Vanity thought #214. Wasteful week.

The week is not over but I already know it’s been wasted. Not only on frivolous pursuits but I think gods conspired against me, too.

I haven’t had a chance to chant three lakhs, not even close, in fact even two lakhs has been problematic. Weekend starts a day earlier for me so I’m looking at three days with family with four days of nothingness behind me.

Thanks to various engagements I had less time to chant than usual, and thanks to various distractions I had less attention to pay than usual, too.

To survive this week I decided to have sixteen solid rounds everyday but let the rest take care of itself. If I had something to do I had to do it while chanting. Or chant while doing it, doesn’t really matter.

The result was that a lot of time this week I have been totally spaced out, hardly remembering to move my beads and losing count every half and hour. I don’t know if it was a good idea but it was the only one I had. I don’t think it would have been better not to chant at all, my tasks were not really demanding, there was no problem with completing them at all, it’s only my japa that suffered from inattention.

I’m still in two minds about it. What I did was offensive, I can’t avoid the feeling of cheating myself, on the other hand I believe chanting even offensively is better than not chanting at all. It’s not like I was dressing the Deities or cooking for Krishna. Oh wait, I did that, too…

I consoled myself by declaring that I’m sick and tired of this world and the demands it puts on my existence here, I told it to go and screw itself. I’m forced to do many things due to me having a body but since it’s only chanting that matters for my soul I’m not going to stop that no matter what my senses want or need.

I’m sick and tired of my mind wanting to solve a multitude of technical problems and learn a dozen of new things. I can’t stop it, it’s in its nature, but I’ve decided I would chant through it regardless.

In some ways the result was less than encouraging, I felt like I was really throwing those hours away. Well, no point in crying for spilled milk, I told myself. The sixteen dedicated rounds were better than ever, that I can’t deny, too. I’ve found some new connections, new, deeper feelings, new dedication, but that was not enough to offset the distaste of chanting inattentively for the rest of the day.

The main problem is how much time that inattentive chanting took. At first I thought it would be only an hour or two but I grossly underestimated the power of my distractions. I swear on some days six hours went by and I didn’t pause a second to think about the words that were leaving my lips.

Something has to be done, it can’t go on like this forever. I’m afraid my initial enthusiasm for chanting extra rounds has gone, my hopes of seeing the rainbows has dissipated. Now I know that there’s nothing magic about chanting three lakhs a day, I have nothing to look forward to, or rather my mind has nothing to look forward to anymore.

At first, my intelligence convinced my mind that great payoffs are awaiting me if I chant three lakhs. Great new tastes, unrivaled enjoyment, reservoir of pleasure, oceans of nectar.

Nothing like that at all and my mind refuses to be fooled anymore. Now it calculates the actual outcomes from me chanting vs me downloading and tweaking all kinds of software. In my mind calculations chanting loses every time. If it’s not interested in software there’s always a daily newspaper with fascinating political news, if politics get boring there’s twitter with people sending interesting links to check out, if twitter is slow there are plenty of blogs on all kinds of subjects to read.

Sometimes I catch my mind being bored with it all but it still doesn’t let me concentrate on chanting. Even if it has nothing particular to do it doesn’t like simply listening to the Names. I hope it would change in the future but for now I’m drowning.

Perhaps all I’m doing right now is dancing around the big elephant in the room – chanting didn’t turn out as I expected. Not attractive enough, not engaging enough, not fulfilling enough. In a battle for the attention of my mind and for satisfaction of my senses japa still loses.

There’s another bitter realization that I’m afraid to admit to myself – Krishna doesn’t care about my life a bit. This week He had plenty of chances to show that He looks after the devotees, I was anticipating His intervention any moment. Well, the week has gone by and nothing happened.

It is not surprising per se and I’m ready to admit my misunderstandings and false hopes and all but it doesn’t come easily.

What if all that I thought real about Krishna’s care is just a figment of my imagination? I know I’m most probably wrong but it gave me a warm feeling of safety and protection when I thought “Oh look, Krishna is doing this for me and Krishna is doing that.” It turns out He is not doing anything.

I’m just a spec of dust in the vast ocean of bhava, material existence, I’m being tossed here and there by the strong waves and sometimes hurricanes beat the last drop of life out of me. I’ve also lead a relatively more sinful life in some aspects and so there’s no way for me to go but down. I think I’ll get something useful for being vegetarian and all but in many other ways I’m doing worse than average, comparing to people around me.

So, I thought Krishna would correct all that. As I said already I was probably wrong, very wrong, Krishna doesn’t exist to provide safety in my material life, He has His illusory potency for that purpose and she is doing fine, lulling me into a false sense of security against all my experience and intelligence.

Maybe it’s a good lesson for me – do not look for Krishna where He doesn’t exist, you’re going to be disappointed. The lesson is bitter, however.

My obsession with duty for the past three days also put some restraints on my options. Today I sat down and thought about my immediate future and I realized that I don’t have any options, my duty is to live through my predicament and that’s all.

You know how people always have dreams of a better life. They have visions of themselves being happy and content and they have at least vague ideas about how this improvements could come about. I got stripped of those. I can’t dream anymore, I only have the “reality” and chanting, there’s no place in my life for dreams, they are part of the illusion and, as such, part of the reality these dreams were meant to escape.

I’m sure I fully deserved my predicament but it’s still hard to accept that Krishna doesn’t care about improving it at all, and why should He? I obviously have enough presence of mind to keep on chanting and to realize the futility of these “improvements”. In fact He might still intervene the moment He realizes I can’t take it anymore. Apparently this time has not come yet and I still have some way to go before I snap.

That’s another thing – I suspect there’s no way to escape the snap test. My will to serve Krishna and my strength to ignore illusory setbacks of this world must be tested to the limit. I don’t know what the passing grade is but if I want Krishna to grant me devotion I have to stay strong as long as I possibly can.

I will probably fail this time but the good thing is that I will surely get another try and it will be easier. It’s like progressing to a next level in a computer game – you have to make a certain number of attempts before you master it, the more times you fail the closer you are to getting through.

While the material energy has tied some screws around me I’m still not even close to the point of screaming for mercy. Most of my problems are concoctions of my own mind, I haven’t been hurt as such, I’m only trying to protect future damage to my own ego, I only imagine all the things that could happen to me.

From that POV I have nothing to blame Krishna for – nothing has actually happened yet, I have only fears for my future.

And inattentive chanting, too, I should not forget.

Somehow or other my progress for this week is realizing my fundamental weaknesses and seeing the futility of my attempts at “better life”.

I have imagined myself achieving some sort of a benchmark for a progressing devotee but I was wrong, I misidentified myself again and I let the pride to rule my head, too.

I don’t know about the victory but identifying my enemies is not a defeat, it’s not a total waste, title of this blog notwithstanding.

Real devotion to the Lord stays the same in external comfort or adversities. I just wish I was tested in comfort first. Actually I wish I was tested ONLY in comfort, forget testing in adversities.

That’s, unfortunately, not how it works and I have to get used to it.

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