TIS THE SEASON TO BE SURRENDERED AND PRAY
Like many people who engage in creative pursuits, I tend to have high expectations for my writing, which I have frequently expressed in blogs. I know, I know, I write about it too much, forgive me, but I think about it every day and whenever I write or teach.
As I chant and worship, I meditate and pray for uplifting spiritual power that flows through me in loving compassion and wisdom to be expressed through my speaking and writing. While I know it is there to some extent, I see being able to inspire people to take to spiritual practice, or devotees to revitalize their practice, as a natural outcome of sadhana, and personally, as a result of facing death. To me this is a win/win situation, good for me, and good for those who resonate with what I share. I will explain how knowing this about me may be of us to you--or why would I write it?
I share it because doing so inspires me to keep my spiritual focus—when I write or chant I feel spiritually connected—with the prayer that you may also nurture high spiritual aspirations. For so many years I was busy in bhakti but didn't really have high spiritual yearnings and goals as is offered in our tradition, nor did I pray for them. I stalled accordingly and lost my way, though the holy name saved me. My hope is that by this sharing my inner and outer life, you will seek to understand the goal of bhakti and appreciate its value, regularly praying for it with feeling. Ours is a path of grace--we endeavor or serve to attract grace.
So, what about you—what are your spiritual goals that you pine for, regardless of where you are on the spiritual path? Keeping this in mind and understanding its inestimable value is crucial for keeping on the path, not just casually, but with heart, for our whole lives—lest we give up in despair or hopelessness.
Even though in my estimation I am not particularly creative, or think creativity is necessarily a transcendent activity in and of itself being governed by the mode of passion. Never the less, if our creativity is used in the service of the Lord and to benefit others in spiritual ways, then it can have some divine results. Since everything comes from the Lord, including our abilities and creativity, it isn’t wrong and is a very good idea to gratefully feel that whatever we may accomplish or creatively manifest is God given. Additionally, the Lord may use someone’s skill or creativity even without their intention for some higher purpose.
Perhaps I have seen too many superhero movies, and I’ve always been attracted to the miraculous pastimes of Shri Chaitanya where he spreads love of God by his presence, instructions, and chanting the holy name. What can I say about the condition of my heart and lack of spiritual standing? Thus, I have to admit that my motives are mixed between spiritual desires to serve my gurus, Gauranga, and the holy name, and my own human egoic desires. Regardless of this fact, I am confident that by my attempt to always be prayerful, my life and everything related to it can be spiritually transformed and I may somehow attract the grace to be used to serve the Divine will and spiritually benefit everyone.
However out of my league it may be at this point—in addition to coming to Krishna prema (pure love for God)—I can’t think of a higher goal and service than being an emissary or instrument of Shri Chaitanya in spreading the holy name and the philosophy which inspires its practice. While we can all point to, and practice this to a certain extent, to do so in a super quality way will depend on our level of spiritual advancement and deep compassion for the suffering of others.
It also depends what we want, and what we demonstrate we want by how we think and act…which is why I stress regular introspection and understanding the nature of our conditioning in addition to our undistracted, focused, prayerful sadhana, keeping good company, and keeping our spiritual ideals in mind. Spiritual progress is the root of success in everything we may want to achieve. That is a subject for regular contemplation.