trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
"One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord." (Siksatakam V.3)(Adi-lila 17.31)
The best spiritual advice I have received so far is to always wear this verse of Lord Caitanya's as a garland around one's neck. Every devotional situation, from the sweetest bliss to the heaviest sauce, will find its most transcendental fruition if I can just remember to imbibe and act upon this best of advice.
However, because I'm a very fallen and conditioned soul, who cannot even begin to realize that serving the lotus feet of the devotees of the Lord is clearly my only alternative in this maddened world, I find it very hard to wear this verse as a garland around my neck...
I find it very hard to be inspired when inspiration is not externally present. I find it very hard to deal with my proud intelligence, and my yapping, relentless mind. I find it very hard to plan for the bright future when all I do is think about the past. I find it very hard to stay awake in the morning, and my hearing and chanting often suffers.
I find it very hard to break bad habits. I find it very hard to not just simply do my own thing, especially when I perceive everyone else acting of their own independent accord. I find it very hard to avoid strong, negative opinions. I find it very hard to avoid politics. I find it very hard to not completely fall apart if I do something wrong, or perceive that I have offended someone.
I find it very hard to be challenged. I find it very hard to stay focused. I find it very hard to stay steady. I find it very hard to stay celibate. I find it very hard to always remember you, my dear Radha-Vrindaban Chandra.
On the other hand, it's easy to breathe. It's easy to walk into the temple and see Your lotus eyes. It's easy to feel the love of Your devotees. It's easy to be grateful to Your devotees for picking me up out of the mess I made.
These are just the simple confessions of a dangerously small devotional creeper. I pray to You and to you to help me tend my garden. If this candidness helps me to move closer to truly being humbler than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree, then let me never hide the feelings of my heart from those I trust the most, the devotees of the Lord.