The Blessing or Curse of the Writer: Sharing Experience
The desire to share experience is equally true of photographers, artists and the like—people who try to share their perceptions, feelings and thoughts with others through some type of different medium of one or two dimensions. Yet sometimes thinking of an experience (or extracting the creative angle) as it is happening makes one less present in the moment. I have taken photos and videos at some Temple functions, and felt like I missed the whole thing!
My usual means of sharing experience is what you are reading. I think I am very balanced in my “observer’s eye” in that I really have to work at turning it on. It doesn’t come that naturally for me like with some writers. Someone (?) sent me a book today about a poet/gardener now in his 90’s who has always loved words, and writing about nature and his garden. His mood of observation and being in the moment is very impressive to me, as I was such a dull, unobservant, and uncreative child. In my current “later years” I am much more present than I could have ever dreamed as a child!
I have reasoned though that had I been more “with it” in regards to life, I might not have become a devotee. I mean this in the sense that due to my perception of personal suffering I didn’t have much attraction or attachment for the world, thus propelling me to seek alternatives. I don’t mean in any way that everyone has to be like me to take to Krishna consciousness. For instance, our Shrila Prabhupada was fully present in the world, yet focused in the spiritual reality. That was useful for him in his service to others.
My particular conditioning has been both favorable and problematic for my spiritual growth. It is better to be “with it” and a devotee, then to have to burn out and then, almost by force, come to Krishna. This was the way I and many devotees of my era came to Krishna. Although we all have to understand the shortcomings of material life and the true solution of the holy name and bhakti practices, we don’t have to all, “bottom or burn out”. One person’s food is anothers' poison. In any case we have to all have a necessity for Krishna by some attraction for him and the process of developing love for him.
For the most part our children—the second and third generation devotees of Krishna—appear to be “good karma” kids, and they will have to find their own way to fully take shelter of Krishna, as they haven’t suffered in the same way. The real determination of our taking to Krishna consciousness is our past life’s sukriti, or stock of spiritual practices, and our ability to take advantage of sadhu sanga (saintly association), not be overcome by sensuality, and thus being able to absorb our self in bhatki or devotional service.
Back to sharing experience: Isn’t it like water in the ocean on the Internet? On the public sites like FaceBook (which I also frequent) it is often banal and boringly mundane to—rarely—the sublime, and everything in between. I do a lot of writing about the tradition of Gaudiya or Chaitanya Vaishnavism, its spiritual practices and special observances, yet even in my more descriptive writing or free verse, I do my best to include some connection to spirituality and seeing things in relationship to Krishna. From my perspective if my writing has no spiritual knowledge it has little value. Although I do write as a means of creative expression, I want to do so in such a way that there can be some transcendental benefit to my readers, or something to make the readers think in a different way.
One of the main problems with modern entertainment is that in movies, TV or video games, the characters rarely (practically never) pray for help, or refer to any kind of spiritual, divine, or even religious perspective. These actors seem at best agnostic, and at worst atheistic, though they are usually quiet about it. How many conversations have you heard about the miseries of material existence and the spiritual alternatives? There was one X-man who prayed the rosary, but he was the strange one. Certainly there are sad stories and miserable characters, yet no real, spiritual solutions are given.
As far as my blogging here, although I can see how many people visit the various blogs, for me the main difficulty is that I have no idea who I am speaking to. There are a handful of regulars and then it is anyone’s guess. It reminds me of giving a Sunday feast lecture in many ISKCON temples. Every week there are many new people, often from India, who have different understandings of religion and preferred manifestations of Divinity. Thus it can be difficult to say something that will be relevant to everyone. At least that is my feeling as I want to connect with the audience in a way that makes Krishna consciousness appealing and universal. I have my own style of speaking, and I don’t know if it is always appropriate. Never the less I do my best in that situation, and also here. So please feel free to suggest topics for me to speak about.
I am also aware that like my regular job I just lost, my blogging here is a gift that could be withdrawn at any time, or some calamity could happen where I would be unable to write or express myself. Krishna is very kind to me and all of us, and I do my best to regularly give thanks for my many blessings. And when reverses happen we also need to understand that it is meant for our good. In intense grief we may not be able to hear this, yet at some point we will find the pearl if we are willing to look.
My desire is to share my life as a devotee with you, and also whatever I know about Krishna consciousness. As I have shared in many blogs, life is about giving, and I see my writing as my humble attempt to give to others, and make the esoteric path of Krishna consciousness accessible. The attempt is good for me and I am grateful for the opportunity to share Krishna in all his diverse manifestations.
At the end of this month we have the appearance of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the manifestation of Krishna for this age. He is Krishna playing the role of a devotee of Krishna to teach us how to love Krishna. Although he is giving us the holy name as the yuga dharma (means of self realization for the times we live in) he is also giving us the secret and highest conception of the intimate love of Radha and Krishna. He should know since he is the combined form of Radha and Krishna. He has come to taste the love Radha has for Krishna! I will be speaking more about this in the weeks to come. Hare Krishna!