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RECOMMITTING IN RELATIONSHIPS AND IN BHAKTI

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

Shri Panca tattva photo Gauranga sankirtan_zps9lacbcij.jpg
The nature of the material world is change and transformation or as the Gita teaches us, the world is “endlessly mutable.” Accordingly, in physically conditioned life, which covers our soul, our body and mental states change, other people change, our life situation and the greater conditions of the material world change and go through cycles and stages. As a result of such changes we have to recommit and sometimes renegotiate our relationships to others, ourselves, and to bhakti, many times in our lifetime.

If we don’t voluntarily change or fight against conditions we have no control over, we will likely be forced to change because nothing stays the same, however much we drag our feet and resist. While this is a natural process, materially speaking, having to change can be disconcerting especially when we are set in our ways or have identified material conditions as who we are, and the underlying and foundational fact that the soul (who we are), or our animating consciousness, being eternal, wants permanence and doesn’t relate well to changing conditions which seem foreign.

While those who are Gaudiya Vaishnavas, or in fact anyone engaged in some kind of spiritual practice to realize their soul, even if they are grounded in deep spiritual philosophy of the nature of matter and spirit, will also struggle with the changing conditions within and without to the degree that they lack realization of themselves beyond matter. In fact we could say that our reactions to changing conditions are a sort of test of our spiritual realization. We would benefit if we are able to step back, or take a time out, for introspection in the midst of changes, or when we realize they have occurred, and see how much we resist the changes and feel dependent on keeping our life the same.
into the jaws of the PET scan photo DSCN4540_zpse733womw.jpg
More than ever before, I have been confronted with forced changes in my life with the realization that I have to change. I have been forced to change my diet and relationship to material enjoyment, which has been difficult enough, yet the more difficult change, is to continue to push myself in my spiritual practice and retire from my comfort zone. I was able to do this for the first 7 months of this year but have been allured to relax and take it easy, my normal M.O. I spoke about this the day before yesterday, as the zigzag path and am elaborating on this from a different but related perspective.

The idea of an ostrich burying its head in the sand, or a rabbits closing its eyes in front a pouncing predator, while momentarily pleasant, don’t improve the situation, but only invite death. While metaphoric or factually these examples and the results of not dealing with a crisis or changing condition, and the resultant dire consequences, speak to me in my current situation.

In the face of change, or impending death, we can invoke the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.” We could also call this kind of acceptance, “radical acceptance.” Radical acceptance is about accepting of life on life’s terms by not resisting what you can’t change, or choose not to change. Radical Acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is, and creating a new personal strategy to deal with it. Ignore is part of ignor-ance, and we do so at our own peril, or simply remain stuck or our own worst enemy. We have to use "what is" to become more, and grow deeper in spirit and as a person in the here and now.
Blessing in disguise photo Blessing in Disguise_zpsrzroujyz.jpgSpeaking my necessity photo Karnam speaks at Pranadas_zps0pjbvroo.jpg