I often think about making a practice of writing â€“ personal ideas, experiences and stories, but my story has been so long and involved that I wonder where I could even begin? I will insert your advice here as I hear you saying it: â€œA journey of a thousand miles begins with a stepâ€¦â€ So thank you for that. Today I will take a step.
Itâ€™s the end of April, 2018 and I have an album almost completed. Itâ€™s amazing to have all of this stuff recorded and sitting on a hard drive in my basement.
Itâ€™s also amazing to me that I could justâ€¦ not finish it. I could walk away from it right now and pursue something else. I could walk outside and work on my garden instead.Â On one level of thinking, it wouldnâ€™t even matter. Being present is the goal. But following through and finishing things is also a very profound thing.
Once itâ€™s done, I will send the music to the distributor,Â and it will take on a life of its own. Just as every offering we follow through on, everything we give makes waves. Our children, our art, our messages on social mediaâ€¦ even the vibration of our thoughts moment to momentâ€¦ these all go out and influence the whole. In tiny or not so tiny ways.
And the amazing thing is, we have no control over how it is received. And that is the practiceâ€¦ the practice of being pure in the offering. In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said that true service is action without attachment to fruits. We do what we do because of the joy it brings us to do it, not because of the result.
We do it for the way it allows us to put our consciousness into actionâ€¦ the way it absorbs us in the vibration of our highest selvesâ€¦ This is Karma Yoga.
What is that like? How do you dance as an offering, without worrying about the reception? How do you cook? How do you garden â€“ in full love, in full presence, in full awareness, in full sensitivity. How do you make love in full absorption, in full tenderness? How do you express yourself without looking for a particular reaction?
It mustnâ€™t be that we donâ€™t care how we are received. Of course the receiver of our action is the beautiful inspiration for the action itself! Our beloved is the inspiration for our loving! Our audience is the inspiration for the song! But if we are afraid in that offering, if our minds are on a particular consequence, a particular goal, it diminishes our vibration. Then our absorption, our consciousness, is that of striving and pushingâ€¦ even manipulating. In devotional service, the only thing that matters is your consciousnessâ€¦ the rest is simply the carrier of that.
And yet it is fascinating that somewhere along the way people started teaching that true service is done without enjoyment; that itâ€™s not an actual offering if we derive some pleasure from it. The bhakti (devotional) philosophy is quite the opposite. It says that if we donâ€™t enjoy the service, then our hearts arenâ€™t in it. Itâ€™s not the action but the consciousnessâ€¦ and the action that is done in a particular consciousness is imbued with the consciousnessâ€¦
Any animal can serve by obligation. But love, love serves through the heartâ€™s joy. In the path of the heart, you wouldnâ€™t want to receive a gift from another person who felt obligated to give it, because you want to receive their love, not their gift.
In bhakti, objects are important because they are the conduit for the transfer of love. We are truly giving love â€“ in the form of the song, in the form of the flower, in the form of the meal.
There are stories told in the bhakti world where the divine lovers Radha and Krishnaâ€™s parents do not allow them near each other and they have to pass their love through objects like flowers, or sweets. These sweets, imagine what they are likeâ€¦ the physical ingredients are secondary, what is transmitted through them is beyond this dimension.
And imagine the ecstasy of the maiden who delivered the sweetsâ€¦
One of the divine souls I met in India would cook the meals for the temple. Truly, he was cooking the meal for God. So what you would receive in eating it was his love for God. Those meals were indescribable. They actually were not meals, they were initiations. They were conduits for the consciousness of a true devotee.
Which is an important side noteâ€¦ pay attention to the people who cook your meals.
And pay attention to your consciousness when you make your offeringsâ€¦ as I shall remind myself to do as well.
I have just thought many thoughts. And I could just save this file and forget about this piece of writing for decades. But I think I will just post it and make it an offering instead.