Just made this book for my family for the holidays--and anyone else interested in random, soulful musings accompanying images from around the world. The first several pages are offered here as a preview.
Seems to me that one of the greatest mistakes I've made so far is to assume that just because it feels and felt so good to be close to them, that any of the loves of my life provide me with answers.
On the contrary, upon their attractive entrance, they open new lines of inquiry: into myself, into life itself, into what it means to love, into my past, into my deepest fears, plunging me deeper and deeper, lifting me higher and higher, below and beyond an outdated recognition of self.
In fact, as we draw closer to anyone, we are pulled into the unconscious, the out-of-control part of ourselves. All our little secrets from ourselves, once anesthetized by comfortable solitude are awakened and name-tagged by a connection that precariously and paradoxically tempts us with our oneness and announces our division.
If we live in love, if we live bravely, we are always being stretched.
We can run away. We can cling too tightly when the lessons are done. Many do. I know I have, sometimes. Then comes a time when the soul gets hungry for what it needs, overrides the silly and pointless aversion of nature and all of her gracious, healing elements.
In this staying, with anyone, we realize that it's the conscious gestures that are the rudder and the sails on our soul in a massive sea of self-and-other navigation--we learn through trials and pain to balance amidst the incessant stirring of these unconscious waters by relationship.
Essentially, the things we have conscious control over are the means to making what is inherently unpleasant--the tilling up of our most rigid personal soils--bearable and even enjoyable.
From the smallest, unseen, secret, subtle gestures to the most overt displays of affection--our conscious effort offsets what is natural with mechanisms termed civil ... even, superficially, "loving." Be they efforts toward the self or other, stuff that comes easy or changes that are tough, they are conscious.
In the end of the day, however, it is the submersion in this shadowy, unconscious sea, brave and ready for regular humiliation, that is the ultimate act of love in a universe held together by it.
I know today, who I am. But I'm ready, always ready, for you to change me, love. Because whether I surrender or not, you are doing this with every thought I think, every feeling I feel. Whether I want you to or not is irrelevant. Because you gave me life itself, we will.
Audience member (AM): Hi.
Krishna Das (KD): Hello.
AM: My question is: Do you consider yourself as a spiritual person? Because, I would say that your sense of humor, seems to me quite cynical for a spiritual person.
[Audience breaks out in laughter]
KD: It's me, it's not you.
AM: I wouldn't expect that ...
KD: Would you define spiritual person since you don't think I am one?
[More laughter from audience]
AM: A spiritual person in my mind ...
KD: Wears white, talks very sweetly ...
AM: ... Yeah!
KD: Those are the people who wind up ... [hesitates, looks down and smiles]
AM: ... About unconditional love and ...
KD: Those are the people who don't have any shadows in their life, and they're happy all the time, well then that's wonderful, but that's not me.
AM: Like, would you ... uh ... think of changing that in you? Or ... like ...
[Laughter resumes loudly throughout audience]
AM: ... Some person to be spiritual.
KD: I'm not concerned with whether I'm spiritual, or worldly, or anything like that. There is no ... those words mean nothing to me. I am looking for love. I am looking for unconditional love. Everything in my life is leading me toward that place of unconditional love that is God, that is the Guru. And that's what my life is about. I don't define it any other way ... whether it's spiritual or not.
I can say shit and fuck and all that stuff and still be perfectly happy. [Loud laughter from audience, especially me;)] My Guru said that as well ... so.
AM: You seem to be too realistic.
KD: I don't think you can be too realistic. If you don't deal with reality, it's going to deal with you. You need to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you are, and you can't tell stories to yourself, because you have to live. And if your lying to yourself about who you are, what's going to happen? So I try to deal with myself with as much honesty as I can.
Because lying to myself, why? Why would I do that? Who does that hurt besides me? It hurts everybody around me if I'm not honest with myself. So I try to be honest with myself and I lean toward the cynical side [big grin spreads across his face] for a little self protection. It keeps people a little further away, because they look at me and go 'he's not spiritual' and then they go away, and I love that.
[Laughter and applause erupt from the crowd]
KD: My Guru never put us in any shape. He never made us wear white clothes and be good little boys and girls. The beauty was that he loved us as we are. That was so liberating and so wonderful, because he knew everything [whispers:], everything--and he loved us, just as we are. So that's what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to love myself as I am. Not some fantasy about what spiritual is or anything like that.
(I will post more bits from Krishna Das' talk during the workshop over time and publish excerpt sound clips on YouTube.)
Just because I like really beautiful sensations ... sample for yourself. [bandcamp width=350 height=470 album=831511162 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 notracklist=true]