Be Who You Really Are!

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(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Soul taking off body close up
(Since I have a new audience, I thought I would continue to repost some of my favorite blogs [this one from 11-11-11] that are related to my current themes about personal growth, power, and a sense of mission. I am focused on these topics because many of us aren't using our full potential of allotted power, or energy given by Krishna, and thus are dissatisfied due to being diverted from making our special, natural contribution. To give you an example, my mission is to provide encouragement and inspiration to my readers or listeners to be the best persons they can in the pursuit of bhakti, or loving devotional thoughts and actions to please God, or Krishna. In this blog I point to the power of spiritual positive thinking while depending on Krishna. Real humility comes not artificially, but as a by-product of our spiritual development. With Krishna's help and our faithful thoughts and actions, all things are possible.) :

In the face of all our apparent problems, mistakes, and perceived failings and shortcomings, it is absolutely essential to remember our spiritual identity as a soul who is part of Krishna. This spiritual understanding is the solution to all problems and is the success of our life. You aren’t that body—remember? Don’t get so caught up in life as to deny this, or please consider this view if you have never thought of applying it practically. Bodily identification which is created and fostered by false ego—that most insidious and subtle element—encourages us to defend our misconceptions, and thus causes all our conflicts with others and unhappiness. Rather than looking inward, we think we need to add things on to our lives for fulfillment—of course, this is good for the economy!

Many of us suffer from low self-esteem, or a very poor opinion of ourselves, or we may display an inflated grandiose view of ourselves to cover this up (the dirty secret of our unworthiness). Some may not really have faith in the spiritual goal, and so remain with what they think is certain—however miserable or mediocre that may be. We may want to distract ourselves by remaining very busy so we don’t have to spend too much time thinking of our wounded, hurt self—or we may always be blaming others for our problems.

Low self-esteem is part of bodily consciousness or thinking we are our sad story. We aren’t! You are a glorious spiritual being, part of the Supreme Good, Shri Krishna. Say this out loud: “I am a glorious spiritual being, part of the Supreme Good, Shri Krishna.” Our spiritual identity is meant to (because it is!) be our joy!

If you feel bad affirming the glory of your spiritual identity, then in my opinion, you have spiritual work to do. “But we are supposed to be humble,” you say. Humility is essential, yet it doesn’t mean identifying with our low material conception of who we think we are. Spiritual advancement includes humility, as well as joyful confidence in our relationship to Krishna, which creates enthusiasm to serve. False humility depresses one and leads to inaction.

We are not God, but a servant of God. As part of Him we have his same pure spiritual nature. We are small, tiny, and infinitesimal—that should help us be humble (as well as remembering the saintly)—yet we are so much more than we are settling for in the material world of lack, limitation, and doubt—doubting ourselves, others, life, and God.

Jadurani Radha Krishna closeup
Don’t argue for your shortcomings or limitations, affirm you Divinity, as part of the Whole. This will take you much further! We become what we think about all day long, so remember Krishna and your spiritual nature! Hare Krishna!

Believe in the possible.

You may or may not be able to change external situations, life may be what it is, yet you can, with Krishna’s help, change yourself, or your consciousness and your attitude. This is what our spiritual practice is about.

Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary.

There is no failure, only feedback. No one is defeated unless they give up!

I find strength not only from our Gaudiya tradition, but from any religion, spiritual tradition, or insightful person. A famous quote from a Christian minister can inspire us: “I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than attempt to do nothing and succeed.” And being a more spiritually vibrant and positive person by remembering our soul, the Vaishnava devotees, and Krishna, (or God as you understand him), is a great thing, the most important thing. We certainly hope to help our family, temple, community, country, and the greater family of the world, yet we will be able to do that to the highest degree the more spiritually situated we are.

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I would suggest that you make the above affirmation about our true spiritual nature one of yours, instead of negative self-talk about how bad, fallen, and lowly you are. If you think you are fallen and lowly, then surely you don’t deserve the mercy of Krishna even if it is personally handed to you, and you might as well just stay in the material world and feel sorry for yourself! Please don’t do that to yourself.

Let your light shine, don’t empower your darkness.

Chant the holy name sincerely, pray fervently, and read the scriptures about who God is and who you are in relationship to him.
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If you are sad or depressed, then do something about it (I realize it is not always so easy, yet we at least have to say it, since staying the same isn’t a real option). Inaction, or sitting on the fence doesn’t change anything. Find some enlivening and favorable, faithful, spiritually strong association. Take a risk and ask for help. You will not know if you don’t make the attempt.

Affirm your divinity! Armed with yoga, take a stand on the Battlefield of life.

Be a spiritual warrior; see your problems as challenges and opportunities for service.

