Even a Bad Road is Capable of Improvement and Conversion into a Good One
Time flies when you are having fun is the saying. Or we could say that times flies when we are happy doing what we love; the hours and days seem to fly by. From another angle just being busy for whatever reason can make the time go faster, as does a variety of activities. I am saying this because I never finished part two from last week’s blog on success. Not that anyone noticed—but I did. My excuse—if I need one—is that I am going through the last touches on a book of my blogs. I have an editor doing the final editing, and a graphics artist designing the front and back covers, who will then do the page layout.
I am trying to shorten my blogs and break them into more bite size or quickly readable pieces. Some say blogs should only be 3 or 4 paragraphs. I don’t think I could do that, but I am trying to not go over 7-800 words, or at most 1,000. Otherwise, it is more like an article and may defeat the purpose. I don’t know really. My wife, Archana siddhi seems to think less is more, and that of all the “hits” I get on my blogs, few people read the whole thing, and most only skim it.
As Krishna das Kaviraja has stated: “Essential truth spoken concisely is true eloquence”. I like the sound of that, but somehow I find it hard to say what I would like in a few hundred words. Archana told me she thinks I feel that “mo” is better. Maybe. Or perhaps I just like to write and need more outlets for that. I suppose there are many reasons. However, I can say that I have the personal need to express my spiritual ups and downs as they manifested in my practical everyday life. I also do my best to present the Krishna conscious philosophy in ways that are meaningful for today’s devotees.
We have very high philosophy and deep meaning in our spiritual practices like chanting the holy name, Deity worship and doing Krishna conscious essentials like devotional service for Guru, Krishna, and the Vaishnava devotees. At the same time devotees can come away from a class wondering how it applies to them when they have to change the babies diapers, or struggle to remember Krishna when their worldly responsibilities seems to pull them in every direction except Krishna.
I found early in my “devotional career” (an interesting way to frame being a devotee—it really is our “ultimate” career path) that keeping a journal was very helpful in exploring who I was in this body. I found that I discovered some of my unexplored feelings and psychological issues that needed to be examined, and hopefully retired. Sometimes we are just too busy living life (or think we are) to really reflect on ourselves and why we are acting or working as we are, or even what our feelings are telling us. From my perspective, keeping a journal is personal time which aids self reflection. We have heard some great Western and Eastern thinkers who have said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Or, I heard often from a modern motivational thinker, his opinion that if life is worth living, it is worth writing down.
I would agree with those assessments, and would share with you, that keeping a personal journal can be a great aid to self understanding, and self understanding is essential for spiritual growth. Though I am sure there are many ways to gain such self wisdom, writing is a tangible way to accomplish this. And you don’t have to be a “writer” to keep a journal. You just need to want to explore what you are thinking and feeling as you live your life, and let what comes, come to you, without judgment.
I have found it invaluable, and it's quite interesting to go back and read something I wrote 25 years ago. I sometimes shake my head in disbelief at my thinking process at that time. Reading these thoughts helps me to see that I am making progress and maturing. And, as I have often shared in these blogs, Krishna consciousness is much different than what we think it is today. Even if we embark on a “bad road” or mistaken idea, if we are sincere we will learn the error of our ways, and reset our compass toward where we need to go. Listen to our great predecessor teacher, Shrila Bhaktivinoda speak of this very point. Although this is from his famous essay on the Bhagavatam, it applies to our personal lives:
“The true critic, on the other hand, advises us to preserve what we have already obtained, and to adjust our race from that point where we have arrived in the heat of our progress. He will never advise us to go back to the point whence we started, as he fully knows that in that case there will be a fruitless loss of our valuable time and labor. He will direct the adjustment of the angle of our race at the point where we are.
“This is also the characteristic of the useful student. He will read an old author and will find out his exact position in the progress of thought. He will never propose to burn a book on the ground that it contains thoughts which are useless. No thought is useless. Thoughts are means by which we attain our objects. The reader who denounces a bad thought does not know that a bad road is even capable of improvement and conversion into a good one. One thought is a road leading to another. Thus, the reader will find that one thought, which is the object today, will be the means of a further object tomorrow. Thoughts will necessarily continue to be an endless series of means and objects in the progress of humanity.”
So I am out of words for my overhead which has exceeded 1,000 words. In conclusion, do endeavor to explore keeping a journal as part of your personal growth and spiritual journey. My journaling has grown into what you are reading, which is meant for both of our benefits and as service to my Gurus, Gauranga and all the devotees and spiritual seekers. All the best to you on your exciting spiritual journey!