Taking time to look back and move forward. Conversations With KD episodes are derived from the recordings of KD’s online events from his home during the 2020/ 2021 days of social distancing and quarantine from the onset of COVID and beyond.
Call and Response Special Edition – Conversations With KD November 21, 2020
“Whenever you think of it, just take a couple of breaths and let go. You’re washing dishes, take a breath and let go. You’re watching TV. Take a breath in the commercials. If there’s no commercials, just pause the thing, take a breath and then start again. Practice letting go. Practice just letting go.” – Krishna Das
Hi, everybody. Good to be with you again. It’s getting cold and people are stuck inside, which makes it even harder to wade through the mud of the mind, of the thoughts. It’s a good time to practice, and it’s just too easy to be swept away the tides of mental bullshit and the stuff that goes on and on and on and on, and the circular obsessive thinking that goes on all the time. We have to make an effort to release ourselves from that. And when it’s so intense like this, it’s almost easier because it’s so apparent how out of control we are. And actually, we’re always out of control, but we can be aware by remembering to look and remembering to remember. That’s all you can do. You can’t transform yourself. You can’t move to another planet. You know, all we can do is bow to the endless flow of nonsense that goes through our heads, and practice letting go of it. That’s all. That will change the way we live inside of our lives. And that’s what all the practices are about, ultimately. Every path leads to the same goal because the goal is reality, and that’s what lives within us as our own true being.
So, just to continue to pay attention, to continue to remember, to let go, as the day goes on, you know, every time you just remember, just release for a minute, you know, even in the middle of something you’re doing just take a breath or two and let it be.
Q: I am so, so pleased to be here today. Thank you for this opportunity. I’m from Maryland, and found you, I would say, actually, because of this situation that we’re under; home and tinkering around with Ram Dass, and I found you singing on a piece of his, Heart As Wide As The World, and I just was completely enamored.
Yeah. Most people find me by mistake.
It was, but a beautiful mistake.
Yeah. Maharajji trips and then they fall in it. That’s what happens, you know?
Oh, that’s great. That’s really great. Well, the thing I wanted to ask you about is this notion of surrender. And I feel, for me, sometimes we can distinguish it as surrender. It’s almost like a physical experience, like a relaxing, like you say, you know, giving it up, letting it go. And you also speak about finding, I don’t know, I can’t think of how you say it right now, but you know, yourself inside, and I’m wondering if those two things are similar in some way.
There was a great Saint in India, not too long ago, named Ramana Maharshi, and he lived in South India and when he was a young boy, not that young, he was probably 16, He stayed home from school one day because he was feeling a little sick and he felt he was going to die, and he was perfectly healthy, but he felt, “I’m going to die.” And for some reason it didn’t upset him. He just said, “Well, what’s this going to be like?”
And he laid down on the floor. He was alone in the house. He laid down on the floor and he clenched up his body and just wanted to see what, what not breathing would be like, and you know, what, if the body becomes like rigor mortis, and what was happening, actually, his consciousness was leaving the body, leaving the physical plane. And he became fully enlightened in that moment, a 16 year old boy, without ever doing any sadhana in this life. Of course, in previous lives he had done incredible amounts of practice. But, in that moment he was completely enlightened, and 50 years later he would say, “My state of mind had never wavered from that moment to this.”
From that moment on, he was completely immersed in oneness, in the one, in reality. He became fully enlightened, what they call, becoming a jnani. And people came. And he went back to school and, you know, obviously he didn’t fit in anymore. And after a few days, his brother had given him some money to pay a fee at the school for him. And so he writes a note to his family. He said, “This is leaving. Don’t bother to search for it. PS, I owe you three rupees,” or something like that.
And he wandered off. He didn’t know where he was going really, and he wound up at the foot of this sacred hill called Arunachala, in a town called Tiruvanamalai, and at first he sat. There was an ancient temple there at the foot of the hill. He sat around at the temple, but people were bothering him, because he was just immersed in samahdi. He was just gone, you know. And so, then he found underneath the temple, like an area that was dug out and he just went down there, and he just sat there with scorpions stinging him and snakes going over him and ants, eating his body. For years, He just stayed in there, and people began to bring him little bits of, the pujari of the temple started to bring him bits of food and stuff like that and would put it in his mouth because he wouldn’t communicate or move.
Finally, he just, you know, everybody started to recognize him as not just like a crazy kid, but a great being. And he kind of moved up the hill, and finally later, when he got older, he came down from the hill and an ashram was started around him. All the time, He’s just being. He’s not doing anything, you know.
And he would talk. He didn’t talk much, but when he was asked a question, he would respond usually, Usually, with words. Sometimes with words, sometimes without, but whatever he said was so dynamic and so absolutely clear and concise and right on. It’s extraordinary to read His stuff, which was collected by other people because he didn’t write down anything. He didn’t collect his things. He didn’t give lectures, nothing. He just was being.
So there’s so many great things. Here’s one thing, about surrender. Now, maybe this takes a little bit of suspension of disbelief, but let me just read you this.
“The ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their prarabdha karma, which is the amount of karma to be worked out in this life.” It’s not all your karmas. It’s just a little bit of karma that this life is about, to work out. “Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen, will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain in silence.”
And by silence, he means, “Being. Presence. Reality.” What underneath. The space around all our thoughts and emotions and stories which we believe. All that stuff, all the time.
“I’m who I am. I know who I am. I know where I’m going. I know my people are here. I know what my house is,” and all this stuff. Maybe, but it’s the space around all that.
So, the point about surrender is, you can’t control or change what you’ve done in the past and what’s happened in the past, and the future is not here yet. So, there’s nothing to do about that either. All we have is now, and how we live in this moment is where we find what our so-called work is. Who do we think we are? Where are places that we’re stuck and we judge ourselves and others? Where’s our greed? Where’s our shame? Where’s our fear? Where’s our anxiety? Where’s our selfishness? All that stuff. That’s what we have right now. Now, how do we live with that? How do we deal with that?
Ramana Maharshi said there’s two ways to deal with that. One way is to ask “Who is experiencing all of this?” and question, “Who am I?” You know? “I’m experiencing this. Okay, well, who am I? Well, I’m me. Well, who said that? Who’s thinking that? Well, I am . Who is that ‘I’?” It’s a way of kind of backing into it. A way back in, But the other way is to accept it as it is, and for devotees or people who are attracted to the path of devotion, you would say that “everything in my life is there to teach, is there because it has to be there, and my attitude should be, what do I learn, what can I learn from all this?” And so, you accept it as teaching. So, if you have a guru, you simply say, “This is what my guru has left for me.”
And so, you don’t try to push it away or kill it or reject it or change it even. You try to just be with it and release again. Release. And that’s what we’re training ourselves when we chant. We simply repeat the sounds, which they call the names of God in India, the divine name, these sounds, and we pay attention. And when we notice we’ve been gone, we’re already back, we pay attention again, and then we notice we’re gone and we come back again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
So, your work is about what you just said, which is the chanting.
It’s hardly work, you know, I could be pumping gas.
