The Spiritual Basics Must Be Mastered (And it takes a long time!)

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I
It’s the basics revisited
I write about it often
spiritual life 101—yet again
I know the theory by heart!:
“We are spiritual beings
covered by body/mind.”
Oh, it seems old news
I am such a mature devotee.

Though truth be told
realization is difficult
a long education process
of trial and error repeatedly,
naked truth of embodiment
the laboratory of life
hearing it frequently
thinking it over carefully.

Chanting and contemplation
applying the fundamentals
in everyday activities
through study, work,
marriage, family, children
doing what we must
desires and attachments
adding the most essential.

Remembrance of Krishna
at all times and places
accepting the helpful
giving up want’s not,
seeing through the scriptures
the wise sadhu’s words
present continual opportunity
to practice what we’ve learned.
Hearing from sadhus
II
Blissful spring is here
(beautiful but too short)
with so many duties
as I pull weeds,
I think of unwanted plants—
compared to material desires—
which I once imagined
were things I wanted
now they simply disturb.

We cause our problems
the quest for material joy
but real happiness from the soul—
not these covered senses,
feeling with a spacesuit on
the body’s such an inconvenience
material law’s restrict/confine
promise greatly, deliver minimally.

Our health totters, fails
we lament our loses
the aging process diminishes
as I drive to the store, lessons:
“collateral damage”, or road kill
a skunk, possum, spattered red glory
mangled deer to the side
store owners cat with mange.

Two sides of the coin
can both motivates us in bhakti:
material misery/spiritual bliss
the latter points to the former,
but we have to pray intently
to notice what life truly is
spiritual practice is real life
our highest ideal carries us.

Chanting Hare Krishna as Sacrifice

It is always important

It is always important, no matter what a person's belief is, that they take their time and cultivate their spirituality so they can really get the most out of it. Your words are always interesting.

Seeking understanding and meaning

Generally life seems uneventful, and in fact most people want it to be predictable and not full of uncertainty or surprises. In today's world many people, especially the young, are bored and need constant electronic stimulation. However, when we slow down and try to be present in the moment (and turn off our Ipad), life is full of excitement, lessons, and beauty. Our spiritual practices help us be more awake, present, happy and peaceful. With Krishna consciousness, we have a meaningful goal, with a lifestyle which keeps us on in the mode of goodness--which is an energy very conducive for bhakti practices.

Some days though, get my attention. Roadkill is very common around these parts (cars are modern day predators), as are the happy recipients of the dead bodies--the crows and turkey vultures. Never-the-less, to see three animal dead bodies on one trip got my attention, and then, in case I missed them, I saw the store owners cat with very little hair left on its body. Cats are often cute and cuddly, but this was was really creepy and yucky. Thus I had to reflect on life, my part in it, and share what I felt from thinking of all these things. I sat down and wrote the rough draft of the above poem after I loaded up the car.

Even though we may have been a practicing Gaudiya Vaishnava for many years, we still need to be excited with the basics. This knowledge is alive, and there are many levels of depth and meaning--but if we are bored, we may become attracted to material enjoyment and the infinite diversions in modern culture. There is beauty in simplicity. Any one of the many so-called ordinary aspects of life is so extraordinary--for instance, the clouds--wow--they are so aesthetically pleasing. always transforming, and arty. Krishna takes water and floats it, so the water can be distributed where it is need (how supremely cool is this!). The material nature is working under Krishna's direction--but effortlessly, seemingly automatically, and He doesn't have to worry about maintenance, or rest on Sunday.

The spring bulbs blooming and the flowering fruit trees, are a small sample of the order all around. Everything points to Krishna--at least for a devotee who has studied the bhakti literature and has even a little of bit of devotion. We may not be fainting in ecstasy, but life is inspiring if we stop and smell the roses (after offering them to Krishna). That is another point of this poem. Krishna is everywhere, even in the basics of bhakti. And although we chant, read, and worship by scheduling them, we still have some appreciation, and often lots of appreciation for Krishna's words, instructions and devotees. We are meant to build our spiritual faith, step by step, by practice and gaining experience and taste in bhakti. Finding those who have what we want and studying how they attained it is the key to learn anything. A special effect of spiritual life is that not only can we learn from advanced devotees, but we also take on their nature through the wonder of association.