The road less travelled
Last week I drove into Central London at 4.00am. It was refreshing - no cars, no traffic jams, no stress. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long. Cruising toward my destination I unexpectedly encountered major roadworks and got stuck in a huge tailback. Despite the strategic timing of my journey, I still ended up delayed! It reminded me of the challenges encountered in our early morning spiritual practices. Every day we dedicate the two hours around sunrise to focused personal meditation. Through the process of mantra, we whisper sacred names of Krishna and try to conscientiously hear that transcendental vibration. Attentive aural reception frees the mind, cleanses the heart, and brings one in contact with the spiritual reality. You simply have to focus on the vibration. Nothing else. Sounds simple, but in practice is quite problematic since the mind is notoriously difficult to control. One thought leads to another, which leads to a third, and soon we are drifting off and straying far from our purpose.
The early morning hours are considered the most conducive for spiritual practice since the mind can peacefully flow toward the spiritual goal. However, just as early morning road works slowed down my car journey to London, mental agitation can similarly inhibit the strength of one’s spiritual connection. As I sat down this morning in preparation for my chanting, a million things were going through my mind. There were doubts and uncertainties about pending situations. There were quarrels and conflicts of opinion on pertinent issues. There were worries about friends and pressures of expectation from respected associates. There was also excitement about future opportunities, a sense of pride at this week’s achievements and anticipation at the day ahead. What can I say... the mind is a busy place! How in the world would I be able to put this all to one side, pacify the mind, and concentrate on the task at hand – to simply hear the mantra and focus on the spiritual reality?
I tried to cultivate a broader mindset. Everything in my life can be resolved if I deepen my spirituality. The problem is not other people – but it’s actually my lack of tolerance, empathy and sensitivity. The problem is not the situations I find myself if in – but it’s actually my rigidity, stubbornness and lack of broader vision. It even occurred to me that all my aspirations and dreams can manifest beyond my imagination, but only after I fine tune my motivations and eradicate my ulterior selfish motivations. Everything is coming from spiritual purity, and spiritual purity is coming from determined and focused spiritual practice. As I sat down I thought to myself - “let me just focus on this mantra for the next two hours; after that, life will look quite different; situations and perspectives will change.” It worked. Bucket loads of mental energy saved, and real solutions found. I’ll try the same tomorrow. Wish me luck.