Yeah, but what you’re what you’re expressing to people. So, before you said that thing about chanting, my question was going to be, well, how do I remember to do that in the moment? Because I, you know, as a human being, I get all wrapped up in how I’m feeling about something. Right?
Don’t we all? All everybody ever does in this world is think about ourselves. That’s all we do.
Yeah, absolutely. No question about it. So, you’re suggesting then that the chanting gives me, shall we, almost like an outlet for the not remembering? So, if I’m in a situation where I’m not actually chanting, right? And I get annoyed. For me to remember in that moment to do the releasing, might happen might not happen, but the remembering is very difficult for me.
It probably won’t happen in that exact moment.
But I love that word, “annoyed.” That that’s my mom talking to me. Another way to think about it, rather than an outlet, is that it’s an anchor, like in a boat, and the winds of thoughts and emotions blow that boat around all over the universe. So, we drop an anchor and then boom, it holds us within some radius, and without the anchor, we’re just blown about all the time. So, we drop that anchor and that’s our practice. That allows us, gives us something to come back to. Without the anchor, we’re just floating in freefall. There’s nothing to wake us up. So, we put that anchor in. And so that anchor is the practice, is the remembering, which we do in any way, you can sit, you can stand, you can walk, you can sing, whatever, makes no difference. It’s the repetition of the name that gradually, but inevitably, uncovers the deeper place within us. And as we do these practices, we remember more easily that we’re lost. We recognize that we’re lost more easily as the days go on.
So you’re chanting, right? “Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram,” and then you spend 20 minutes on the shopping list for later in the day. Right? And then you’ll go, “Oh shit. I can’t believe I, okay. Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.”
But here’s the thing. “Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.” Shopping list. “Oh.”
How did that “oh” happen? You didn’t do that. You were gone. You’re in dreamland thinking about the shopping list and imagining walking through the aisles of the supermarket virtually, right? With a mask. So you didn’t do that. It happened as a result of practice. And also, because that’s your true nature. It’s here. It’s not somewhere else. It’s not lost in dreamland. You’re here. You’re always here, but we forget. Our stuff pulls us out of ourselves. So, we cultivate the remembering of the name or the breath or whatever practice you do that you do with awareness, with paying attention, and then that movement, that releasing happens under the radar. That’s your own soul shining out for a minute, and you’re released from the thought, or you could just say that thoughts and emotions have a certain amount of energy, and when that energy is dissipated, Boop, they’re gone and you’re back. They let go of you. So that’s why they always say, do practice when you can, because when the shit hits the fan, you know, you could say “Ram Ram,” but you’re ready to kill somebody anyway. And there’s nothing that’s going to change that at that moment. And that’s okay, but you keep doing the “Ram Ram” anyway, because every repetition of one of these names has incredible potential. Just like a seed. A tiny little seed can have a huge tree inside of it. Right? And it’s just a question of the right causes and conditions arising to let that seed grow and blossom and become a tree. So, it’s just the same with us. The seeds of the repetition of the name will come to fruition as the causes and conditions arise to allow it to blossom, and the greatest cause and condition to allow it to blossom is more practice, more remembering. So, it’s like a circle that feeds itself and gets deeper and deeper.
So, like I said, Ramana Maharshi talked about two ways to move along the path, either the path of jnana, of wisdom, of self-inquiry, like “who am I?” and the path of devotion. Those are the two ways to reach the same situation. So, he says, this is the path of devotion, “Surrender to him,” or her, because that being is neither and both. “Surrender to him and abide by his will. Whether he appears or vanishes, await his pleasure. If you ask him to do as you please, it is not surrender, but a command to him.”
For instance, “Change this. I don’t like what’s going on here,” you know, “Take this away.”
So, if you ask him to do as you please, it’s not surrender, but a command to him. “you cannot have him obey you and yet think that you have surrendered. He knows what is best and when and how to do it. Leave everything entirely to him. His is the burden. No longer do you have any cares. All of your cares are his. Such is surrender.”
So, this is why they say surrender is not only the path, but the goal also. So, and it’s not weakness. You’re not surrendering because you’ve lost the battle. You’re surrendering because you see how the battle is going to go anyway, and you bow to that, and in the bowing and accepting it as his will.
See, you know, Maharajji could do anything. He could heal the sick and raise the dead and probably whatever the other thing is too. And he did it all the time, all the time, 24-7, 365, nothing but miracles and love and compassion. But there were times when he didn’t. It seemed like he didn’t change the karma of the situation. And that’s also action on his part, by allowing something to work out as it has to, and then you could say, possibly throwing a whole lot of shit in on that fire to burn it all up, right?
So that when that karma is over, a lot of other stuff has been burnt up as well. I mean, we had these experiences with him. Like for instance, there was this couple named Ed and Chris who he named Sunanda and Sudhama, gave them Indian names, and they wanted to get married. So, they asked Maharaji to marry them, and he said, “No, Krishna Das will marry you.” Which is why I never do marriages. So don’t ask.
So, the next day we stood out in front of the Hanuman temple and we read from the Bible and “Okay, you’re married.” Good.
However, sometime after that, they left India and went back to New York, and over the years we kind of lost track of them. Sunanda came down with cancer and she was fighting it for many years in every possible way, all kinds of therapies, everything, and Sudhama actually needed a lung and a heart transplant, and they had a son, too.
And at one point I was spending time with this young Baba in India and we brought him to America, and when we got to the house where he was gonna stay, someone told him about Sudhama. Sudhama and Sunanda had divorced already and they were living separately. So, somebody told him about Sudhama’s sickness. So he said to me, he said, “Let’s go tomorrow. We’ll go and visit him.”
So, me and the Baba drove there in the morning and we rang the bell. He knew we were coming, but it took him 20 minutes to get to the door. He had to basically crawl on the floor because he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t, there was no oxygen getting to his heart.
He opened the door and we went inside. The Baba sat on the couch and me and Sudhama sat on the floor, and I sang Hanuman Chalisa, and he was mouthing the words because he couldn’t, and we spent a little time there and then we left.
So that night he called me, and he said that he felt like Maharajji had come back to him and that his whole life, he felt his whole life was okay and everything, you know, he was so happy. And the next morning he was dead. Sunanda, later that year, six months later, his son died of an overdose, accidental overdose of heroin. And six months after that, Sunanda finally, died from the cancer.
So, within one year, all three of them were gone. The whole karmic package was gone. Now I know Maharajji could have changed that, but I realized, or at least my belief is that, when he didn’t marry them way back, 20 years earlier, or how, how much, let me see, maybe 20 years earlier, that was his way of doing something, of allowing those karmas to be worked out the best possible way that needed to work out for everybody involved, and who knows, but maybe he threw a whole bunch of other shit on there for them to help them out also.
But he could have changed all that. Because he did that all the time in India, you know. In India, people don’t have doctors, they go to Babas, at least in those days, you know. The doctors were very limited. So, they go to Sadhus and Saints and they say, “Cure me.” So, the Baba gives them some ash and they get better. That’s what Maharajji did all day long. People came asking for things all day long. Jobs, children, marriages that had no child. They come and prayed to Baba, “Please give us a child,” and he’d go, “Where will I get one from? Get outta here!”
