Call and Response Ep. 72 | Family Troubles, Chant Etiquette
Q: I was curious if you could speak to having family members that are making choices that seem not helpful for them.
“People are going to do what they’re going to do. There’s not a lot we can do about that. We wouldn’t want anybody telling us what to do and the first step is letting them be who they are, you know? And hopefully, if you are with them in a way that’s not judgmental or you know, they might feel comfortable enough sharing with you what they’re going through and in that process they can open up a little bit. But if you’re going to be the enemy, there’s no way they’re going to be open.” – Krishna Das
Q: Ok. Hi.
Q: I was curious if you could speak to having family members that are making choices that seem not helpful for them and…
KD: Or you.
Q: Definitely not for me, I know. I might be about me. But I don’t know if you have some sort of… reaching to people who are not reachable at the moment from family members.
KD: Yeah, well, first thing we say is, “If you want to know how your spiritual practice is going, visit your family.” Nothing will show you your stuff as quickly as that. You know, yeah. People are going to do what they’re going to do. There’s not a lot we can do about that. We wouldn’t want anybody telling us what to do and the first step is letting them be who they are, you know? And hopefully, if you are with them in a way that’s not judgmental or you know, they might feel comfortable enough sharing with you what they’re going through and in that process they can open up a little bit. But if you’re going to be the enemy, there’s no way they’re going to be open. It’s not easy, because we want them to be happy and we think we know how they’re going to be happy and we think we know that what they’re doing is not, you know, good for them but, you know, they don’t know that. There’s a rule in India about grandparents. This is how grandparents have to behave in India. You know, you don’t say nothing and I’m a grandparent now and I try to follow that rule. I mean, you know, I know my daughter, I know where she got her stuff from. Hello. You know? So, how can I get, you know, what can I say? You know? I could just try to be available if anyone is interested, which is almost never. So, if that’s going to hurt me, I mean, if that’s going to make me crazy, that’s not fun. It makes her mother crazy. Ha ha ha. Which I like. No, I don’t. Much. So, you know, it’s a letting, you’ve gotta, you know, but on the other hand, you know, you want someone to feel that they care for them. That they’re cared for by you, regardless of what they’re doing, you care for who they are. So it’s a tricky thing, you know. We get caught in our own wantings for people. On the other hand, you have to think, you have to use your own, you have to trust your own intuition about situations. There are times when you just have to, you know, where it might be helpful to put your hand up. “Stop, now.” Or “Not here.” You know? You have to, if you can create some boundaries that they agree to respect, that’s a big thing, if the boundaries aren’t angry boundaries, you know? It’s not easy because nobody did that for us, right? I mean, not for me. Not my house. I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries so I grew up, it was very hard to learn how to say “no” and it was even to learn how to say, “thank you,” was hard. Because where was I? Who was I? Where was I standing to do that? You know? So, to make boundaries is, but it’s hard. But you know, if someone feels you’ve always been on their side, even if you haven’t been overly, you know, then they can come back at a certain point. You might be there. It might be good. But I’m sure people know better than me, so read a book or something. There must be books about this stuff.
Q: First I want to say, I have a lot of gratitude for a love that comes through the chanting and it saves my life every day, so thank you.
KD: Mine, too.
Q: And I never thought I was going to have grandkids but in three years I have four and another on the way. So, my granddaughter loves to chant and “Bhajelo Ji” is one of my favorites but she always asks for “Baby Lotion Ji Hanuman.”
KD: Baby Lotion Ji. That’s kind of what I thought it was the first time I heard it, you know? What are they singing? Baby lotion? Baby lo? Baby lo? Baby love. Baby love ji.
Q: Baby love.
KD: Baby love, my…
Q: And I did have one question. The call and response, I have a habit, I don’t know whether it’s good or bad, of singing for both.
KD: A little closer to the mic.
Q: Oh, I’m sorry. I’m doing the singing for both the call and the response. Is there a reason? Is that ok?
KD: Not if I have anything to say about it. Whatever gets you. I don’t care. Whatever. If the people next to you don’t beat you up, you’re all right.
Q: Yeah, well my voice is not great. But I just wondered if it was a tradition to have the listening and the singing as more effective…
KD: You mean on Long Island? That tradition? I have no idea. You know, I don’t know.
Q: It doesn’t matter?
KD: When I’ve heard chanting, it’s always been call and response, when the guys I used to sing with… there were three guys there. There was one call and then two responders and then the leader would change the melodies and then the people would respond one at a time. Sometimes together but also separately sometimes so you know, I don’t know. Don’t think about it too much, that’s all.