Call and Response Ep. 60 Gurus, Programs and Practice
“We’re training ourselves to release whatever it is that is pushing us around. It’s not easy to see what it is because we’re being pushed from behind. It’s the shadows in our hearts, the dark corners in our hearts that push us around. So, it’s not easy to see the programs. That’s why, when we sit down to practice, we just keep letting go of anything that pulls us out of that moment of what we’re trying to do, and then come back.” – Krishna Das
So, the poem I was looking for was by Rumi. A Sufi poet. Great poet. One of the Great Beings. It’s called “Love Dogs,” and I’m going to ruin it, but I’ll do the best I can.
So, it starts off, “One night, a man was praying, ‘Allah, Allah’ and his lips grew sweet with the chanting. And then a cynic walked by and said, ‘Why are you calling out? You never get an answer.’ And the man was struck by that and thought, ‘He’s right.’ So, he stopped praying. And that night, he had a dream in which the guide of souls came to him and said, ‘Why did you stop praying?’ ‘Because I never got an answer.’ He said, ‘The calling out is the answer.’ He said, ‘You hear that moan of the dog crying for its Master? That’s the connection.’”
So, the idea is probably that we’re already being called from within to move more deeply into our own true nature, the love that lives within us as who we really are and when we respond, either through a spiritual practice or through caring for others or kindness to others or doing good in the world, we’re actually answering the call of our own hearts. This isn’t something that comes from the outside. We’re not being, there’s no manipulation in love and love is what lives within us so the whole path is to learn to pay attention to our inner hearts and to do that, we have to learn to trust ourselves and listen to ourselves and honor our own truth, our own feelings, whatever they are. You can’t pretend to be who you’re not. It won’t work. So, really, one of the things that spiritual practice does, it gives us the strength to, little by little, overcome the programs that are running within us that tell us we’re not enough, that tell us we’re not worthy of love, that tell us that we can’t love, that things are not all right and will never be all right. And those programs run all the time. So, practice takes some of the energy away from those programs, little by little. If it happens too fast, they put you away. Right? I said, “Right?”
All right, anybody have anything to say? Raise your hand and you’ll be punished.
You’re going to make me talk more?
Yesterday we were talking about Gurus and sometimes I can get a little bit cranky when we talk about Gurus. Because everybody, ok, just a second… everybody thinks I got started already, you can’t stop me. What’s that? Oh, you have it? I ruined it already, thank you.
Q: Hello, Krishna Das
KD: Wait, wait. I’m in the middle of something here. I’m in a program. Don’t kill it. So, yeah, I get cranky about it because I guess I have issues myself with physical Guru and the inner Guru because when I was with Maharajji physically, that was it for me. I didn’t want to be anywhere else, ever. That was home. I got home somehow. I tripped and fell and I was home. But, there was still all this stuff inside of me, uncooked seeds, so to speak. Uncooked desires. Desires that were calling out to be fulfilled and to live through. So, after 2 and a half years in India with Him, and He kept me there. He made it, He actually kept me there. One time, I was at Dada’s house in Allahabad, one of Maharajji’s great old devotees and my Visa, I had a tourist Visa and I had gotten one extension so I had been there about six months and… maybe I got it wrong… but anyway, I had to go and do, get another Visa, extend my Visa so I could stay but I knew that if I went back to this place, they would probably send me back to America. But I had to go. I had no choice. Now, Ram Das and the other Westerners, most of the other Westerners, they had got their first extension in New Delhi so in order to get another extension, they had to go back there and they’d heard that there was this government immigration agent that they could pay, they could bribe to extend their Visas. So, one morning they just all left. They went, they didn’t even say goodbye to Maharajji, they just all left. They figured they’d be back the next day or in a couple of days. So, the day after they left, I came at night with my, all my stuff because I was going to have to go to Bodhgaya, to Gaya, which is where I got my first extension. So, when I saw Dada I said, “You know Dada, I’m leaving on the night train tonight to go to Gaya to get my extension, but I’m not going without darshan, without seeing Maharajji.” He said, “Ok, ok.” So, later on Maharajji calls me in, and He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m going to Gaya to get my extension.” He said, “So, go.” I said, “Well, I’ll go. But they’ll probably send me back to America.” “So, go.” “Ok, I know you’re everywhere.” “Get out of here. Go.”
So, I was on the porch waiting for the right time to leave for the train and Dada comes out and said, “Maharajji’s calling you.” So, I went inside. He told me that the next day, He was going to send me to this other town where His devotee was the Chief of Police and He was going to stamp my passport and give me an extension for a year. So, that’s what happened. Then, all those people who went to Delhi, when they got there, that agent, that guy that immigration agent had gotten busted for taking bribes, so they all got sent home. Wham bam thank you m’am. You’re outta here. And they never got to come back to Allahabad to even see Maharajji. And when Maharajji heard about this, He just went on and on, and He said, “Oh, those people tried to go to the highest place, the highest place, but look at Krishna Das is so humble. He just tried to do the lowest simplest thing and He’s the one who got to stay.” You know, it was bullshit because, and He knew and I knew it, everybody knew it. I had to go to Gaya, I couldn’t go to Delhi or else I would have gone just like everybody else. “Oh, he’s so humble.” Yeah, right. But the point is, He kept me there. And then He kept me there for another year after that as well. So, it was two and a half years. So, just towards the end of the two and a half years, I was with Him one day and He looked at me and He said, “Go to America when your Visa’s up.” Which was in a month or two. “Go to America.” I said, “But I’m just learning Hindi.” “Too bad. You go.” And then He said, “You have attachment there.” I didn’t know what He was talking about. When I left America, I was never going back. I gave my jeans away. I sold my records. Records? You don’t remember records but some of us do. And I sold my guitar. I sold my car. I got every dollar I could get together and I left and I was never going back. And now, all of a sudden, He says I have attachment there? What attachment? Well, I’ll tell you. Everything that happened to me from the moment I came back to America until this moment was exactly what He was talking about. There was so much stuff inside. So much stuff that just needed to come out. And it wasn’t gonna work for me to stay in India. First of all, I was really sick and I wouldn’t have lasted very long anyway. So, the stuff that’s inside has to come out. The question is, how do we deal with it as it arises?
