“Let us not squander this hour of our pain” (Rilke)
There’s a fleeting sense of relief when I indulge my anger to explode at another person. Usually quickly followed by a sweeping regret. What have I said or done? How has a valued relationship been shattered by my rash word or action?
Right now many of us are on edge, worried about finances or family members, or ourselves who may be sick or concerned about getting sick. Some of us have suffered losses of family members or friends.
How are you feeling today? Are you feeling angry, frustrated, or alone?
Right now we can lean in to fear or despair, or try to lean in to find shelter in higher places, deeper places of wisdom. There are verses in wisdom books like Bhagavad Gita you can read and immediately feel the solace they offer. For example, this one from Bhagavad Gita, Chapter Two, verse 70:
“A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires— that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still— can alone achieve peace, and not the one who strives to satisfy such desires.”
My guru, Srila Prabhupada, in times of difficulty, would often chant the Prayers of Queen Kunti, given in Srimad Bhagavatam, canto one, chapter eight, verses eighteen through forty-three. Or whole chapters of Bhagavad Gita, or the mantras of Sri Isopanisad. Of course, in the West, for centuries, people have found shelter repeating the Psalms, the ecstatic prayers of King David.
There are zoom calls right now where you can find online sanga, reading, and discussing sacred books, like the daily podcast called Wisdom of the Sages, which you can find on YouTube.
There are also sangas of chanting in kirtan*, such as the kirtans being posted by Jahnavi Harrison being posted daily from her home, during this time of lockdown; and other kirtans on Zoom where many, sometimes hundreds or thousands of people are participating.
Right now, we can each choose to lean in to grace, to the light; or to lean out into fear, despair, or anger, and darkness.
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” (an interpretive translation of Talmudic texts)
Be safe, be well, and be blessed.[ distress ] [ happiness ] [ wisdom ]