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Our Personal Undercurrent—And What We Can Do About It!

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As I was working on last week’s blog about undercurrents in communities, I also thought about a related, important topic concerning our personal undercurrent, and how that affects our life, relationships, and whatever groups we are part of—such as family, school, occupation, and religious organization. I did bring up the subject, without naming it, when I spoke about how devotee’s unresolved “life issues” or undiagnosed mental health problems can create difficulies in any group they are part of. However, that was about “them,”—you know, those “other” devotees that cause all the problems—and I wasn’t specifically addressing you, that saintly person who never causes any conflicts. (Smile!) Many “you’s” make up any group, and each person has an effect on the whole. We must soberly consider that we can’t change others, but only ourselves—and that with great difficulty and endeavor. Never the less, changing for the better, within and without, is our most important work in life, and specifically for those on the path of loving devotional service to Krishna, or our conception Divinity.

If we are in a leadership position, we can carefully and lovingly point out problem areas we observe in others, or if serious enough, recommend they seek professional help. Ultimately each person has to accept their shortcoming and see the value of working toward improvement. Taking personal responsibility for relationship conflicts is the first step, combined with a willingness to do the difficult work of introspection and self-examination. I have written before about our “shadow” side, or those disowned or repressed parts of our psyche, that we don’t want to accept or deal with. “Undercurrent” is another way to label those problematic parts of ourselves and encourage everyone, in addition to spiritual practice, to be engaged in self-improvement and developing less reactionary ways of dealing with others. The principle to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” applies if we are to minimize our problems with others, and be a positive force in our family and/or community!

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Appreciations from guests

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Every year during this time of the year we have a wonderful kirtan with thousands of folks attending the Oaklawn Halloween Block Party.  The event has more than 100,000 attendees and can be quite PG-13 but everyone loves the chanting.  In fact many costumed partiers chant along with us for several hours throughout the night.

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