And then the next thing you know, they have a baby. So, he could have done that. He could have changed that karma, but he didn’t. And because these beings can only do what’s best for us, they only have compassion and kindness. They can’t not do what’s best for you. And so, I have to think that this was the best for the three of them. Because even though Jesse, their son, hadn’t even been conceived yet, he knew what was going to happen. And yet he let it go the way it had to go, because that was the best thing possible for all of them.
Now, that’s a lot to digest. I know. And in fact, that story didn’t make it into “Chants of a Lifetime,” the book I wrote, because the editor, I couldn’t tell it in a way that the editor could understand it. So, I figured, “Well, if I can’t tell it, then I must not understand it myself. I’ll take it out.” So, I took it out.
But that’s a serious dose and that’s a lot to digest, and it takes a tremendous amount of faith, or suspension of disbelief, which is something that Westerners kind of have to do. We call that faith, but it’s not really faith, but it’s close as we can get for a while, you know?
All right. Okay. Maybe. That’s what you say. So anyway, that’s the point? So, surrender happens by grace and grace is something that happens by grace. You can’t make grace. You can’t force grace to happen, but you can prepare yourself to hold the grace. Just like if you go out walking in the rain and you want to catch some raindrops, you have to cup your hands so you can drink. So, grace is always here, but we don’t know how to receive it. We’re too busy. Grace is our true natural state in a way. It’s the being. It’s our soul, our Atma. It’s our natural state, but we’re too busy not paying attention. So, we drop that anchor, and we just keep coming back. And every time we come back, we may not realize it, but it’s a little deeper and those neuropathways in the brain get a little deeper. And they’ve proven that. The brain actually changes shape around meditative practices.
So, thank you for that expression of joy, and I love what you just said about preparing yourself for grace. That really did it for me. So, thank you.
Thank you. Good. Very good. Well, nice talking to you. Take care.
Q: First of all, I wanted to thank you very, very much, because last couple of weeks I was going on about my books and what to do when I die, and you were so kindly, so patiently directing me towards myself. And you mentioned a book, which Ramana Maharshi used to keep under the head, and I didn’t write down the name of the Tamil Poet. So, I was a little ashamed about not really getting that, but then the most important was that instead of worrying about the external and that clinging to wanting to control everything, including what happens after I may leave this body, is not the most important in the sadhana. In fact, it’s not important at all. The most important I’ve found, from work, you were kindly answering, was to go to, you know, as Ramana, go inside and in the silence, which is a challenge for me because I have a childlike nature and a lot of unresolved family karma. And if I may ask, if you have the time, I wanted to ask how to make the peace with the family karma, with the parent who is unhappy, that’s my dad, all his life, pretty much. And in Encinitas I asked similarly, and you mentioned your mom. That was not an easy relationship either. And when she came to visit you in India, when you were waiting at the airport, you kneeled down, and I got from that, that if we can, not compliment, but let them feel, you know, not judged, not blame, I mean, not this conflict.
But let me give you a little background. My mom died to two months ago, and I have made great peace with her, doing 40 days of tarpana and actually having sweet relationship now than when she was in her body. With my dad, he is alive. He’s back in Prague. That’s where I come from. Over the past 20 to 25 years, some people age and they melt in sweetness. And they melt in wisdom. And you are a great example of this, and I really revere so many things about you, not just the way you listen, you answer, but the way you lighten the spirit and so much evolution spiritually, just in you. It’s inspiring for me. But with my dad, he would, first of all, didn’t tell me when my mother was sick when she was. I had to go through calling every hospital in Prague and find out. And after that, he moved her from one hospital to another, didn’t tell me. I had to find out and he took her stuff when she was still alive and packed it, didn’t let me a chance to go through it. And he, you know, took the money.
These things happen. We all have to accept our karma, but part of me is angry, of course, at him. Part of me is very compassionate. And I’m afraid that if he dies tomorrow, I will not finish the business. I would either feel like a victim. There is some inheritance which could be coming to me or not coming to me, and I know that Dharma is the most important, but this peace in my heart, which I would love to have when my father goes, or if I go before him, he’s 86, this is a hard one because I have so much I resent about him and how to accept 62 years of abuse, verbal and physical of me and my mom. And I understand why that has been happening and is happening. He even arranged for his funeral to be done by some kind of Russian neighbor, and I don’t even know if my torment is over. I mean, it’s a little unusual. I would love my father to, first of all, remember me differently or not to blame me. So, I know I have no control about his perception or his relationship with me, but for me, to clear this karma of negativity, resentment, you know, which takes serenity. I would appreciate if you can shine the grace into that.
or if you have any more questions for me, I would be glad.
Well, nobody could do it except you. You can’t change him, and you can’t change the past, and you have to find a way to release the anger from your heart, and the pain, and one of the best ways to do that is the Metta practice. Do it with sincerity and wholeheartedness.
We don’t see our parents as people. We see them as our parents. We don’t know what they suffered as children. We don’t know how their hearts were broken. We don’t know the love that they looked for and never found. We don’t know. We don’t know. All we know is how hard it is for us to change our own, clear out our own stuff from our own heart. How difficult must it be for people who have no awareness of spiritual practice at all, or any understanding there might be another way to live in this world?
So, the burden is on us to free our parents from our anger and grief and hurt, and it’s easy to have compassion for people you never met. You know, “I love everybody,” but you know, when it comes to yourself and your parents, it’s very difficult, and that shows you that you really don’t have compassion for anybody, if you can’t have compassion for yourself and the people close to you. If we’re still reactive, then we’re just fooling ourselves in terms of having ultimate compassion. We don’t have relative compassion, a little caring for people with kindness. It’s a joke to think that we can expand that to include the whole universe because we don’t have it. So, I mean, you know, I can’t give you advice. All I can do is say that, you know, this is up to you to find a way to release the energy that’s trapped between you, between who you both think you are. You think you’re you and he thinks he’s him, and in that drama, a lot of things happened. If you want your heart to open, you have to open it. Nobody can do it for you, and you have all the tools and all the understanding, intellectually, of what you could do.
Now, you just have to actually bring it into today, into this life now and bring it out of your head and into your life. And we’re all in the same boat, you know? And besides that, our parents are inside of us. We’re made up of them. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. We wouldn’t be here as we are, with our physical body and probably even our emotions. I always feel that we learn, we are programmed how to see ourselves by the way our parents see themselves, not the way they see us necessarily. That’s just an extension of the way they see themselves, but the way they see themselves, the way they treat themselves, the way they live in the world, the way they are positioned in life, we absorbed that and we take on the same position, a similar position. So much of our own stuff we got from them, and where did they get theirs from? From their parents. And where did they get theirs? It goes on until the beginning of karma. So, there’s nobody to blame. Because nobody’s doing it to anybody. It’s mechanical almost. Karma’s running running the show. Now is the moment where we can turn to face the wind and allow it to come over us without it knocking us down. This is the only time to do that, right now, and no one can do it for us except ourselves.
Thank you. Could I say one more thing?
One more thing. Ramana Maharshi didn’t sleep with that book under his pillow, but he had it by his bed. And it was Namdev. Poetry of Namdev. And whether it’s really true that he had the book by his bed or not, I’m not sure, but that’s what I heard.
