More on Giving: Giving through chanting
A small idea or concept when practiced can truly change our life.
A human being is wired to run on habits. That is good and bad.
We have to reflect on our habitual ways of doing things, even or especially our spiritual practices or sadhana, and see if they are really serving us. Are we keeping the original intention in mind, or have our habits become dry rituals, ends in themselves?
We shouldn't be so busy that we don't make time on occasion to really evaluate our sadhana---chanting, attending Temple programs etc. Newcomers can take note of this as well.
When I lived in ISKCON as a young single person, brahmacari, and even later when I married, but was still a Temple devotee, I was mainly so busy doing "emergency" devotional service that I didn't really have time to really think much about what I was doing. Although everyone has to take responsibility for their own lives, at that time the culture didn't foster self reflection. Prabhupadas' statement, "Work now, samadhi later", was taken to an extreme, as we did with so many things.
Also for me personally (and I think many devotees) I didn't know any better. We were all so young and inexperienced in practically every arena of life. I am hopeful that the next generation of devotees can be saved from the kind of immaturity and lack of elders guidance that we experienced, by learning from our trial and error. Of course the nature of any new movement is lack of experience, and there are always growing pains.
So as usual I have gone in a different direction than I intended here, though my shared experience here underscores the need for self reflection and looking for ways in improve our sadhana and chanting.
Continuing on the theme of giving. I am finding that by affirming that I am a giver during all my daily activities, that it makes a large difference in my consciousness.
Chanting needs to be a very focused activity.
I am bringing the idea of being a giver to my japa.
I am giving back my energy, mind, intelligence, and ability to focus on Krishna.
I am glorifying Radha and Krishna though their holy name.
I am trying to give them my heart and soul.
I am giving my thanks to their merciful appearance in my life as the holy name.
I am giving my chanting as glorification and worship for my Deities.
Before every activity or interaction with others, I am thinking, "What am I going to give?", or I take stock midstream, "What am I now giving?"
We are always giving.
We are giving to ourself and our higher or lower nature; to others;
to things in general (our house, our room, yard etc which is a different way of looking at how we maintain those things entrusted to our care);
we are hopefully trying to make these various types of giving in relationship to Krishna;
and finally we are focused directly on giving to Krishna through our hearing, chanting, or any of the 9 types of devotional service.
Let us become conscious givers, who endeavor to give in the most valuable way while we live in the world, and engage our life energy for making spiritual progress through devotional service.
Give to Live. And Give to Krishna.