happen? And then the Indian guy looks, He said, “Oh, but Baba, God takes care of His devotees.”
“Courage is a really big thing.”
Then He went back to sleep.
You know, there were times in my life that all I had was the vague memory of that moment. And that vague memory saved me from disaster. You know? A couple of… more than a couple of times in my life. I didn’t even have courage. I just had the vague, the faintest memory of that moment where He looked at me and He said, “Courage is a big thing. You know, He wasn’t warning me. He just was saying, you know. And then later on, many years later… So, courage is a big thing. Sometimes you really just have to say, “I’m going through this whatever. And I’ll be ok.” And you will.
Q: Thank you.
KD: That’s kind of you.