If I may, you mentioned something like this to, I believe, a young gentlemen, a few months ago, and I listened to your satsang, not everyone, but as often as I do. So, I reflected on what you said, but my dad keeps sometimes sending me 10, 12 texts a day within a few minutes and they could be all contradictory. They are putting down my Dharma. They are putting down my thing. He could ask me about what I did 40 years ago. It’s really making me very tired. It’s hard to take in because it happens almost every day, and of course, right now I cannot go. I cannot travel. And he’s alone. My brother, my only brother is in prison. So, I am tormented between being there and to still engage in this, or between what Patanjali would say, walk away. But my father is not evil.
We don’t know what anybody would say. Don’t say “what Patanjali would say.” When Patanjali was around, there were no texts.
No, but I was talking about the four types of relationship. Those Karuna, Maitri, Mudita and Upeksha, and it’s the Sutra which talks about that. But with my dad, how many more years the torment will happen? Because he lets me hope in one moment and in another, not, and then I’m insulted, like my mother was for 62 years.
I’m losing you here. I’m losing the question. What are you asking?
I am asking, how can I change, in me, the perception? I tried to visualize him as a little child, as an innocent child, and I feel what’s happening. It’s so toxic. That part of me does not want to be engaged in that toxicity, practically speaking.
Do you know that they know the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink if they’re not thirsty?” The fact that it’s getting to you is good work, and not only that, your brother grew up in the same situation as you. So, he’s a part, the destruction of his heart is very similar to the destruction of your heart. So, it’s especially painful because you share the same abuse, and because of that abuse, you can’t even open up to each other.
You know, if you just try to calm yourself down, that’s all. You’re reacting blindly and immediately without any awareness at all. Slow down. If you can’t handle it, block him, goddammit. Just block him. You can block his texts. And you can say, “Look, I’m going to block you starting tomorrow if you keep on sending me this shit. I can’t handle it. I’m not big enough to handle it, and it’s hurtful, and I’m hurting, and if you don’t stop, I’m just going to block you and that’ll be that.”
But then again, you’ll see, you’re doing the same thing your father did to you.
As a friend, which you said it was, the guy who was not getting sober, and eventually you said, you know, “I’m done with you.” And it’s hard because it’s my father who introduced me to yoga when I was little, and music, and so there is a great codependence. But thank you so much. This is helpful, and I am very grateful and I will be going, doing more inside and softening and surrendering and chanting.
Good. Don’t try too hard. Okay? Just relax. That’s the thing.
Thank you very, very much, and everybody else…
Q: I was just wondering if you could offer some advice. When we know on a very, very, very deep, fundamental level, that our thoughts are not real, that our thoughts are illusion, that our very thoughts are the source of suffering, and we can see them very, very clearly, how it plays out within our daily lives, how it causes suffering for ourselves and for others, yet we repeatedly get sucked into the whole melodrama, and how to deal with the subsequent complete and utter desperation that falls out as a result of this?
Yeah. That’s great. Lucky guy. You can see it all. But let me point out one thing. Everything you just said is a thought.
Let go and come back to the sound of the Name. Don’t be the doer. You’re not going to transform yourself. You will be transformed by practice. And don’t get so attached to understanding it all. “Understanding it all,” quote unquote, which of course we’d never can do anyway, that’s just mental, conceptual stuff that just keeps flowing, and you pick some things you like, or you think this, you think you’re understanding, but you’re just thinking about it. It’s good to see, just like everything you’ve described is accurate, of course, but what’s the cure? Where’s the medicine for that? It’s in coming back. It’s in releasing the thoughts and coming back. Practice, and practice takes time, and patience, and sincerity, and relaxing. The tension and the tightness is a part of the issue. The tension and the tightness and all the experiences that we’ve had in our lives, it’s from all that stuff that all these thoughts and stuff gets propelled and gets the propulsion. So, the issue is how to, how to relax and let go.
And when you let go, in that moment, you’re not saying, “Wow, I just let go.”
That’s not letting go. Right? That’s more mind, self-judging, self-evaluating, positioning ourselves in the world. Yeah. “I’m here and I just go, wow, that’s really great. I’m really cool. I can do this. This is fantastic.” You know, and then you go bang yourself on a wall or something, you know?
So, when a kid is playing man, the kid doesn’t think, “Wow, I’m really playing. This is fantastic.” No, they just play. And that’s takes a tremendous amount of courage to let go, because we want to hold on to ourselves. We want to hold on to our, not only our stuff, but our sense of who we are. “I’m somebody who’s suffered a lot. I’ve gone through a lot. I’m going to overcome this.”
Ok. Now let go and do it.
A hundred percent.
So, you have to be kind to yourself. It’s so hard for us to do.
So true. So true. Thank you, KD.
Q: First, I wanted to start out by saying thank you. When I found your “Om Namah Shivaya” it had given me peace that I had been looking for, and the chanting comes so naturally. I like when you talk about remembering, because it was there all along. But I wanted to ask you, so thank you very much. I wanted to ask you if you would talk about Krishna Consciousness.
In what respect?
Just, you know, I chant the Krishna chant every morning and Krishna Consciousness, to me, is sitting in that place of connecting with the source, and I just wanted to, I know you said you don’t follow the religious rules or aspects of organized religion. So, I was wondering what you thought about Krishna Consciousness as a model.
You mean ISKCON? You’re talking about specifically ISKCON? The Hare Krishna movement?
Not that in itself, because I don’t want to join an organizational movement, but that devotion to Krishna is what I’m looking for. So, Krishna Consciousness is only that organization?
Well, no, that’s what they call themselves. “Krishna consciousness” means awareness of God. No organization can own that.
Right. And that’s why, because I’m lost to join any organizations, that I was doing some research on it, and I wasn’t sure.
No, I would definitely trust your heart. Trust your heart about it all. That’s what we need to do, learn to trust our hearts. Krishna Consciousness is a lineage that comes from the Vaishnava tradition of a great line of Gurus that go back to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in the past, who was one of the greatest saints that ever lived. If you’re attracted to that line of teaching, then you can join that. If you’re not, then you don’t have to. It’s up to you.
Nobody can give you what you already have. Different teachings can help us learn how to look and learn how to, teach us how to find that in a way that’s more useful to us. But, personally, I don’t feel any need to join any organization. My own Guru never had an organization. He never asked us to join anything. He never started a movement. He didn’t even have a successor, officially. He just walked off the stage and that was that, but his presence is always with us anyway. So, that’s just one way of doing things, and there’s another way of doing things. So, yeah, you have to be you. Don’t force yourself into a mold that you think you have to do something. Why would you do that?
It was more looking for like, community. And that’s why I came here today, to have these because, you know, I started teaching myself Sanskrit, actually, from doing the songs and the chanting and writing the words, but you know, going to temples, I’m not always, because I’ve looked into some of the temples around here.
Where are you?
I’m in south Florida. In south Florida by Fort Lauderdale. And I don’t know all the customs, I don’t know all the rules. I’m not really great with rules. So, I’m just looking for like-minded individuals to have conversations with and grow. That’s why, and then when I found kirtan, it made me very happy.
