a blade of grass

… he told me that perfection could be learned from nature. be more humble than a blade of grass; more tolerant than a tree. give respect to others freely, without expectation or motive. in such a state of mind, stripped bare of your false pretenses, call out to your Lord eternally.

i’m still working on it …


The most powerful thing we have

I just got off of the phone with Anuttama Prabhu, ISKCON's International Director of Communications (i.e. - my boss) and a dedicated disciple of Srila Prabhupada. It was an "ordinary" call -- the sort we have all the time -- where we touch base about ongoing projects and check in on tasks completed or those that need to be followed-up on. As we said our goodbyes, promising to talk again "sometime next year" (somehow, as corny as that is to say, we couldn't resist), Anuttama Prabhu spotaneously added some thoughts. I'm paraphrasing here from memory:

Remember, the most important thing is that we are chanting nicely. There's nothing else that is as important in doing this service. Our sadhana [devotional practice] is the most powerful thing we have. The goals that we have are so high. We may see those goasl, see where we want the Society to be in terms of communications and management and marketing... and get discouraged. Don't get discouraged. Use how high those goals are to stay committed and driven. But the main thing that we have is our spiritual life. Next to that anything else is so small, so insignificant. It is eternity, our eternal destiny. That is what it is really about. So we have to chant nicely, hear nicely, read nicely. Krishna has given you a great opportunity to be an independent grhasta [householder] but it is also a challenge because you have that freedom. Always remember that we get our strength from chanting and our sadhana. That is our secret weapon.

I could hardly respond, except to thank him. As I sit and quickly type this (my bright red counter beads tell me that I have 14 rounds to go, so I will be signing offline soon) I am still amazed at this unexpected but badly needed guidance. I pray that I don't take it -- or Anuttama Prabhu -- for granted.



Chinese Food on Christmas

Christmas 2006: We had dinner at Veggie Heaven, our favorite Chinese vegetarian restaurant in Teaneck, NJ, and then went to the nearby movie theater to watch "Fast Food Nation." Teaneck is a very Jewish neighborhood, and both the restaurant and theater were quite busy. I guess the stereotype is pretty accurate! Yet something else that Jews and Hindus have in common! Anyway, enjoy the song. Om, Shalom, and Merry Christmas!


The 12 Days of Christmas... Indian Style

Needless to say, the fourth day is my favorite. :-) Merry Christmas everyone!

back to blogging

An early New Year's Resolution: to get back to blogging, to become disciplined in my writing, to use this technology to stay connected with myself and those closest to me, to avoid the temptation to start big and then fizzle out.

So here I am. It is always difficult for me to return to the keyboard and blank screen after a period of inactivity. The screen and blinking cursor seem to demand a lot, and my insecurities take over.

Actually, it reminds me of the way it feels when you return to chanting a certain number of rounds on beads (or any meditative practice, for that matter) after not having done it for some time. The warm memories of what you used to do mingle with the akwardness of re-learning. You stumble a bit; the words don't roll off the tongue as smoothly as they used to, the beads feel clumsier slipping back and forth between your finger pads. Your fears and hang-ups follow you too, buzzing uninvited pessimistic warnings to your mind. How long will you last this time? Come on, face the facts. You tried and you failed, so why bother now?

Antidote: tell the mind to shut the hell up, and dive in to the meditation. The beads are comforting. The Names don't judge or deride you. They are the old friends that would rather give you a warm hug hello than make you feel bad about not having kept in touch. And if you can just be open to it, the conversation resumes right where it left off.

I hope that returning to writing will be the same way. As I recall, we had started a nice conversation some months ago. Now... where were we?