Taking ones knowledge to the next level

Srila Vishvanata Chakravarti Thakura

I love reading and have read so many devotional books. But for all my reading, I’m unskilled in talking about my faith. Whenever somebody asks me to describe my belief I’m at a loss for what to say:

“Uuhm, it’s about loving God – which by the way is a person with opinions and can talk.”

Yes, I really suck that badly.

I need to take my reading to a higher level – I need to start studying. Learning verses, learning sanskrit. I need to find a way to talk about my beliefs in a way that meets people. But whenever I try to learn verses, it’s like whatever I try just slides away. My brain doesn’t want to enter this knowledge.

In one book it was mentioned that my Gurudeva used to train his disciples by making them learn one verse each day. That’s effective! I know none. So I have been wondering how I can start studying and learning. Since I’m a gadget lover – of course I turn to technology for help.

First off – evernote is the place I make notes. For sanskrit learning I have found Evernote peek – a nice way to memorize words and verses.

So I’ve found some technology that I think will work well with me. But now I need to start studying. Which in itself seems like an obstacle I have. Reading is easy, because it requires nothing of me. Studying on the other hand – and memorizing. Bah…

 

The instability of feelings

I had a small revelation this morning. A revelation I’ve had so many times before, but still seem to forget between “the battles”. Why does it matter that I don’t want to do my gayatri? Or much service? It doesn’t matter at all, because feelings change.

Oftentimes when I chant, my japa becomes all tangled up and when I try to move forward a bead I can’t. What I do then is to locate the next bead and just continue. I don’t try to fix the entanglement of the beads, I just move on. What *always* happens is that the entanglement is resolved by itself. When I continue chanting a round and more, the entanglement(s) are gone. I didn’t have to fix them, I just had to go around them.

This morning I did my gayatri again. I just did it without really thinking about wether I wanted to or not. I was too sleepy for such emotional deepness.

I’m not in the stage of nistha – steadiness. I’m not steady in my practices, so why do I expect to be? So I have decided that I will continue as I always has. I will do my gayatri, and if I sometimes don’t want to do it – that’s fine. Then I will not do it. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will most likely want to do it then.

Changing feelings

If your not feeling it, how do you start?

There are different stages to reach when endevouring to love for God. The first one is sraddha (faith), sadhu-sanga (meeting a pure devotee and becoming his disciple), bhajana-kriya (devotional service), anarta-nivritti (removing material obstacles), nistha (steadiness) , ruci (taste), asakti (attachment), bhava (love).

I’m in the bhajana-kriya stage (I think – but I do need sadhu-sanga badly) and if I had been working on my spiritual life I would have noticed progress in that material obstacles would have faded away. Instead I found the perfect way for me to remember doing my gayatri. After some days managing to do it three times every day, I stopped. I sat there, thinking: “I don’t want to do gayatri”. So I didn’t and haven’t done since.

And ever since I have been wondering: How do you go from not wanting to do something, to wanting?

I kind of know the answer for me. I love to read, and I also like doing japa. So that’s what I’m trying to do – to create some kind of enthusiasm. But still, this is bothering me. It’s not only that I don’t want to be doing gayatri. It’s just one symptom. It’s that I don’t want to do much service at all. The truth is, I feel all the devotees are doing service to me. My Gurudeva is certainly serving me – there is nothing I do for the service of my Gurudeva. He has written all these amazing books, with such deep siddhanta. His disciples are really experts in book publishing… and pretty much everything else. What am I doing? Not even following his words.

When I don’t even want to do any service, I cling to what I do want: Reading devotional literature and some japa now and then. But how can there be any progress then? I haven’t really progressed at all, I might have gone backwards in my spiritual progress for all I know.

If you sit on a bicycle with your hands on the handlebar, you act of steering has no potency or effect unless you are moving forward. Similarly, these wisdom principles are principles in action. We invoke them by living them. When we no longer live them, they withdraw. They remain then on the level of artefacts of the mind, what the ancients describe as ‘mere weariness of the tongue’.

The Book of Dharma

This bothers me. I’m worried that whatever shadow of sadhana I have is “mere weariness of the tongue”. I’m not really living anything.

Some months ago I met an aquaintance of mine through the krishna community in oslo. I told him about my lack of progress and my worry about it. I don’t remember exactly what he said but he somehow made me aware of another area where I have progressed a lot: as a human being. I have become more resilient in so many areas: difficulties, dealing with shortcomings – my own and others, knowing myself. I have made great strides the last few years, I just don’t see the immediate spiritual connection to it. But at the same time, I’m convinced that these are changes that are neccessary to spiritual life. To progress spiritually, you have to be resilient. You have to be able to deal with difficulties arising wether it is your own, dealing with an organization and specific people. The ability to see things from a multitude of perspectives, non-judgemental – but using discrimination correctly. I have had a crash course in all of this.

I have really been through hell these last years, and I have grown tremendously.

Now my path is walking me through two different things at the same time – though I’m wondering if it might be related after all.

One: I’m an emotional eater and unhappy about the consequences of it.
Two: I lost all the excuses I had of not taking care of my spiritual life when I realized I didn’t want to do service.

Emotional eating is mind work. Not wanting something is mind work. So internally there’s a lot happening right now and I’m working myself through it.

But not wanting to do service except reading, some japa? I refuse to force myself to do something I don’t want to do. I have done that before – it doesn’t yield any good fruits.

So how do I begin to unravel that one – going from not wanting to wanting without forcing oneself? Can there be any progress in that stage?

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said:

“The true critic … advises us to preserve what we have already obtained, and to adjust our race from that point where we have arrived in the heat of our progress.”

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