Yeah. It’s great to be able to sing with people, but it’s very hard to find situations where you can just sing with people without being asked to sign your first born away, or mortgage or your life to some kind of organization. I think you have to be patient. I think everything will come to you that you need as you need it. In the meantime, follow your heart and do what you’ve been doing. When the universe feels that you should have some satsang, you’ll have it. It’ll show up. But, I think it’s better for you to try to, for all of us, to remain receptive rather than aggressive in our search for love. Being receptive is what will lead us to our, the love that lives inside of us. Being aggressive will just get us in trouble and make more karmas.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. You ask somebody else, you’ll get somebody else’s opinion. So, but you see if it fits you, if it doesn’t, fine. If it does, fine.
I like a lot of the things you said in your satsang, especially, “start cleaning your heart mirror.”
Yeah. That’s what we can do. It doesn’t involve joining any organization, and the names of God do not, you do not need to be initiated in the names of God. The names of God are available to all at all times, and they don’t have to be given to you by any lineage.
I’m kind of like Groucho Marx, you know. You remember Groucho? He used to say he said he didn’t want to join any club that would actually let him in.
That’s about my speed.
And to me, that means that, you know, anything I can imagine or project, that I think would be good for me, for instance, even, that’s just my own projection. It’s not reality. So, I don’t want to be caught in my own projections. I want to find real love, not just follow my own projections. So, the best thing to do is relax and be with yourself and allow life to flow through you. And you’ll never, you never know what will happen.
Q: Hi. First of all, thanks from Germany for your work.
Aha, Germany. Wonderful. Thank you.
The thing is, you’ve literally just answered my question. I wanted to ask for you to talk about finding a Guru, if it’s something we can look for or, you know, the path will guide us, and I listened and I think I got my answer. So, since I love listening to your stories, maybe you can talk a little bit about the beginnings of your own way.
Yeah. Well, first thing is to recognize that, in reality, guru is not outside of us. Because we identify with the body and the mind and the emotions, we’re looking for love outside of ourselves. We feel it has to come from something else. We can’t tap into it ourselves. So, naturally, we just look outside of ourselves and then we find a situation that makes us feel better about ourselves, and we call that love. Somebody needs us. Somebody wants us. Somebody knows how to push the buttons to make us feel good and we call that love.
But as Mr. Tiwari used to point out to me, he said, “Love is what lasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s not something you get from someone.” Including a guru. Because a guru is not outside of us. Because we look through these kind of eyes and we see other bodies, yes, we might think that the Guru is that body, but it’s really what’s in that body, and what’s in that body is not different than what’s in this body, except what’s in that body knows that, and we don’t know that. So, when a Guru is in a physical body, they can help us in that way. When they’re not in a physical body, they can still help us, and they do help us, but not in the same way, and we don’t even recognize it because we’re not trained to recognize what happens within us in the same way as we are trained to decipher all the sense input that we get from the outside, the so-called outside world.
So, where are you going to go to look for a Guru? You know? When Maharajji left the body and I was completely out of my mind, running through the jungles of India, looking for him, because I knew that he had actually dropped one body and taken another and that he’s still in a body somewhere. There’s no question about it. So, I wanted to find it, and I would go, and I would meet these Sadhus in the jungle and I’d say, “I’m looking for my guru, where is he?” They’d look at me like I was crazy and said, “Your guru? He’s looking out of your eyes right now,” but we don’t see what’s looking out of our eyes. We only see what our eyes see, but not the seeing. And the seeing is called “Satchidananda.” Truth, consciousness or awareness, and joy, love, bliss.
So, a guru is whatever brings us into ourselves, and we may crave that interaction with the physical being or the physical manifestation of a guru, but if it’s not there, what are we going to do? Watch TV for the rest of our life? That’s one option. But the other option is to do a little practice and deal with the shit that’s making you think the Guru is outside of you, which is our own self-hatred and our own self-loathing and all the hurt and the pain that we carry in ourselves, which would prevent us from sitting deeply in our own hearts.
So, let’s do the work that we have to do ourselves, and not get caught in wishful thinking, which can never, which we have no control over. The past is gone. The future is not here. Now is what we have. And it’s now, now. And it’s now, now. And now it’s now. And next week, when you say, what time is it? It’s now. So, this is what we have to deal with, and there’s no sense blaming the universe for not sending us a Guru in a physical body. And there are so many people who, like myself, later after Maharajji, we were attracted to beings who are only too ready to control and manipulate us so they could get what they wanted, and so we got what we wanted. It was another business deal. But Maharajji didn’t do business. He didn’t manipulate. He didn’t need us around.
He used to say, “My mantra is ‘go away.’ You know? Because he’s everywhere. Where can you go where he’s not? The real guru is like that. So, these people who are out there claiming to be gurus, 99.9% of them are fakes, and at best, they’re just deluded, and at worst they’re vicious. So, don’t look for something outside of yourself. If you trip and fall into it, well, there you go. But in the meantime, be where you are and work on your stuff and try to heal the pain and the hurts that prevent us from allowing our hearts to open. That’s what we can do. More than that, we can’t do.
So, once we clean our hearts and make ourselves, make that mirror, shine that mirror, clean that mirror that is our hearts, then what’s reflected everywhere is the beauty that’s in there. So, that’s what we can do. What we can’t do is control the rest of universe, you know? So, might as well stop trying. That’s all I’ve got to say.
Thanks for the reminder, and one thing more, I love your humor. Thanks for that, too.
Thank you. You need it. If you’re me, you need to be able to laugh at yourself.
Oh yeah. Always.
Yeah. Right. Thank you. Nice to meet you.
Q: So good to see you all. Thank you for putting together these Chai and Chats. They have been very helpful and sort of a Sangha feeling from a distance.
For sure. Absolutely. I agree with you. Yeah.
I wanted to give, thanks for your advices on this text that sometimes you talk about. Especially lately. I’ve been reading Tulasi Das, and I actually found a copy of the Ramacharita Manasa in Spanish.
Really? Wow, fantastic.
And I just wanted to share a short story about how I got into the Chalisa. It was the first time I listened to you, because it actually is related with Tulasi Das, one way or another one. So, recently I read a blog from Jai Uttal of a poem called Hanumana Bahuk, and in that post, he talks that Tulasi Das used to have a cancer like illness in his arm, and when he was about to die in Benares, and what happened to me is, I was very rejective to yoga and to kirtan and mantras. I didn’t like it at all, and two years ago, a month or so after my mom passed away, I was passing through a lot of, not just inner pain, but a lot of, repercussions on my body, and then starting to think, I started having a hole in my hand, like here, like a big hole start growing, and then I didn’t pay attention. I thought it was just like an infection, but then I went to the jungle and it got bigger and bigger and bigger, until a day in December of 2017, when it was so big that I needed to go to the hospital.
