It happens and will continue to happen – someone says something to us, or about us, and we feel the emotions rise. We get ‘bent out of shape’, can’t stop the replay in our mind, and practice all kinds of imaginary ways to respond to it. This may go on for days, weeks, or even years. Resentment cooks like that. We don’t like how we feel and yet we don’t know how to shake it off. Here are some Krishna Bhakti guidelines to help:
See it as a test. We have taken up the spiritual practice of making love the central force of our life. It’s natural that our emotions and responses will be less that perfect, but keep the attention on you and your relationship with Krishna – not the other person.
Don’t hold the anger for more than a day. Life is too short to entertain these expensive emotions. Practice not being offended. It’s very powerful and very freeing.
Learn from it. Our default way to learn is to point out the other’s faults. Reverse that to looking at how we are doing. Not easy, but one of the best ways to tame the wild emotions of the unflappable false ego.
Take your daily practice of reading, chanting, and reflecting seriously. Life itself adds the other portion to our practice – the trials and tribulations, mini and major, that test our studies. This is the real work of spiritual life. Humility sounds easy until you are humiliated. Lust, anger, greed – I’m not so bad until I don’t get what I want. The false ego – it cleverly hides until it gets hurt.
So the next time you get ‘bent out of shape’ think – test, love, let go. The great teachers tell us that our ‘enemies’ are our friends for they force us into a better self if we are willing to go there. The faith journey, the self-realization journey, is a reckoning that is at once exhilarating and terrifying – but always satisfying (and successful) if we hold on to Krishna in the process.
Jan 22, 2023
Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies