Today I find myself lying in bed, trying to manage a stomach bug which has kept me from attending 2 workshops with our friend and inspiration, Kimberly Wilson, at my place of work, Centre Luna Yoga. As frustrated as I am to be missing her visit again, I’m allowing myself to stand back from the whole situation and just surrender to whatever it is that’s making my stomach go full Cirque du Soleil on me 🙂 And so I’m lying in bed, pacing myself as I finish one of the most important books I’ll ever read, The Journey Home – Autobiography of An American Swami by Radhanath Swami.
I don’t want to ever finish reading this book…which is why I know it will become one of the few books that I will re-read over and over throughout my life. From cover to cover, Radhanath Swami’s memoirs speak to me on every level: as someone constantly in search of, and occasionally getting brilliant glimpses of, a higher, divine power…as someone reluctant to ascribe to any one school of thinking or faith until I have no doubts in my mind that I have found a true extension of myself…and as someone who continues to see with growing clarity the illusion the majority of mankind lives with, unable to see that the love of a higher power is the ultimate expression of every kind of love that we seek on earth – from each other, from our pets, from ourselves.
As is the pattern throughout his journey, Radhanath Swami finds Vishaka Sharan Baba, a scholar and devotee of Vrindavan, the favoured geographical location of the Lord Krishna’s manifestations on Earth, and he sits with him one day…and asks him a question that I think would be beneficial for every single person to ask of someone whom they trust implicitly. With absolute trust and genuine reverence, he asks, “Please tell me whatever you feel I need to hear.”
Our nature, through conditioning and socialization in this part of the world, is to steer well clear of any situation that might present an opportunity for criticism to sneak in. In today’s Western society, it is unfortunately much easier to vocalize judgement and negativity than it is to offer someone a kind word of gratitude or a compliment. And so most of us would be averse to asking such a question of another, but we’re wrong in allowing for that aversion to guide us. If every one of us has one person, regardless of who that person is in relation to us, that we would entrust with our lives, someone we know loves us unconditionally, than this question absolutely needs to be presented to them at the appropriate time, in the proper setting conducive to a real heart-to-heart exchange of words and ideas.
We shy away from questions like this one because we’re afraid of what the answers will be and how those answers will prompt us to step up to the plate and hold ourselves accountable for our actions, but we don’t need to assume that the answers will always be critical. I can immediately think of a dozen people who, if they posed the question to me, would receive the following answer: I don’t think you realize how capable you are. I don’t think you realize how beautiful you are. I think that you’ve gotten so caught up in how the world around us tries to control you that you’ve lost sight of your innate sense of what’s right for you and what isn’t. I believe that you need to look at everything going on in your life and determine what is serving you and what isn’t, and then let go of that which isn’t. I think your life is about to kick into gear.
On this last day of the month, as we transition into the heat and warmth of the approaching Summer and let Spring recede, let’s allow for the insight and truth that only those who know and love us best can offer. Allow the unconditional love that the Bhakti yogis steep themselves in to make an appearance in your own lives and for your own well-being. Allow for that shift in how you approach the opinions of others in relation to yourself. Changing the way we think, the way we approach life, will absolutely and without fail lead to changing our lives for the better. You cannot change your life without changing the way you think. It’s impossible. So try it out. And let me know what happens 🙂
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another inspiring article! Thank you so much, Bram. I’ll definitely look up that book.
I totally agree with changing the way we think. It is a very difficult process but it’s totally worth it. And about identifying what doesn’t serve us, it’s easier than we think, but fear is always holding us back. I’d say, if we cannot give up on what clearly doesn’t serve us, we should at least try, from the heart, to improve it. Maybe what doesn’t work is because we haven’t changed enough!? luv u all.
Dearest Bram, So beautifully written! The readings of wisdom seekers and sages can always help us gain insight during our transformation process! Thank you for reminding us to understand that life’s journey is one where we must participate, take action, renew ourselves to become compassionate, beautiful, loving human beings.
Namaste…om namaha shivaya!
Beautiful, Bram. This is a good reminder about all the gurus in our lives!
Thought-provoking, Bram. Should we just ask one person, or should we try to find several people who would be willing to start the dialogue? Hope that you are feeling better today – at least you can enjoy the blue sky that heralds summer.
Until next time,
Sorry for the delay in responding! I’d definitely start with the people you know the best, who know you the best, and from whom you can count on getting the truth, even if it might not be what you want to hear…the people who love you unconditionally are the ones who will tell you what you need to hear so that you can correct anything that might need correcting, and they’ll also do it in a way that won’t leave you feeling attacked or threatened…Hope that helps!!!!
Sounds like a great book. I am adding it to my list of books to read. 🙂