So, I went there and then this woman tells me, “Oh, that’s, Leishmania.” And I was freaked out. I mean, it doesn’t have any cure. So, I was sort of lost. I tried to find a plan, medicines and everything, and I was so deep in this, into this real sort of dark night of soul of my life, and in a certain moment, I just gave up. I was having these two, like deep illnesses at the same time. And that night I was feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin, I was laid down on bed, and then I, there was a playlist of relaxing music playing on Spotify. And suddenly I heard for first time, the Hanuman Chalisa, and it was actually the Sundara Chalisa, and for 20 seconds, I had a very short near death experience where something, somehow, somewhere, pulled me out of my body, and I was able to see my suffering body, and something just let me saw that I was not that suffering, that I was passing through that, but it was not my illness. And then suddenly I came back and I just kept reading. And the pain’s still there. Everything was as fucked up as before, but the mantra was playing. So, I let it play for about three days, just day and night, day and night, day and night, and on the third day, somebody called me and offered me a medicine that actually helped me heal, an indigenous medicine. But the peculiar part here was that, when I went out of the ceremony, the healer looked to me and he said, “Whatever you’re doing, whatever you have been residing, just keep doing it and stay alone for 30 days.”
So, actually that was the first time when I started looking at your webpage and reading more about Ram Dass and then I go to Neem Karoli Baba. So, I just wanted to share this story because the mantra has been there all of this time and daily, and in the last Chai and Chat, I asked you about the Sri Bajarang Baan, and you shared a word about bija mantra. Could you explain a little bit more on what is it and how, how does that work?
Yeah, I’m not an expert on that kind of stuff, but bija means “seed” and those seed mantras are powerful sounds that have a tremendous amount of power to cut through everything. Like “hung” is one. “Om Mani Padme Hung.” The Jewel in the Lotus of the heart. Brings it right there. So, those kinds of mantras, and the Bajarang Baan, there’s a number of seed syllables like that. Seed mantras. And they need to be pronounced fairly correctly. They shouldn’t be mispronounced. Not that I think, it’s not going to hurt anybody much, but it certainly won’t help that much, but that being said, it’s a little bit difficult to get the right pronunciation of them. But the idea is that they’re powerful and they can, and they’re all, in the Bajarang Baan, all those bija mantras refer to Hanumanji. They’re all about Hanuman, who’s all about helping us anyway.
So, “Hun, Hun, Hun, Hanumanta Kapisha,” you know. It’s like that, and they say that sadhus in the jungle will repeat that Bajarang Baan when they get scared, like when there’s wild animals around or demons or negative forces. It’s good at dissipating those negative forces, and it’s something I do every day because Siddhi Ma asked me to do it every day.
Can you talk a little bit about the connection between, you have talked several times about the Kalachakra, Tantra and Hanuman, and I’ve been feeling very curious about it, because sometime I was like pushing away kirtan and mantras because I started moving forward in certain Buddhist practices. So, I was confused, you know, like Tenzin, non-Tenzin, this and that, but then you told that story and that’s sort of like helped me a little bit.
Yeah. It’s all the same, more or less. All these different paths lead to the same goal, which is our own nature, Buddha nature, God, and you could call it whatever you want to call it, you call it, and Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism are nothing but mantra. I mean, mantra and awareness practice. Om Mani Padme Hung, Vajrasattva mantra, they’re all mantras, and those mantras are, you get usually empowered by your Lama, who gives them special strength for you. Not Om Mani Padme Hung, but there’s more esoteric mantras.
But you know, the Kalachakra Tantra is a very, very, very, very, very, very powerful practice. It’s a worldview where, the continual rising of negative forces is continually destroyed by the positive forces, age after age. You know, the darkness arises because we’re also full of ourselves and selfish and hurtful and aggressive and nasty and all that, and that builds up and builds up, and then the positive energy flows and destroys that negativity. And then we start again, getting stupid. So, it’s the same story in the Ramayana that’s told in the Kalachakra. The demonic forces get strong, powerful, and decide that they’re going to try to destroy the kingdom of Shambala, which is the holy land, or the holy sacred realm, and so the king of Shambala, who is actually analogous to the next Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, which is also analogous to the next avatar, the Kalki avatar, which is also analogous to the Siddha of Siddhapur, the land of the Siddhas. It’s like this. So, they gathered their forces and then the army of the good guys goes out and destroys the army of the bad guys, and the two generals are Shiva and Hanuman. And then the king of Shambala, who is the same as Ram and Krishna and all the other avatars, goes out and fights with the demon, who’s the same as Ravana, and destroys the demon and liberates the world from the demonic energy.
Same story over and over and over, age after age, cycle after cycle. Now, you’ve got to recognize, who’s telling you the story, me, some schmuck from New York. If you spoke to some Lama, he may tell it to you differently. But my understanding is what I’ve told you, and I found that in a book about the Kalachakra, where the preface was written by his holiness, the Dalai Lama. So, it can’t be wrong, but it might not be quite as accented or emphasized the way I’m emphasizing.
But it said, Rudra and Hanuman were the two generals. And the other thing that, first of all, Maharajji always went, “Sab ek,” all one. Many names, many paths, all lead to the same goal. And he was recognized by many Lamas as being a bodhisattva, you know, an enlightened being.
You can be confused by it all, or you can just say, “Okay, I can’t understand it all, but it looks pretty good. I think I’ll just go this way. Yeah. And I’m not worried about it.”
I think I’m on that side. Just let it be.
It’s the easier side to be on. I think.
I heard Daniel Goldman in a podcast saying that his holiness, the Karmapa, maybe never met Neem Karoli, but there was another Lama who visited there, and he was said as a Maha Siddha, you know?
Yeah. Well, actually the previous Karmapa never met Maharajji, the 16th Karmapa, but he knew of Maharajji, and when he saw his picture, he said, “Bodhisattva.” He said, “The teachings of all bodhisattvas are the same, even if they appear different.” And then he pointed to his altar and he said, “You see those statutes there? Those are the Mahasiddhas,” and he pointed to Maharajji, and he said, “Mahasiddha. Mahasiddha,” like that.
So, and then he offered to give my friend, Larry Brilliant and his wife, Girija, give refuge to them, which is a great honor that the Karmapa would offer that. So, the next day there was a ceremony organized on the roof of the temple in Sikkim, I think, and all of a sudden, Larry got nervous and he said to the Karmapa, “Your Holiness , do I have to give up my Guru to take refuge with you?” And the Karmapa said, “No.” He said, “I’m going to offer you refuge in your guru, the way I offer refuge in the Buddha. I’m going to offer you refuge in your work,” the medical work, where he was in the process of destroying smallpox. “In your work, the same as I offer refuge in the Dharma, I’m going to offer you refuge in your satsang, in your, the devotees of Maharajji, in the same way as I offer refuge in the Sangha.”
So, next. What are you going to worry about now? You know, the Karmapa was one of the greatest Saints that ever lived, and he saw it all from a place of clarity. So, let people argue that they can do what they do, but these things happened just like I said.
Thank you. Gracias.
Yeah. Be well. I’m very happy you are feeling good.
