So when I had chemotherapy pretty much all my hair fell out, including my beard which I’d had for 30+ years. Now I’ve finished chemotherapy (Taxotere) and started another drug, Enzalutamide, my hair is growing like crazy! I’m thinking I look like Einstein, but of course one of my kids says “Einstein, yeah right Dad, more like one of the 3 Stooges!” (Do people still remember them?)
It reminds me of a time I was talking to my spiritual teacher, my Gurudev Siddhaswarupananda. First of all I want to say I used to be a very quiet person and didn’t say much because I believed that the less I said the more intelligent people thought I would be “still waters run deep!” That was until someone told me, “But still waters are more often than not stagnant!” After that I thought I was not so careful with what I said.
So, many years ago I was picking up my friend, my spiritual teacher, Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda, from the airport and I had not seen him for some time. When he came through the Customs doors he had a couple of weeks growth of beard. I had only seen him clean shaven before. Almost the first thing out of my mouth was “So you’re growing a beard?” His reply was “No, it’s growing on me!” (I thought then that maybe I should revert back to the ‘still waters’ approach).
I’ve thought about this many times over the years. We use pronouns like I, me, you, we, us, etc. when we are really referring to our bodies; “You look good today”, or “I have a headache“. Because we think that we are our bodies, we talk about our bodies as ‘us’- but we aren’t our bodies.
The ‘I’ is the spirit soul inside the body, not the body that has the headache – or has the hair growing on it. ‘I’ am, ‘we’ are, sparks of the Supreme soul, eternal and indestructible, residing in these bodies.
If I understand this, and experience this, I will not fear death, because I will know that I am not going to die.
Not only am I not this material body, but I have, we all have, an eternal relationship with the Supreme Soul. It may be dormant at present but it is easily revived. This is what kirtan does. The singing, the saying, the chanting of holy names of Krishna, Yahweh (Jehovah), God, cleanses the heart and allows us to see clearly again. See who we are, see other living entities for who they are, our brothers, our sisters. It is a truly enlightening experience when we look at the world this way.
I am the spirit soul residing in the heart, and also sitting beside me, sitting beside all of us in our hearts, is an expansion of the Supreme soul. He is always with us. He never leaves us, we are never alone. If we feel the world is getting us down, if we are lonely, if we feel our lives have no purpose, we can pray to our Lord in our heart:
“My dear Lord, it has been many lifetimes since I have seen You, many lifetimes that I have chosen to ignore You, chosen not to hear You in my heart. But You have been patient with me. Please let me come to You, to serve You. Your Holy Names alone can cleanse my heart of all the lifetimes of rubbish I have accumulated. Let me chant Your Names, let me sing Your Holy Names with sincerity and enthusiasm, and place my heart and my hands in Yours.”
Thank you and Namaste