Karnamrita Das

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Sometimes I don't know if I should be sharing about my inner thoughts and heart yearnings, and yet, I also feel it is important to do, with the hope that we may all be benefited. Thus I take the risk of being criticized. However, sometimes we have to bet our lives on following our convictions due to pivotal events in our lives. For me, the realizations I have acted on from my cancer diagnosis feels like a huge juncture in my life, or a “perfect storm” if you will, which is setting the direction and mood for the rest of my life—at least it seems that way.

Thus, I keep returning to the same themes that inform and inspire my life. Every day I begin with reading and thinking, showering with water and prayers, waking our home Deities, and then praying my heart out for my present aspirations, in the mood of "What do I want, and what do you aspire for, that will be of the most benefit for everyone and most pleasing to my gurus and Lords of my heart?"

Facing death, means stripping aside the unessential, and looking at my attachments, even as I strive to be the best person I can, and more, by the infinite grace of the Almighty. Praying and writing helps me strip away my facade to look at my bare desires and who I am now—and pray to be—since we are our faith and attachments. I find it a powerful process, and recommend it to all who believe in a higher power, or God, whom they have an intimate relationship with. We are all near death after all!

I am a mercy beggar being, in my own estimation, quite insignificant, and yet I am tired of being mediocre, reserved, disengaged, indifferent, withdrawn, or in general, a casual bhakti practitioner (or devotee of Krishna). The remedy is to improve by changing for the better. Part of the solution is intense prayer to take inspired action. I love to pray for my highest good and to used as a vessel of giving mercy. I have such high intentions for my writing and now speaking. I pray that my thinking, feeling, willing and acting will be in divine order and in alignment with God's, or personally, Krishna's, will for me.
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"O, Lord Chaitanya, please make me an instrument for sharing the highest good for others in the most practical, understandable, way." I must be the living, breathing scripture, or example of the spiritual and practical teachings. I know this is no small thing, and may seem very vain and pretentious, but what am I to do? This is my natural prayer and I plead my case frequently, that my egoic self can get out of the way, so my divine self, or spiritual self with the serving ego, will manifest. Let whatever I need to let go of be cast aside, and whatever I need to accept, let me gladly accept that for the highest benefit of all. Whatever I am meant to do, let me do it joyfully, without being caught up in the duality of the material world.

My cancer diagnosis is the proverbial gun to my head, so I frequently ask, “What is most valuable for me to aspire for? On their own, what material facilities, can save me? Like the fish out of water being given all the comforts that land people are excited about—what capacity, and for how long, can a fish enjoy anything outside of his water environment? How can we all come to the spiritual platform in addition to fulfilling our earthly duties? So I know I am a creature of the ocean (of the spirit, in this analogy) and that my true prospect lies there. Thus, in spite of all the things that bind me to the world, by my endeavor, prayer, and blessings, I have to give those all up, either today or soon. Everything is a process, though we all have to begin and regularly increase it, one step at a time.

Whatever is required to come to the place of absolute dependence and surrender to Krishna...that is the path that those who are devotees are on, and so I am praying for that, and doing my best to share this through writing, speaking, and just being my best self. This is all so intense and yet enlivening and a great wonder for this very laidback person. While I feel my ability is limited to convey this, I still do my best, and pray to improve, which is all good for me.
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When I was in the air from Atlanta to San Diego, I wrote: All is well. What an exercise in letting go of the unessential. In order to follow my diet I had to bring a pot, cooking utensils, quinoa, organic veggies, nuts, instant organic meals, etc., and so packing was more difficult than usual....and then I had to cut loose with some not-unessential items as well--like my shilas, or sacred stones, and their worship paraphernalia—I will have to do “manasa” or mental Puja....and then at the airport, my bag was still overweight, so more shifting and letting go. My wife is expert at this, and very Zen, so to speak, so she was so helpful, though for me it was like having teeth pulled. I survived to tell the tale! Thank you for accompanying me on this great adventure.

I sat with a man on the short flight from Greensboro to Atlanta who was going to visit one of his children in El Paso. He lost his first wife to cancer, and earlier this year had a triple by-pass surgery on his heart—he was 77. He was also a writer who had written two books and numerous articles, and was additionally, a motivational speaker. I felt so inspired and encouraged as I began my healing and speaking journey. We had a non-stop lively conversation. What a super way to begin my journey! Krishna is the perfect arranger!

Otherwise, I am appreciating being with the public and marveling at the varieties of false egos, and the various bodily coverings of our souls. For the old, I imagine when they were young and physically able. For the children, I watch the parents struggling with them, wondering how the kids will turn out, and what issues they might encounter, and hopefully deal with, and grow from, or remain a lifelong victim. Everyone is a walking story and whoever I come into contact with, I pray to help that story improve in some way. I'm a student of life, people, and Bhakti, and want to be able to take the clues and learn what I must to be a better human being and Bhakti practitioner, and of course to improve my writing and speaking. I am grateful that I can share my thoughts and feelings with you. All the best! May you feel loved and blessed by the best!
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The Lords of our Life. photo DSCN0235_zpsrjhcrukq.jpg