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WHAT DO YOU REALLY LIVE FOR TODAY, AND WHAT PURPOSE ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE FOR? Part 1 & 2

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

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Part 1: I wrote about the topic last night, and this morning during my reading and chanting, I gained insight and some clarity. One point is that within a problem is always the solution, if we don’t try too hard. Sometimes we have to let the answer come in its own time and take the time to be quiet, calm, relaxed, and wait with positive expectancy.

For example, leaves fall in autumn on their natural internal schedule. The bulbs flower in the late winter when it is their time. The baby in the womb is born when it’s ready. Every one of us has our own process of becoming, acting or just being.

Part of a successful life is just finding one’s natural direction, and being able to accept what is now, not thinking we can force outcomes by our will. We still endeavor, but in our own way. For me, “my way,” is gentle determination after having decided on a goal.

I’m not an official warrior, and yet, I find the energy and fixed purpose of the warrior attractive, perhaps because in the past I was such a timid, tepid, tentative, indifferent person. This nature has appeared to be a problem to be struggled against, but now it seems to hold the key to accomplishing my life’s work!

I am attracted to the hero’s quest to obtain the sacred object or save the world, or superheroes that continually save the day. How can I use this inspiration according to my nature? What about your nature--how can you use this to help your spiritual life?
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I can be a peaceful or gentle warrior, and see my endeavors as a sacred service to my conception of Divinity, Radha and Krishna, through the means given by Chaitanya and Nitai by their mercy agents. We can only truly become what we already are. This may be hidden under layers of conditioning.

Although from a spiritual perspective nothing can be accomplished without God’s grace, this is even more true in the case of our spiritual development in bhakti, which requires a special type of blessing.

What does the fact that I have mainly lived by adapting to conditions or making a way within whatever situation I found myself in tell me about my process? This is my nature which only appeared to manifest as a result of life conditions. My nature saved me from being more damaged from my youth than if had I resisted and fought the conditions I was subjected to.

In my adult life, when I had to find my own way, my conditioned nature has been a large cause of frustration for me. In a sense I was trying to fight my nature, and not use it for its best purpose in my own way. Again, we all have to find our way to be the person we are inspired to be that lies dormant within us—if we let it emerge instead of trying to be like someone else.
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I did find my way to marry an incredible devotee, and to come to Krishna, by the grace of my bhakti surkriti and Prabhupada, and the devotees he created. Yet I still primarily adapted to conditions, taking the path of least resistance, not the one that necessarily afforded me the best chance of spiritual advancement—what is the lesson in this perspective?

I am happy when I am peaceful and not disturbed and this makes it unlikely that I would ever succeed by the mode of passion so often recommended by success coaches, who confront tremendous obstacles head on. I am inspired by two images: the river goes around or under obstacles. In Aikido, the attack of the opponent is used to repel them, effortlessly. Effortless effort! That is my ideal.

In the past I have lamented that I have not been driven even for good causes and my own spiritual progress, yet now I see that I have to find an exact direction that excites me for the cause of bhakti and being the person I am meant to be in this lifetime. We may or not appear to make a huge impact on the world, or in the world of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, yet the important goal is self-improvement, living with personal integrity, and finding our pace and method for living.
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Part 2

We all need both goals, and our way to strive for them. The way is our faithful, spiritually minded, determined effort, and the result isn’t our concern. We still want it, and yet, we can be peaceful leaving it to Krishna. Of prime importance aren’t our external achievements, but who we become in the process.

Material success principles are attractive to me, but not the type of work often recommended for achievement. I have to find my way forward. I am happy to share tips that I have found useful for anyone in finding and living their mission and using their gifts. This is what I hope to focus on teaching.

The threat of death knocking on my door, has motivated me to be more outgoing and to try to travel to speak. This seems to go against years of taking it easy. Yet, I can’t force this, but must find my own process of going forward by prayer and listening, and understanding how to make my nature my friend, instead of struggling against it.

My new direction has been initially successful in my speaking to groups of devotees, partially because I have believed it would happen, and I endeavored without thinking of the reasons it wouldn’t work. My task is not make my endeavors seem like a struggle, and to go forward toward my goals in small ways, one step at a time. As it is said, “Inch by inch anything’s a cinch, but by the yard, it is hard.”

My general feeling is that writing is easier than meeting people and having to show who I am by example, and be “on” all the time. However, I have reasoned that we can be “on” all the time when we find our natural rhythm, and follow that even when we have a difficult day, and are not our most resourceful and best self—this too will pass.
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I love people but am not the most socially adept. What if I just accepted this and allowed myself to teach what I can, to whom I can, in the way I can? Am I really at a crossroads, or a type of impasse, or do I only have to reframe this view, and let my speaking be a natural outgrowth of who I am?

I will have to get out of my old confront zone of passive inaction and make my new comfort zone my mission to share what is most essential to me and writing books to facilitate this. I am feeling positively challenged to face my choice.

Even if I set sail on my speaking journey, there is no guarantee of success, and I may have to think of novel ways to speak. I believe that our faithful endeavors are far more important than the outcome which is given by Krishna. Some verses come to mind:

“O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up with determination and fight. Do thou fight for the sake of fighting, without considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat -- and by so doing you shall never incur sin.” [Bg 2.37-38]

“Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight.” [ Bg 4.42]

So back to my original question: What am I willing to live for, and die in the pursuit of? I’m not fighting warriors outside of myself, but I have my own internal battles to win, and decisions to make as to how I want to spend my remaining time.

How can you apply what I have outlined here in your own life? What are you struggling against instead of accepting and using?
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