Another japa diary. I don’t have any other input to process and my hands are full with chanting, nothing else registers.
Usually my first morning rounds are the best but today something happened that turned my day upside down.
It all started with a dream. I was at a brandy tasting(!?!) and I met a woman. It wasn’t that we “clicked”, it was like opening a window to a new world. “Soul mate” implies finding a perfect match for yourself but this woman made me forget who I am and offered a brand new, unique and exciting opportunity that could not be passed no matter what. And then I woke up.
The warm, happy feeling was still in every cell of my body and soul, I saw that it was just a dream but the opportunity felt very real. What will happen if I actually come across such a female specimen?
That’s when I realized that I AM the body and there’s no place for me in Krishna’s service. The dreamy feeling penetrated too deep for me to defend myself against. For the life of me I couldn’t find its roots, it went into the very core of my being, deeper than the deepest I’ve ever been aware of. And she wasn’t some kind of angel, despite the overwhelming attraction the reality has set in even in the dream – she was married, she went on and on about the place where she lived and the dream ended with me impatiently waiting for her to finish a telephone conversation.
Despite its power it wasn’t a new beginning – it was the same, well traveled road to nowhere, yet I was totally hooked on it.
So I gave up – there’s no way I can turn this sack of flesh into anything even remotely spiritual. I cannot find even a tiniest particle in my identity, in my “I am”, that isn’t grossly materialistic. There’s no point in me praying “I’ll do this and I promise that” – they are all cries for personal enjoyment, and not very well disguised either, and that’s not me, this “I” is not my real self, it’s false ego.
Why should I, or Krishna, for that matter, care about well-being of this false ego? Going along with my prayers is not only hopeless, it’s an exercise in futility. So what next then?
Being totally bewildered I also succumbed to desire to fix my home network once and for all, allegedly to copy japa recordings I downloaded earlier to another computer. Various ways to do it and all kinds of solutions and tricks have overwhelmed my mind and so the first thirty two rounds had gone to the dogs. I think I’ve lost half an hour comparing to my regular speed and names were coming out of my mouth with such difficulty that I resigned to being powerless over the process, over my mind, over my life.
Did I consider surrendering? Feeling helpless is a perfect reason, isn’t it? I ran into a small problem, though – I saw no point in trying to surrender what is not me. I could, theoretically, try to surrender my false ego but that would have been under false pretenses, too. “I”, as I know myself, was not worth surrendering.
Then I finally turned on those blasted japa mp3s and in quiet amusement observed a total reversal of fortune. Suddenly my own japa started flowing, not just chanting, consciously producing the words – it flowed entirely on its own instead. When I tried to think about it, I started staggering. When I tried to think of anything else, I started staggering. The only way to keep the flow was to shut up and listen.
I had no idea where my limits were. When I thought I was swallowing some syllables and tried to vigorously monitor myself – I staggered.
It was out of my hands, for the second time in the morning.
I couldn’t pray – it interrupted the flow, I couldn’t concentrate – it interrupted the flow, too. No mental activity was allowed. For a couple of days I was thinking how to introduce the “rapt attention” in this blog, today I was shown that it interrupts the flow, too.
To make matters worse, after one recording maharaj said a few words about importance of chanting or something, I didn’t listen, I just skipped forward to check if he is still talking and the only words I caught “simply chant for Krishna’s pleasure, don’t think of anything, and gradually…”
Don’t think of anything? Simply chant? Is this piece of advice a mere coincidence? Whole morning I’ve been wondering if I should let go of all thoughts and simply chant.
Why didn’t I think of that before?
Well, I tried to concentrate, I tried to put all my heart into chanting, I tried very hard to control my mind, if “simply chant” was so easy I would have done it long ago.
Finally, by Krishna’s grace, I’ve been given this wonderful flow of japa that does not allow for any interruptive thoughts at all. Also, to maintain this flow I need to keep up the speed, it just doesn’t want to flow slower, so to speak.
In the afternoon it went through some kind of rapids, I guess. Round after round it sped at four and a half minutes, on Prabhupada’s japa even faster. I was doing sixteen rounds at an hour and ten-fifteen minutes, solid.
Sometimes it was impossible to follow and it allowed my mind to wander away while still keeping the speed up, and at this time I thought I was going crazy – my awareness of the world around me went to zero. Only chanting, listening, and filling the gaps with the voice of japa recordings – nothing else was allowed if I wanted to stay sane.
God knows I missed lots of syllables but I was in no position to argue. Chant slower, enunciate every word, and the mind goes astray, japa stops, tongue stammers – all kinds of bad things happen.
Out of my hands, I reminded myself, again.
I can’t imagine where it will all go tomorrow. Too unpredictable.