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BLOG THOUGHTS: FORMER WORKSHOP JUNKIE; ONE EVENT CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES FOREVER; MY STATE WHEN CHANTING;

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

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I USED TO BE A WORKSHOP JUNKIE BECAUSE I NEVER BELIEVED I WAS ENOUGH TO DO WHAT I AM HERE TO DO: While I do recommend being educated in one's chosen field or calling in life, there are many ways to obtain this education. It may be through formal schooling or be driven by one's intense purpose in life and learned from life experience and "hacking" an education from books and mentors. Personally, although I would have liked to have training as a counselor, I wasn't able to travel this route and mainly learned by studying alternative healing methods like in Reiki, prayer, and Hypnotherapy.

Still, I have never actually earned my living through those practices. I never believed I was sufficiently trained, or more deeply, that I was "enough" to say I was a this or that. I always wanted to 'be somebody" (like all those successful people) who could help others, and I have been praying as intensely and sincerely as I can for years, even as I have endeavored to help and inspire through my writing--and, as I have fortunately heard from kind feedback, with some success...

Now, Krishna has given me a new identity and label, which has empowered me to have a vision of how to connect and help others--having a cancer diagnosis and being "near death" has helped me more than I could ever imagine. Somehow the idea of having a limited amount of time left to live has pushed me to do what I pray for now, not tomorrow, since I can no longer wait to be enough--since I have realized that this day will never come if I listen to the ego's self doubt and discouraging words. I have to live in the present and be a possibility thinker!

I know that I have much to share, and this is fueling my traveling to speak and my push to write more books. What is true for me--that I am enough right now, is true for all of us. This isn't to say we shouldn't get training, say as a counselor, business person, or whatever, but with the knowledge that when we have a vision for our contribution (our personal mission) to life and our service to God, we will have everything we need, provided we have the spiritual positive attitude that we can be successful in whatever we put on mind and heart to. Of course this all takes time, endeavor, self reflection, and lots of prayers. For those on a spiritual path we have to understand who we are in this body, overcome our disempowering and negative programming, and also strive to understand ourselves spiritually. Ideally we use our conditioned propensities as a way in which to best serve everyone in our pursuit of the Divine.

Part of my outreach is to share in a general sense that I believe in you--we all need friends who believe in us--and yet more importantly, each one of us has to believe in ourselves and our potential and make prayer our constant companion. We live by grace but still have to endeavor to obtain our highest ideals.

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 photo Wild man Karnam with colors_zpswqmhnoyr.jpg photo Karnam chanting 2_zpsfmjqg3ds.jpg
DO YOU LEAP OUT OF BED EVERY MORNING JOYFUL TO GRAB YOUR BEADS AND CHANT (OR WHATEVER YOUR SPIRITUAL PRACTICE IS)? I have to admit that I don't really jump out of bed these days. I used to as a young monastic or brahmacari in my 20's, as I often had to wake the temple Deities, and had to be "on" immediately. Now, although I am able to get right up if I have slept well for enough hours, that doesn't always happen. Still, I am continuing to get up around 3ish, and begin chanting within 20 minutes. I have to confess, that it takes me a while to get warmed up to my daily chanting. I don't always feel like it, and would rather do a thousand other things, and yet, I know what the chanting does for me in terms of keeping me connected to Krishna--and in a negative sense I know how i feel if I don't chant, or if I chant distractedly. So I am motivated to chant even amidst initial reluctance and sometimes sighing. However, for me, rising early is the best way to make sure I chant as focused as possible and then I can fit more of what I need to do into my day. Chanting and praying is my foundation for living. Above are some before and after pictures, or during inattentive or "spaced out" chanting, and during prayerful attentive chanting, in my chanting progress of the day. The proof is in the mantra pudding!
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ONE EVENT, OR CHANGING OUR PERCEPTION OF THE MEANING OF AN EVENT, CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES FOREVER: I have been thinking of this principle in relationship to my cancer diagnosis. In a sense nothing really has changed except my facing head on, the temporariness of my relationship to my current body. Imagine for a moment that the biopsies got mixed up and the conclusions the doctor made were based on someone else blood and I only had an infection in my lymph node. Still my life would have changed and suddenly, as is the name of a famous book, I didn't have the luxury of a negative thought. I had to decide what I wanted to do with only a very short time left--months or years. Admittedly my ability to make this decision is based on years of study, personal growth work, a positive orientation toward life, years of spiritual practice, and of late, very intense prayers. One point is that such work never goes in vain, but waits for the right time to fully manifest. Attitude, preparation, timing, and prayer combined together are everything---I could say that any one of them is "everything" for emphasis, and yet they all work together.
Choosing who I am photo Becoming_zpsd4mzbufm.jpg
I chose to be, if not a total possibility thinker, at least to a strong enough degree to make my words, "I can," rather than, "I can't." Whatever our attitude or the type of questions we ask makes the lens through which we view life, and whether we see something as good or bad, or as negative or a great opportunity for growth. I have found that people would much rather argue for their limits and negative attitudes,then for their gifts and what is possible. I have given exercises where students were given time to make a list of their negative qualities, and then the positive qualities. Which list do you think was longer? Not hard to guess is it? The negative qualities.

I have studied this principle for years, and it is generally taught by many teachers that we can change our lives by changing our thinking. The Gita takes this principle to the ultimate conclusion by saying that our next life is determined by what we think of at death. We can also apply this principle moment by moment, as each moment "dies" to make the next.The present is the intersection of our past and future, and we create our future by our thoughts, or more precisely by our attitude, which creates the vision of the possible, and what we are willing to do as a result. Emerson spoke of this more immediate application in the here and now, by saying that that "A person becomes what they think about all day long." The eternal and temporal application are both important for everyone, though some teachers, like Rhonda Byrne, author of "The Secret" only focus on the material application which is what most New Thought, or Success Coaches do. I am not against such teachers, having benefited from their work, but want to add the spiritual dimension to self-help and personal growth. That is part of my service, as I see it.
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