Saturday, June 23, 2012

Utilizing our talents...

Have you ever felt like you had certain gifts to offer the world, but something was holding you back? If so, you're in good company.

For a few years now I've been feeling that way. In many ways I feel that Krsna has blessed me with different talents, to the extent that it makes me feel confused. In fact, I often look at those who have one specific talent that they are exceptional at doing and think, "I wish I was like that." Why? Simply because it seems like they have it easier; key word of course being "seems".

For those who are exceptionally gifted in one sphere or arena and genuinely love it, their path appears, at least to me, clear. Their direction is set if they choose to follow it and so their purpose in life (in terms of sharing Krsna's blessings upon them) is clearly outlined.

However for those who maybe able to do many things, sometimes the waters may seem more murky. "What should I focus on? Kirtan, writing, speaking, photography? Some of these things? All of these things? Should it be one at a time or simultaneously?" To the extent that these questions can just leave one staying on the mental platform without doing anything. Why do I say this- because I speak from experience!

Recently I've figured out how I would like to utilize whatever little talents Krsna has given me in a meaningful way but in the process have realized enthusiasm is not enough. It'll have to be a combination of hard work, determination, discipline, a LOT of prayer, guidance and ultimately the unshakeable convocation that it's the right thing.

I think that's what separates those who succeed from those who don't. The ability to remain unaffected when criticism, thinly veiled negativity or even worse, a lack of interest/enthusiasm is exhibited by others towards your venture.

And so I am trying to actively do something and get out of my head. In speaking with a well-wishing friend, they referred to my desire to contribute as an offering. What a beautiful thought. Instead of saying, "this is what I want to give to the world," my mind-set has changed to "this is what I want to offer to the world." Just that slight change in word helps me to remember that I just want to be a worthy receptacle that Krsna can use in service. Furthermore it reminds me that an offering implies another accepting out of free will whereas giving can result in "I'm giving so you must take" attitude.

So I pray. I pray to all of you, my readers. Please bless me to have single-pointed determination, discipline, guidance and the rock-solid conviction that I am doing the right thing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A road less travelled

Almost everyday I take myself out on a walk in my neighbourhood. Beads in hand and Krsna's name on my lips, I wander about the various streets, paths and parks that make up the area I live in.

One afternoon last summer I was pondering a saying that I had heard (and I paraphrase): The same thoughts running around the hamster wheel of our mind, results in the inability to change. That thought fresh in my head, I made a promise to myself that sunny afternoon. Whenever I go out for a walk, I will find a new route to take. Challenge in mind I started my walks.

It was about a week and a half later that I started to get a bit worried. "There are only so many ways that you can walk around your neighbourhood, it's just not possible to come up with new and unique routes," said my mind. I started to think that it was true and that this exercise was nice but not very practical. Upon commencing my walk that day I suddenly realized something - I always walked in the same direction. I was so habituated that my feet would just lead me in the same direction! It was only now, when I was consciously trying to seek out new walking paths that I realized this.

It's been a simple yet valuable lesson. I've come to notice that I get habituated to a certain way of thinking or feeling. It's just become my default setting, so to speak and I don't really realize it. Similarly, as numerous thoughts flow through our mind, it's not often that we consciously choose to think of certain things and so the same recycled ideas keep floating around. And then I wonder why I can't change certain habits! It seems silly when I think about it now.

It's been over a year since I took up this challenge and would you believe that I still unconsciously follow this challenge? Everyday when I go for my walk I now naturally pick different routes, change directions and even walk off the beaten path and wander into the grass just to prove to myself that there are indeed innumerable walking paths that I can create even within a limited environment. Truthfully speaking, that's the real lesson I've learned- it's only as limited as I make it and as I venture beyond my "usual" boundaries that I impose on myself, my eyes become open to the numerous possibilities.