Blogs

TEXAS FAITH 124: Is it crazy to pray for your team to win the Super Bowl?

Dallas Morning News,

TEXAS FAITH 123: Why are religious hostilities on the rise across much of the world? What, if anything, can be done about it?

Dallas Morning News,

Darshan Room Kirtan Anniversary Party

Last Wednesday we celebrated our anniversary of The Darshan Room

Fatal Attraction Part 4: The Awakening—Learning from the Natural World and the Redwood Forest

this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player is needed; works best with Firefox or Explorer; if you are using Google Chrome it will automatically play, so to not listen, mute your speakers.)
The Seeker photo MysticUniverse_zps17341ead.jpg
Growing up in San Francisco, Chris didn’t think it unusual or sad if the sky was overcast or foggy—it was just a different color sky, though he liked the sun too. In fact, in a general sense, even at the young age of four he began a lifelong pattern of not look forward to things, or thinking of too much about the past. Though he was learning to shut his emotions down as much as possible, in a strange way he lived in the present, at least his version of it, safe in his castle of neutrality, yet ever on guard so he could remain at peace, and not angry (like his father). He learned that if someone is angry that will mean pain, so he treaded life very gently. When his family moved from L.A. to San Francisco in 1954, he didn’t feel much different in his new neighborhood in the Sunset district than he had in his previous house in Van Nuys, especially after making friends—but at first he didn’t like the hills. When a neighbor began making skate coasters for the kids, the hills became an asset for fun.

In their flat on 9th Avenue, these were care free years for Chris, at least on the surface. He had a best friend, Michael Rivers who lived next door, and they played all day, coming home for lunch, and sometimes playing Monopoly. They were loosely under the watch of Michael’s mom, since Chris’s parents were at work, and sometimes there was a baby sitter, but in those times kids were just let out to their own devices without supervision. As they grew older they enjoyed roaming the neighborhood, finding homes under construction to play in, climbing the tree on the corner, or exploring the hill that steeply dropped down from 8th Avenue to the fast and busy street far below. Sometimes on the weekends they would walk over to Sutro forest and climb to the top with Chris’s dad.

Interestingly, from today’s perspective, in his youth Chris didn’t learn to make any distinction between the city composed of concrete, asphalt, cars, and houses, with the natural environment he encountered in his back yard, in vacant lots, or at Sutro forest. He hadn’t yet spent time in country settings which were at least partially undisturbed and full of trees, bushes and wildlife. Although later he and his friends spent time in Golden Gate Park, and had family vacations in scenic resort areas, he still didn’t understand that where a city now stood was once a scenic, natural habitat, free from human intervention and “progress.” To Chris, human beings seemed to be the center around which everything else revolved, while Nature and its laws were but an afterthought, or only of secondary importance to cities and their inhabitants. It was only when he was in his existential crisis at 18 that Chris really appreciated the natural world. He discovered a Nature that wasn’t secondary to human beings. Instead, humans were only a part of Nature. The natural world, the planet, and the Universe, were the basis of all life, having to be properly respected and cooperated with.

Fatal Attraction Part 3—Choosing the Path of Light

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player is needed; works best with Firefox or Explorer; if you are using Google Chrome it will automatically play, so to not listen, mute your speakers.)
 photo Angstyouth2_zps12695e2f.jpg
An unusual cold, rainy day in Berkeley, California, but for a particular person, it was a fitting, useful, backdrop for an epiphany, or deep “aha moment.” Chris Cox, in a contemplative mood that was becoming almost normal, was sitting on the floor in his minimally furnished room. A single light bulb hung down from the ceiling by a cord speckled with white paint from an ancient paint job. Warming himself in front of the gas heater, he would occasionally look around the room or out the window at the gray day, as if looking for special meaning, or some clue about what was missing from his life. In fact he felt like he, himself, was an existential question waiting to be answered, and for the first time in his life.

Chris had lost his job and was getting food stamps. His hippie house was on “rent strike,” having banded together with other renters to withhold paying rent until the “pig landlords” lowered the cost, so he hadn’t paid his rent in months. Still, the electricity and water were on, and he had food and shelter. How was this possible that he could live here with no effort? He could just sit here and live, having time to read religious and mystical texts and think about the purpose of life. It all seemed magical, yet purposeful.

He didn’t know it yet, but he was experiencing how simple living can foster deep thought about life. As it turned out, this was a rare time when life conspired to make certain results more likely by arranging the environment like a perfect supporting cast.

TEXAS FAITH 122: Can you have morality without the existence of God?

TEXAS FAITH 121: Is Christmas a religious holiday or a cultural one?

Dallas Morning News,

Depending on Krsna's Mercy

The time I spend chanting the Maha-mantra in the quiet early mornings is one of my most favorite times of the day. It is that special time spent in direct association with our dear Lord Sri Krsna. But there are days when I don’t feel anything special, that even in this most auspicious transcendental activity, I feel alone, and oh, so far from my dear Lord. When this happens, it is easy to wonder if I am actually receiving His mercy; if there is purpose to my chanting or if I am just wasting my time.

2013 Book Distribution Report

By Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya's infinite mercy, here all the books and material distributed from the Alachua, Florida IPM office in 2013:

Prabhupada’s Books total: 2,717
Magazines (10 to 50 pages): 864
Small: 816
Medium: 242
Big: 311
Maha-Big: 484

Books by other devotee authors: 332
BTGs: 758
Audio tapes: 104
CDs: 343
DVDs: 24
Japa Mala Sets: 97
Neck Beads: 25

GRAND TOTAL of all Books and BTGs in 2013: 3,807 !!!

Fatal Attraction Part 2: Illuminating the Shadow of our Past

The basic premise of this series is to posit that our greatest challenges, problems, reverses, difficulties, hurts, or pain, have the power to crush us (if we let them), or offer the greatest opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Specifically here, I am speaking of our childhood, and how huge a shadow it casts on our life—which could be good or bad, or likely, a mixture. Our parents are instruments of our karma and are meant teach us valuable lessons for living our lives. Many people don’t really worry about this and simply live without a lot of deep introspection about how their past has shaped them, which isn’t a bad fact if one is happy and fulfilled.

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player is needed; works best with Firefox or Explorer; if you are using Google Chrome it will automatically play, so to not listen, mute your speakers.)
 photo MuthandbabyKarnam2_zps0a820a91.jpg

(Fast forward sixteen years from the marriage spoken about in part 1.) This seemed like any typical San Francisco summer morning, foggy and cool, but it was anything but normal to Chris, who was going to do something he didn’t want to do, while his Dad, Johnny, was happy. They were driving to the courthouse for a divorce settlement. Parking, they walked up the stairs and into the building. John found the appropriate courtroom and they took their seats to wait their turn. Chris felt sick to his stomach and wished he could just run away, but knew he couldn’t, so instead, he retreated deeper into himself. It was like he wasn’t even there. Disassociation was how he survived childhood and it had served him well. While a good temporary protection strategy, it was a poor way to live at all times. Later in life, Chris would find his biggest challenge was learning to be present, and to feel, whether sadness or love, but depression became a way to be numb, though it gradually became his clue that something was wrong, very wrong.

For all practical purposes, the memory of this courtroom experience was gone, buried under the debris of pain and disappointment. He only knew it happened on the rare occasions his dad recounted how proud he was hearing that Chris, when asked by the judge, wanted to live with his father—which was totally untrue. Even though Chris couldn’t remember the last time his dad beat him, he still was afraid of him and on guard in case his father would become angry and hit him, so he didn’t speak his mind at court, or for that matter, much at all.

Syndicate content