Q: Thanks for taking my question, which I’m going to attempt to formulate here. So, I have been on a journey that has included a lot of physical symptoms and chronic illness, pain and auto-immune conditions, and so it set me off on this path a number of years ago, of seeking to find answers, which has led me down a completely different path, and I probably would’ve intended or thought that I was going to go down, and so it kind of felt like one door after another continued to open, and I have made gains as far as improvement in my health and symptoms, but there was kind of always and continues to be, pieces, which I suppose this is just humans being human. Right? It’s going to always open to something else that we have to face or kind of figure. And so, this year I asked the question. I figured, “Okay, I’m still having physical pain that I am not able to, to manage,” but like, what’s the underlying cause? Like , “Why am I continuing to have pain?”
And so, I came to the idea that there could be something hidden, like in my body, like emotionally, like trauma or, it kind of opened that door to like, childhood, inner child work, shadow, work, that kind of thing. And so, I didn’t really know where that was going to take me, but recently, something happened and it kind of opened my eyes and I realized that it was a part of the answer to my ask, so to speak. And so, I was shown that I have been a part of a cycle of abuse for, I would say about 30 years. I think, you know, there’s a part of me that always knew that that was there, but it became very apparent, and actually something came out of me. I lashed out in such a way that was uncharacteristic for me and was actually really frightening, to see that I lashed out at this person who the abuse had been coming from for all of these years.
And so, that person’s my stepfather and he’s with my mother, and my mother has been my best friend, and I am her pretty much like number one confidant, and have been very, very loyal to her. My stepfather’s a narcissist and so there’s been a lot of me accommodating and people pleasing, and so that kind of stuff’s been going on in my life for a really long time. And so, I have actually since separated myself from them, and that’s a different reality for me to be in, because my mom’s usually a part of my daily life. And so, I’m kind of in this spot where I’m attempting to be with and kind of understand, but also I don’t really know what it is, you know, that it, that I’m attempting to understand. And we’re kind of talking about cleaning our hearts and like, doing the work and working with the hurt and the pain, and that’s kind of the spot that I’m at right now, and I’m kinda like, “Hmm.”
I mean, I assume that what’s going to happen is I’m just gonna like, relax into that and accept that that’s my spot right now, and that doors will open, and people will come and you know. I listen to chants every day and I chant every day and that’s absolutely, like probably the most therapeutic, like amazing outlet for me, currently, but you know, I had always kind of done this stuff, which, it’s the human condition, I think. Most of us can relate to like, getting in my own way constantly, like living with fear-based thoughts, like kind of chopping myself apart and down and not really living up to my potential. And I kind of always was like, “What is going on? Like, what is the underlying, you know?”
And so, that’s kind of where I’ve been and the seeking has continued to bring me, you know, little by little more and more answers. It’s a very like ebb and flow kind of a situation, which I think is obviously the human condition, too. Like when you talk about being in sync with like your guru or like in that spot where you’re vibing high and feeling good versus, you know, that human spot where everything feels like shit and you can’t even quite, you know, like access that in the moment. So, I guess I’m just kind of at that spot where like, I’m wondering if you have any insights. First off, like anything that I said, and then second, like that cleaning the heart and like, you know, getting to that spot where we are like, cleaning up the mess. I’d love like any kind of insight that you might have to share about that.
Well, the way things are, in this moment, is the result of the past. The past can’t be changed. It already happened and the future is not here yet. So what we have is now, and everything that’s in us, all the betrayals, all the hurt, all the pain, all the anger that’s sitting in there, a lot of it is unconscious and underneath the radar, and we can only see it, like you say, when you lash out.
“Where did that come from?” You know? “It came from me,” you know, “a part of me that I wasn’t aware of.”
And you know, the thing you say about your mother, she’s made her choice to be with this guy. And she continues every day to make that choice. And that has to be very painful for you to live with. So that’s very difficult to deal with and it throws you back on yourself and you can’t help but feel alone, and no matter how much your mother loves you and cares for you, she’s still made these choices that have created a lot of pain for you in your life. So, she’s complicit in the situation, and you have to kind of recognize that and that’s very painful.
However, that’s okay. You’re still here. There are a lot of people who you can’t say that about in a similar situation. They’ve been so damaged and so hurt that they’re just in orbit out past Pluto and they ain’t coming back, you know, but you’re here and that’s fantastic, and it may not be very pleasant or comfortable, but it’s amazing actually, if you really think about it, and that’s a testament to your depth, which you may not even be aware of, but the fact is that it’s here. You’re here and it’s that basic being here with it and not having been destroyed by it, it’s in that being here with it that liberating yourself from it will come. Just the fact that you’re here, because it means that’s the part of you that’s not at all caught up in all the reaction and the emotionality. You’re just here. So that’s your real strength. That’s your anchor.
Now, it’s very hard to focus on that from where we are in our daily lives. That’s where the chanting comes in. The chanting automatically separates us somewhat from the flow of thoughts and emotions. It’s not going to be like one button you push and then, “Ah, free.” No, it’s going to be getting used to the fact that the chanting allows you to let go of stuff and just be. It’s what we add to our lives to come back to. So the more we get comfortable with that, which in some ways means the more kind we are to ourselves and allow ourselves to let go again, and again, and again, the more that will function, the more at ease we get in that space of not being of not being glued to the negative emotions.
So, it’s not like you have to force yourself to do anything. You just have to allow yourself to be present as much as you can every day and do some cultivation work, like you do the chanting. So, you chant. Nothing could be better. That’s great. And if you want help in extricating yourself on a conceptual level, then do some counseling and therapy. But the strength to let go comes from the chanting. But it is useful sometimes to explore all the memories and the stuff on that level itself. Because as you become aware of things, that’s when you can let go. When you’re unaware, you can’t let go. You’re caught and identified.
So, whatever you’re doing sounds like it’s really good. Then you should just keep going and give yourself a break. And it won’t always be like this. It won’t always be such a struggle. As you feel more at ease in yourself and allow yourself to be more at ease in life, your choices will change, too. Where you spend your time. Just automatically. You don’t have to change them. Different things will appeal to you that never appealed to you before, because you were too much focused over here on this. But as that widens, you know, “Oh, why don’t I do that?” And then those are the things that will be more positive in terms of releasing the negative energy.
So, you know, as you become more compassionate to yourself, and as we become more compassionate to ourselves, we become more compassionate to others because we see how fucking hard it is to deal with this shit. And then we see the people who, in some ways, or the conspirators that we absorbed this from, we see, “Wow, if it’s so hard for me, how much must they be suffering? Even if they don’t know it, how much fear they must have, how much anger, how much shame, and how much guilt.” I mean, they’re, they’re completely inundated with it. They’re not going to be able to free themselves of it. And that just naturally allows compassion to arise. Not idiot compassion. Not like, “Oh, I want to help them.” No. That’s not going to happen. You’re going to help them by freeing yourself. And then whatever happens, happens with them, without them, in relationship to them. But the freer you are and the more at ease you are with yourself as a being who is engaged in this daily longing to be free of suffering, that’s going to help everybody around you without you even trying.
So, whatever you have to do, whatever your heart leads you to do to work with this stuff, just go for it. Give it a hundred percent. It’s all good.
