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Kindred Spirit Tales (2): Seeing the soul within the conditioning.

"Each person is an eternal soul forgetful of their spiritual identity who has a unique life story and conditioned identity. In the course of providing them products (many of which are spiritually based), I get to have a glimpse of their life's history, by relating to them very personally and asking them questions."

I have been training for a few weeks to learn "the ropes" at the store, and am flying solo now which will reveal what I don't know. I will continue to have phone support for another week and a half.

Before coming to the store I have my regular sadhana which consists of rising well before dawn to chant my Hare Krishna mantra japa on beads, read scripture, exercise my aging body, and worship my Govardhan and Shalagram Shilas which includes the breakfast offering for all our home Deities. Two days a week I also wake the Deities at the Temple. Having a good morning of focused sadhana means feeling connected to Prabhupada and Lord Krishna Chaitanya. Then I will be able to deal with whatever comes up during the day in good consciousness.

AT 10 AM I leave the house and make the 50 minute drive into Winston Salem. I use that time to listen to lecture CDs and think about my day ahead. Arriving at the store I park the car, unlock the store's back door, turn off the alarm, and turn the lights on. I have tried my best to spent the whole morning preparing my consciousness, and my test will be to keep a prayerful, spiritual perspective all day. I love to offer prayers so first thing after entering the store I offer prayers to my gurus, the Supreme Lord and his other agents the Deva's that are present in the store, that I may have an attitude of giving and service throughout the day. Then I prepare the store for the day getting the cash register ready, putting on soothing music, unlocking the front door and putting a store sign on the street.

It is a 7 hour day, and besides remembering Krishna, I have to keep my energy up in order to effectively interact with the customers. It takes a lot of psychic energy to attend to them, and this forces me to remember Krishna, the source of all power and energy. I sincerely smile at everyone, give greetings, and do my best to communicate my interest in them. Being trained in Reiki and other energy healing methods I sort of view my job there as a healer, to give positive, useful energy and advise.

Each person is an eternal soul forgetful of their spiritual identity who has a unique life story and conditioned identity. In the course of providing them products (many of which are spiritually based), I get to have a glimpse of their life's history, by relating to them very personally and asking them questions.

People are fascinating, and I see a whole range of varieties and types, many who are seekers, but some who just wander in. There is a very calming, spiritual energy in the store, and the incense and candles also give it a very unique and pleasing fragrance.

As such, many people in addition to looking for useful items, come to experience the store atmosphere, which they find a soothing balm from their often hectic lives. The personal qualities of the store staff is essential for helping create that atmosphere. Much of the stores success comes from this, and the owners of the store really provide it. I will be challenged to come up to that level of concern, caring and knowledge of the products.

Here are a few customers I have met:

A young lady in her 20's who is a college student is studying to be a therapist---I relate well to her chosen profession. I forget how it came up, but she attended one the the lectures by a sannyasi at the store owners home. She liked it, but said she was turned off by all the "absolute views".

I asked her, "How should one present what they view as truth? Should they present it very tentatively and softly?" She wasn't really sure. I said it is possible to present one's view of the truth while respecting other perspectives, which I thought the speaker had. She seemed to agree.

I then asked her if she thought there was an ultimate or absolute truth, and she thought there was, though she didn't like people who professed that they knew what it was, and tried to make you feel guilty if you didn't accept their views. Then she told me that she was brought up in very overbearing Southern Baptist family where they preached in a very fanatical way. Thus she was very sensitive to anything that resembled that. It is always interesting how people's conditioning can be a detriment or asset in their spiritual life.

A mother came in with her four daughters, two of which were twins being pushed in strollers by her and her older daughter. She was rather stressed, and I did my best to be upbeat about her situation as a mother. Still she was a bit overwhelmed by it, and I felt sorry for the girls who were just being normal kids, but were pushing their moms buttons. Kids are expert at that, and actually that is one of their jobs, which is meant to help us develop more tolerance, kindness and patiences if are able to step back from the intensity of the moment. We want our children to "behave" and they have their own agendas!!

I am very tuned into how parents treat their children since I grew up in a abusive family. Being a parent is such an important job, but one in which people are the least prepared!! As such parents due the best they can, and we all have to come to peace and forgiveness for their shortcomings. That is part of preparing for dealing with our own life and children, so we don't repeat the poor parenting cycle (including the cycle of birth and death in having to complete unfinished business in the next life with our current family members---we can be bound to others though possessive love or hate!).

Stay tuned for more stories from Kindred Spirits!

Combined comments from old site

Sun, 12/30/2007 - 11:43 — Navasi

Hare Krishna, Dear Karnamrita Prabhu,
This is all so fascinating....
I want to come to the store! :)
I can really relate to what you're saying about raising children... they push all your tolerance levels to the Extreme!!!
But, you love them so much, and you want to be the best parent you can be, so you have to really work so hard to find the right balance between just indulging their whims, and giving them the discipline they need at the same time.
It's especially hard when you've grown up in an abusive family, and therefore have not learned how to do these things, and in fact have learned many negative ways of parenting that you then must Unlearn....
I know, that's my history too...
My son turned 31 the day after Christmas, and my daughter is 32, and boy, I am sooo glad they're grown...
They can still be problem though, but also a total blessing...
What would I do without my son, for example???
He helps me all the time with everything, especially all sorts of Krishna conscious things....
What a way to feel like it's all been worth it, eh???
Thanks for your stories here, they're wonderful!


Sun, 12/30/2007 - 14:35 — sriranjini

Hare Krishna,

Dear Karnamrita Prabhu, i would love to come to ur store, if at all i was living in US !!! However i can imagine ur store the way u have nicely explained in your story.

Its very easy to blame our parents for their abusive nature. But, when we actually sit and think as to why they were so intolerant towards us, we realise our mistakes and try to be better indivisuals. So, sometimes its better to thank them for their abusive behaviour, because of which we have realised the importance of being kind, tolerant and caring towards others.

It makes us understand that we should be exactly the opposite of our parents in dealing with our kids.

I guess, its all Krishna's mercy by showing and helping us walk on the right path.

Hare Krishna!
Thanks & Regards,