It’s been a few days since I wrote my blog, and I have really been missing the writing. For the last few days I have been at the GBC meeting in New Vrindavan so time has been short. But I have learnt a lot about myself during these meetings.
Some people picture the meetings as a time that the GBC gets together and decides gleefully how to control the movement and the people in the movement. Actually management in this day and age is a real sacrifice and in and of itself is not an extremely joyful experience. In fact several GBC members were not able to attend the meeting due to their experience of the meetings as being stressful and therefore being concerned about their health.
As you can probably tell there are a lot of things I would rather do than attend meetings. Things like counting the pebbles on a beach or eating borsht(which my mother used to force me to eat. So, in other words other than the experience of associating with so many nice Vaisnavas who were sacrificing their lives for Srila Prabhupada, the meetings were not something that I really looked forward to.
My nature also is to be engaged in helping others, chanting, hearing Krishna’s pastimes, etc. I don’t have much tendency for management. So, I began to develop the consciousness of "why do I *have* to attend these meetings." I was developing a negative attitude towards the meetings, and would experience them as very unpleasant.
Then I remembered I had choices in live. No one was forcing me to do anything. I didn’t have to do anything. I analyzed my real reason for attending the meeting. It was to please Srila Prabhupada. So, then I changed my train of thought into thinking, "I am choosing to go to the meeting as an act of devotion to Srila Prabhupada and Radha and Krishna."
As soon as I phrased things in my mind in this way, the meeting became part of my practice of Bhakti and I was able to relish a devotional mellow during the meetings. That does not mean however that I am in love with management, but rather I am choosing to do something that for me is difficult as an act of love. When we function out of a conscious desire and need to love, then even something that would not ordinarily be pleasurable becomes relishable because of the Bhakti Rasa that is there.
What to speak of when we decide to eliminate in our thought processes all the ideas that we "have" to do something or we are "supposed" to do something concerning the direct items of Bhakti. Yesterday I received an email from a nice disciple. She was mentioning that the other devotees in the temple were cautioning her to not expect devotional service to be so ecstatic after she had been performing it for many years.
They told her that she was just experience "new be" happiness and after awhile that happiness and enthusiasm would quickly fade away. I was thinking of why that was the experience of so many devotees and also how we could continue with the enthusiasm we felt as new devotees and in fact augment that enthusiasm. Krishna consciousness is supposed to get better and better as time goes on. That has always been my experience.
I understood that one loses his experience of ecstasy not only due to offenses but also for most devotees due to the ritualistic mentality that develops in many. That is we do things because we are "supposed" to do it. We "have" to do it. So, with this mentality everything starting with mongal aroti becomes a big big burden. Because when you are supposed to do something, it psychologically is posited in your mind as something you would not do unless you were "supposed" to do it.