Be Who You Really Are!
(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Thought 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.”