Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hungry for Love

I get it. I get why the worldwide Hare Krishna movement began in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York.

It's the people. I've noticed that in New York City, everyone is hungry. Hungry for money, hungry for power, hungry for fun, hungry for meaning, hungry for love. I look in the eyes of anyone passing by on the street and I see that hunger there.

I remember once when I went to join the harinam in Union Square. I stood back to observe the scene - the devotees seated on a mat on the concrete, most people rushing by in blurs, some people stopping to watch. I remember one man in an expensive gray business suit - he stood at a distance, just staring at the harinam party; he had this sharp look that seemed to devour what he was seeing.

Hungry. So hungry.

I guess you need to be on fire to live in this city. This place is insane. If you don't live like your pants are on fire, you will get burned up, no joke. So everyone is searching for something, something, something, what is it? Everyone is looking, wondering, will I find power, money, love?

When people walk through the doors of The Bhakti Center, I've noticed that same hungry look in their eyes, only the look softens into a sparkling curiosity, a sort of wonder and vulnerability. I experience people as open, ready and willing to embrace the Truth of what they are searching for.

The other night in the japa women's group, we were reading a prayer of surrender by Bhaktivinode Thakur. A middle-aged woman was reading this prayer, and her voice began to break. When we chanted japa afterwards, she quietly wept. When we shared our hearts at the end, she shared how when she went through hell in her life, she was realizing that God was there for her.

"Krishna was there for me," she said.

This was a woman who, before this ladies group, had never chanted a round of japa in her life.

Living in New York I am surrounded by these miracles. I get to witness that relief, joy, and peace which comes when the hunger of the heart is filled with Krishna's love. I have so much to learn from these people. I want to be hungry, too. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Courage to Change

[The Serentiy Series is based upon this prayer: God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can't, and the wisdom to know the difference.] 

Ghanashyam and I bought tickets back in March to visit Alachua, Florida for three whole weeks. Alachua is the community I call home, and I wanted for us to spend quality time there. I reached out to one friend for a place to stay, but as the weeks went by and there was no response, I began to worry. I reached out to one other friend, but that was a no go.

Time began to spin by and my anxiety picked up speed. I began to fret. How could I have lived in Alachua for seven years and feel so hesitant to reach out to anyone there? Was I a stranger? How could no one be willing to help? This was horrible, heartbreaking. 

By the time June came around, I was considering canceling the trip and I had cried numerous times. 

What woe!! 

One night, I was reading the book Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. I decided to consciously change my thought from: I've always been alone in this world, no one loves me, why would Radhe Shyam do this to me -


This is a temporary setback because DUDE I've barely reached out to anyone. Radhe Shyam love me. God loves me

Bam. Peace settled in my heart. The next morning I wrote five emails to various friends and mentors who live Alachua, asking for a place for both Ghanashyam and I to stay. I asked with affection, vulnerability, and detachment. 

Within three days almost everyone had responded, most saying that they were busy, but one mentor did say with much kindness that we could stay in his home. 

Now Ghanashyam and I are visiting Alachua and our situation is perfect for our service and for experiencing the overwhelming love of this community. 

Martin Seligman? Thank you, man. God spoke through you to me to help me experience the truth and make a change not only in the situation but within my heart. 

To write is to dare the soul. So write.