Does it completely grab us and knock us out? Knock us down and screw us up for a long time? Or do we have a better way? A better option to deal with it? This is what practice does. We’re training ourselves to release whatever it is that is pushing us around. It’s not easy to see what it is because we’re being pushed from behind. It’s the shadows in our hearts, the dark corners in our hearts that push us around. So, it’s not easy to see the programs. That’s why, when we sit down to practice, we just keep letting go of anything that pulls us out of that moment of what we’re trying to do, and then come back. When we’re chanting, it’s one of those moments of practice. We’re repeating the Names and then we notice we’re not paying attention and we haven’t been. So, we’re back. Then we go back to the Name again and then we’re gone again. Then we see that we’re gone. We come back. Over and over and over. And this is training our minds to release those obsessive limiting thoughts and feelings. And that movement of releasing is something that functions all day long. We’re just increasing it. We’re just building it up and getting, making it more deep in those moments of practice and then through the day, through the rest of our days, things will happen but we get more used to not being stuck. For most of us, we are, we are who we think we are. And we’re thinking all the time. Thoughts are coming all the time and we get no vote as to how we meet those thoughts. We’re gone. But as we learn to sit more deeply in ourselves, we begin to get a little bit of a vote of how, how we interact with those moments when something strong comes along, some thought or some emotion. Somebody you know all of a sudden, like starts to be weird towards you, right? And you start, you develop a whole storyline in your head. “Why is that person like that? What did I do to them? I never did anything to them. Son of a… you know…” and you’ve got this whole thing going on. And then you’re totally into it and all of a sudden you think, well, “There must be something wrong. Maybe he’s sick. Maybe he’s not feeling good. And then your program, your story starts to lighten up a little bit. And you become aware of what really might be going on out there. You kind of talk yourself down from being totally stuck in your version of what’s going on. And the point of all this is to uncover the love that we’re all seeking. It’s not to be a great yogi. It’s not to you know, shine and have everybody see, “Oh, he’s a great yogi. Wow, this guy is really fantastic.” It’s not anything like that. It’s simply to find out and uncover what’s already inside of us. These practices help that. Help that evolution. Speed it along. It’s a ripening process. Every time we come back from Dreamland, we’ve moved ourselves a little closer to the sunlight of love where our hearts are ripened. Every time. Every single time. Sri Ramakrishna, who was a really great saint in the 1800s, He once described how this practice of the repetition of the Name works. He said that every repetition of the Name carries shakti, carries power, just like a seed. A tiny little seed might have a whole tree within it, a huge tree. So does every repetition of the Name carry the essence of true reality of love. And He said, “Every repetition carries this power and the seeds of the Name are thrown up like this, and they’re carried by the wind and they land on the roof of an old house in the jungle.” And in those days, the roofs might have been made from clay tiles, but the tiles weren’t very hard. So those seeds of the repetition of the Name that we do are caught between those tiles on that roof. And as time and seasons come and go and wind and rain and sun and everything, those tiles eventually begin to break down and soften. And then, the seeds of the repetition of the Name start to grow. And the roots grow and grow and they destroy the tiles. They destroy the roof. And they keep growing and they destroy the house, the walls of the house. Ramakrishna says, “That house is who we think we are.” “Me.” “Me” is destroyed by the repetition of the Name. And what is “Me?” “Me” is the separate little feeling of “me-ness” which is different from everybody else’s feeling of “me-ness.” “It’s my house. You have your house. You have your house.” And that separation… we are locked behind the walls of our house, of our “me-ness” of our “ego”… sense of separateness. And reality is that that separateness is temporary. It is not permanent. It is temporary. And so, as the walls of that “me” break down, one expands to fill the whole the universe. Nothing is lost and everything is gained. Everything. Because that’s the way it is. And that’s who we are underneath who we think we are. And the real progress is, happens under the radar. You don’t get to pat yourself on the back. “Wow, this is a really great meditation. I’m really feeling very good these days. I’m able to deal with just about anything now. I think I’ve made it. This is great. Yes.” No. More stuff. But when that program is running, we’re not aware of it. We’re just in it. We don’t get a vote when you’re in it. When you’re not in it and you’re doing practice, it increases, it decreases the amount of time that you spend lost in your programs or your feelings or all that stuff that grabs us so much. And it’s the evaluator that’s getting thinned out. And I have a confession to make. I mope around less than I used to. Really. That’s a very big thing. I miss it. Really. Sometimes I mope around just for fun. It’s such a great feeling. But what are you going to do? I really do mope around less and what can I say? It’s reality. I was born a moper. And it’s taken a long time to mope around less but it’s actually happened. I think.