Saturday, September 24, 2016

Drowning in the Ocean of Material Existence

My offering to Srila Rtadhavaj Swami on the occassion of his Vyasa Puja:

শ্রী-রূপ-মঞ্জরী-পদ, সেই মোর সম্পদ,
সেই মোর ভজন-পূজন
সেই মোর প্রাণ-ধন, সেই মোর আভরণ,
সেই মোর জীবনের জীবন
To my beloved Spiritual Masters,

I am drowning in the ocean of material existence. I have to take a moment to let that sink in and remind myself of this harsh reality.
As a child, I didn't have many playmates or friends. As a result, I often imagined or fantasized. Many times, I would daydream about happy moments with my only friend, my imaginary friend. At night I cried myself to sleep and begged the Lord to make my wish come true. "Please, my Sweet Lord, please let me be Your friend. I have no companion except for You. Please be my friend."
As a five or six-year old child, I never imagined that I would one day encounter a rich theology and practice that accepted and encouraged this type of relationship with the Almighty. It certainly seemed strange to my immediate relatives so I kept my yearnings secret and hidden.
Lacking friends, I imagined that the Lord Himself would befriend me, but I knew it was only possible in the hereafter. I imagined that we would play leapfrog, frolic in the grass, climb trees, catch crickets and go for a swim in the creeks. I would never be tired or unhappy as long as I was in the company of my Best Friend. He would be my eternal companion.
Lacking guidance and proper counsel, I prayed, hoped and fantasized about a perfectly wise and benevolent soul to mentor and guide me. I begged the Lord to reveal that person, that perfect sage and ever well-wisher to my material eyes. I hoped that I wouldn't have to wait until the afterlife to meet him.
Some nights, as I knelt before my altar and prayed before an image of the Guardian Angel, I felt or heard a reassuring voice that soothed my heart and alleviated my distress. "You will see me." and "I will meet with you face to face."
Even in my wildest imaginations I never thought that the entity I simplistically identified as the Guardian Angel or the Holy Spirit would manifest or reveal himself in my lifetime. I was broken and shattered inside for many years and my faith gradually dwindled. What were the chances that, if such a perfected  being existed, the Lord would reveal that person to me and grant me the opportunity to associate with him personally?
The Lord works in mysterious ways, they say. In order to shatter my doubts and reestablish my faith, the Lord not only revealed His most confidential servant, the jagat-guru, Srila Prabhupada, He also revealed His confidential pastimes, Names, instructions, and associates to me.
I am now confident that I will one day play with Krishna. It shall one day come to pass. It may take millions of births but I am certain of this truth for only one reason: it is certain because the Lord has revealed to me the many splendorous manifestations of Sri Guru. I have seen them and met them face to face.
And so it happens that I am no longer drowning the ocean of material existence. I am frolicking happily in the forest of Braj hand in hand with Krishna-- it is solely a matter of time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Work Out

Today I felt really sick in the morning. I felt nauseous and queasy and just gross. I thought I was going to throw up but I didn't. After a quick lunch, we went shopping for a few items and headed to school. There was a percussionist featured in today's recital and he was amazing. After class, I dropped off my husband at work and picked up my son from school. We were supposed to go out shopping for new school shoes but I felt really lethargic, weak and I had a headache so I decided to take a nap. On top of that, I was stressed out because I haven't finished my weekly Chemistry assignments. I've been procrastinating a lot lately and it's catching up with me quickly. I don't know what to do first and sometimes I feel so horrible about it that I just can't think. I don't know why I'm reacting that way to stress, I'm normally quite capable and clear-headed, even fatigued or under pressure. Today I must have needed a nap because when I woke up, I started up in a fury and completed sections to the review study questions then I finished the terminology paper. Honestly I can't say that it has completely absorbed into my brain but I think I know enough of the terms that I can skate by. I should really study but I'm also overwhelmed with violin technique, repertoire, jazz conceptions, and standards that I can't focus too much on one. My instructor advised me to just spend a few minutes on each piece so I'm not reading but not more than ten minutes a day otherwise I run the risk of getting side-tracked by one composition and not giving enough attention to everything. I need to break my study and practice sessions into short fifteen minute bursts.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Marshmallow Dilemma

So I stayed up late studying and I can't fall asleep right away so I'm going to write something significant and profound for my own self-aggrandizement. You're welcome.

Okay, one serious piece of advice for you regardless of your age or lifestyle: try to take care of yourself. Maybe it means putting on sunscreen when you go out or maybe it means investing into your financial future or maybe it means not compromising your values when it matters most to you but seriously, thank yourself by putting in a little time and energy toward tomorrow.

When I was young, I used to stay out all hours of the day and night and never wore shoes or socks or sunscreen and it never bothered me. In fact, I can venture to say that I probably didn't even brush my hair until I was an adult. Hey, I never owned a hairbrush of my own, I had naturally silky straight hair and didn't care much about bodily maintenance. Anyway, I own a hair brush now (two, actually) and my hair has split ends so I have to brush, condition, and take my vitamins for it to be smooth and lustrous. I also wear appropriate socks and shoes and apply sunscreen and moisturizer. The point is, things change. I was never really into grooming, hygiene and personal care but now I know that things have changed and maybe in ten or fifteen years, when I'm looking in the mirror one day, I'll hate myself for not taking better care of my body and health. It doesn't mean you have to be vain and worry about every little wrinkle or cellulite you spot. It means, "Wear some fucking sunscreen and condition your locks." Appreciate your Self by caring for yourself. My routine and self-care may differ from yours. Maybe you're too uptight and need to loosen up. Maybe you need to go out to the beach and not compulsively reapply sunscreen a million goddamned times. I don't know, I may not know you that well.
Think about it and make a short list of things you could do to show your Self some appreciation and love.