Slay the old limiting self, and let your spiritual-self awaken; arise like the Phoenix from the ashes of your old misconceptions.
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This isn’t a matter of just pumping you up with encouraging words, or glossing over your problems. I am speaking of a change of consciousness which will change your life, gradually, step by step, moment by moment. This is about allowing you to make a decision to change and accept your true identity. Though this isn’t done overnight, it still has to be begun, and fostered, and sometimes revived. Krishna has his loving ways to get our attention—often painfully—to remind us of our real shelter and goal in life, beyond our self-created duties and distractions. Since we are conditioned souls, it is so easy to forget the spiritual truths we have learned. Therefore, we have to remind one another. This is my attempt in writing this blog.

I don’t speak down to you from the mountain top, but with you in the trenches of life. Though the details of our lives differ, we all suffer from our lack of spirituality. What I speak, I also have to apply. I teach what I most need to learn. __/\__’O__

Here is my expanded version of a prayer by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu which I hope you will think about in relationship to today’s discussion: “I am not a priest or intellectual; I am not a leader or warrior; I am not a businessman or farmer; I am not an artist, artisan, or even a worker. Neither am I a male or female, fat or thin, ugly or beautiful, intelligent or foolish, rich or poor, black or white, Indian or American, Christian or Hindu (or any other material designations you relate with). I also have nothing to do with any social or spiritual stage of life. There are all bodily misidentifications. Though they must be acknowledged, I know they have nothing to do with the real me, or my eternal soul. I must identify myself as an eternal part of the Spiritual Whole (Shri Krishna, lover of his devotees), created to be an instrument for the good of all.”

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Thank You

This was a very encouraging post. I find the bhakti philosophy a very positive one. I was a Christian for over a decade and we always heard about how broken and depraved our souls were. The idea that we are whole and complete but that our identities are covered in layers of maya waiting to be realized, to me, makes a lot more sense especially when I consider the theological implications of both scenarios.

One question though...

"I would suggest that you make the above affirmation about our true spiritual nature one of yours, instead of negative self-talk about how bad, fallen, and lowly you are. If you think you are fallen and lowly, then surely you don’t deserve the mercy of Krishna even if it is personally handed to you,"

Do you think we deserve Krishna's mercy?...I have never really thought all too much about that question, I just always assumed we didn't..but I'd like to hear if you have any thoughts towards it...

Thank you again for an inspiring and thought provoking post.

Hare Krishna!

Not limiting Krishna

Mercy and grace by definition are undeserved. We have two sides of material consciousness--thinking we are the best or the worst. For most of us, our low opinion of ourselves is based on our material experience, or a reaction to growing up and hearing a lot of criticism, or acting in ways we feel bad about. This isn't real humility, but false humility. Real humility doesn't cause depression or inaction, but inspires one to enthusiastically serve, as it comes from realization of the greatness, beauty, and wonder of Krishna--not from being beaten down by the material energy. So we have a low opinion of ourselves--this is our material self, and will cause us to be a negative thinker and not to believe we deserve anything but misery and thus we attract more of that into our life and miss opportunities, not noticing the good that is all around us. That is what I am speaking about--the false humility that keeps us stuck in unhappiness and misery, and that fails to see the positive, but only notices the negative--or the conformation of our limiting belief system. Real humility is spiritual and includes confidence that Krishna will help us in ways we may not be expecting. In a sense we serve to attract grace. We don't deserve it, and yet happily expect it, and look for it. We generally notice or find what we are looking for, or give energy to. If you think people are bad, you find so much evidence; if you think people are good, you find so much evidence. When you feel bad about yourself, you certainly don't deserve mercy, and so you don't look for or expect it even when it comes to you. When you realize that your soul is lovable and good in essence, although you don't deserve mercy as in a right, you keep a spiritually positive attitude by knowing that Krishna is merciful to his devotees, and thus you expect it, though you don't know what form it will take.

The unknown basics

The idea is to use or senses and possessions in Krishna's service, not deny them or be used by them, but to know they will not be lasting or ultimately bring us the happiness we seek. Said a different way, we are a dedicating unit of spiritual consciousness--an eternal indivisible individual part of Krishna. A friend told me after reading the above, that it is good to remember the basics, yet as basic as this is, the idea that we have value to Krishna, that he loves us, and doesn't buy into our tiny conception of self is often missed even by older devotees. I am trying to balance the idea of our being infinitesimal in relationship to Krishna, yet powerful compared to matter. There are many aspects of the philosophy that require such harmonizing adjustment.

Swarup Hebel wrote me the following: "There was once some discussion about how this person and that were helping the movement and how George Harrison was donating for printing Krishna Book and John let the devotees stay at his place, etc. ... and so the talk was 'oh he is a nice boy' and 'yes, he too .. he is also very nice ...' until finally Srila Prabhupada said that everyone is by nature nice since we are all part and parcel of the Supreme Nice."

I wrote back: "Part of the Supreme Nice! Thanks Swarup! As Prabhupada said, "Give this one life to Krishna!" so to me, what I shared is part of that long haul of doing the needful, dealing compassionately with our conditioned self, while we understand its temporary existence, and that our real nature is pure spirit part the Supreme Beloved, Dear-most Friend, Shri Krishna. We have to balance many conceptions and parts of ourselves."