I actually have already started some of that phase that you were kind of talking about where I do feel like I’m in a bit of that spot where I’m letting go and surrendering, and also just being receptive and open to the things that feel good. So, like, I do meditate regularly, which is something that I started a couple of months ago. And so, to me, that’s really big. Like I used to get in my way. I wouldn’t do the things that I knew would get me to the next spot or the next level, and so I actually had to get with myself and say, “Look, you know that you’re asking, you’re seeking and you keep getting these answers, you keep getting these clues, like these pings of intuition and whatnot.” And I was ignoring them. And so I got to this spot where I was like, “Okay, well, in order to get to the next level, you have to have some discipline. You have to kind of just allow yourself to have the space to actually learn and grow.” And so, by actually making that a daily practice, you know, then it opened up the door to other spots where it was like, “Okay, well, you know, listen to chanting everyday, because you know that you live and breathe, like when you’re doing that.” And then, you know, like, “Open yourself up to art and things like that.” So, it’s, you know, amazing to me. I made the commitment to myself and that commitment has started to open many other doors that do feel good and therapeutic.
There’s this other spot when you were talking about, you know, once I have this compassion for myself or, you know, us as humans, we’re figuring out the compassion piece, like how we’re able to have compassion for others, it’s a little bit of a slippery slope for me in terms of the fact that like, I’m also thinking about my parents and like, I’ve always been the one that’s been there for them and I’ve always excused the behavior and, you know, I have been betrayed, even by my mom, like openly betrayed by her, and she continuously talks about like, well, what, what would it be like if she did something else? And so, she gets my hopes up that she’s going to, you know, leave the situation. And now I’m kinda to this spot where I’m fed up, you know, it’s been so long and I’m fed up, and I’m like, okay. But it’s also hard because obviously, you know, she’s like my person. I’m her person. And I think to myself, God, life is so short. And so, you know, what is the outcome that I want? And I guess that’s the question that I don’t have the answer to yet. I don’t know what the outcome is that I want. I know I have to be patient because it’s a new development, but it’s also like, do I extend compassion? You know, do I think about, I know that obviously this stuff comes from his upbringing, his childhood, that the person that raised him, yada yada, yada down the line. So, it’s like, but there’s a part of me is it’s like so strange. It’s like we’re walking this line between boundaries and like, having compassion and you know, it makes me feel like it’s excusing the behavior, which I’ve obviously done. I’ve allowed that to play out for all of these years. It’s just this precarious spot where it’s like, well, where am I now? But I know that nobody can really answer that for me, except for me. And I don’t have the answer yet.
Well, you do have the answer, but it’s confusing. You know, my friend, Sylvia Bornstein, a meditation teacher said, “You can throw somebody out of your life, but you don’t have to throw them out of your heart.”
You can have a boundary, but you don’t have to hate them. The hate is your problem. The anger is your work on yourself. But that doesn’t mean you have to allow them to trample over you, over and over again, and compassion isn’t something you do, either. The more you understand your own situation and feel your own, that’ll expand. It won’t mean that you open up yourself for more abuse. It just means you can understand it and in understanding it, the edge is taken off of it. You can still say, “Well, that really sucks,” but at the end, you can not allow it to happen anymore, but you recognize what it is, and compassion doesn’t mean opening yourself to more abuse. Not at all. In fact, compassion, when you’re truly compassionate, it means you overcome any selfish desires, like feeling a certain way, even. So, there’s no you anymore. There’s no me anymore. There’s only presence. And real compassion means just allowing other people to be who they are. That includes you. You have to allow yourself to be who you are, and that is somebody who will not be trampled anymore. But it’s not something you have to do. Once you recognize what’s going on, you’re no longer a victim of it. You’ve been victimized, but when you recognize what’s going on and you see it clearly, then it’s not the same.
So even when you’re in the presence of these people, like it, it changes, I assume see, I haven’t been back since this occurred. And so, I am kind of assuming that that’s what you mean. That if I were in his presence again, that perhaps I would feel differently just with this new awareness.
Well, at some point, maybe not right away. I mean, these things, these are deep things, you know. I mean, we have so many conflicting emotions. You know, as victims of abuse, or as targets of abuse, we’ve already made, we’ve already given up our, we’ve given up our sense of right and wrong almost, and we’ve allowed the abuse to make us feel guilty. So, we’ve already sold ourselves out.
You know, they say the lesson of betrayal is trust. The lesson that we learned from being betrayed by the outside world, by other people, is eventually we learn to trust ourselves. It’s a very fierce teaching, and we’re always betrayed by the outside world, because it will never give us what we want. Ever. Really. We can never find the love we’re looking for out there. We can find some kind of affection, et cetera, et cetera. But the real love is who we are and that’s with us all the time. But when we’ve been weakened by having been made to feel as if we deserve this abuse in a way, because when you’re young, you can’t, you take it onto yourself, and you’re not conscious of that. So, it goes in pretty deep.
So don’t worry about being compassionate now. And don’t throw yourself back into the fire if you’re going to get burnt. There’s no reason to do that to yourself. Develop a relationship with them, whatever it is, that doesn’t compromise what you want, whether it means not talking to them, whether it means not going. It’s okay. Take time off. Let it rest. Let it settle. There’s no compulsion for you to solve this situation. It’s not yours to solve. It’s yours to be you and start to feel good about yourself and let that blossom.
So, here’s a little poem from Rumi.
“Burning with longing fire, waiting, wanting to sleep with my head on your doorsill. My living is composed only of this, trying to be in your presence. I’ve lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on the door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside.”
We’re looking out there, but we’re really already inside. And this is where we live, inside ourselves. This is where everything is, but because we’ve needed attention and kindness and caring and physical help to exist, we’ve had to sell ourselves to get that stuff. And we’ve had to deny ourselves in order not to confront difficult situations, painful situations.
So, we’ve got a lot of habits already, of behavior that has been really hurting ourselves. So, just take it easy. Relax. Take it easy. Let go. Take it easy. Don’t force yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel comfortable to you. There’s no reason. Why would you do that? It’s not your job to run the world and to change other people. Your job is to be you. So be the best you, you can, the most open, complete. Just be who you are. Find out what that means also. And you should feel good about the amount of presence you have , and the way you’ve been dealing with this already has been really great and just keep going. That’s all you have to do. Listen to your heart. Listen to your heart. That’s all you have to do. Okay.
It’s good to be with everybody, and let’s also recognize that the situation now in the world makes all this stuff, it’s like shooting it up with steroids. It just makes it more powerful, more difficult to deal with more anxiety, more intensity, because we’re locked up with our minds and our stuff in a way that’s unprecedented in the history of the world, as far as we can tell. So be easy. Take it easy. Be kind. Let’s be kind to ourselves as best we can, not to cause more suffering to ourselves. It’s hard enough. Let’s just give ourselves space and be present as best we can. Be with the stuff and try to untangle all the reactions that we have to everything all day long, by just letting ourselves calm down a little bit every day. Whenever you think of it, just take a couple of breaths and let go. You’re washing dishes, take a breath and let go. You’re watching TV. Take a breath in the commercials. If there’s no commercials, just pause the thing, take a breath and then start again. Practice letting go. Practice just letting go. That’s so important. That’s really a big thing. Okay. So good to be with you again, and I’ll see you soon.