Wednesday, February 10, 2010

IN_JOY My Book Review for Hay House | "Chants Of a Lifetime" by Krishna Das

Chants of a Lifetime offers an honest and humble story of one man's journey into the pitfalls and difficulty that befall most of us on the spiritual journey. Krishna Das tells of a story that is constantly caught in a battle between the spirit and the flesh. Wavering between extreme devotion and narcissism to a person who eventually opens his heart to loving himself in acceptance. For anyone who has been searching to move from the ego directed life and its false demands to a life filled with meaning and purpose this book is for you. Das offers his simple yet beautiful stories, accounting his life as a devotee, traveling the world searching for and finally finding a way to serve life through his gift of chanting. For the past 15 years I too have felt the ups and downs as I imagined how would it be to be enlightened. I could identify with Das' plight as we realize in a brief moment how ridiculous the idea is. Always waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect yoga pose, the perfect meditation, affirmation or phrase and then the "I" would be gone. As Das explains, it can never happen. "The absolute Divine presence is always in our hearts. It is always here." There is no finish line, only continual expansion as All of it.

His honest account does not always paint a rosey picture of "hippie freedom," wandering around India, practicing austerities, experimenting with drugs, sitting at the feet of gurus as he battles the internal talk of self loathing and unworthiness, yet I am thankful for the opportunity to read this beautiful story of humanity and the Spirit.

This book has tremendous energy and was very hard to put down. The different experiences on his journey are described vividly and with focus and emotion. You feel like you are living each sentence with him as he goes through his ever changing situations as a devotee, bus driver, Kirtan leader, husband and father. Das honestly admits that he can go from heaven to hell in a brief moment even after years of practice. Driving through New York, listening to his own Kirtan Cd, he gets cut off and finds himself immediately reacting, speeding up to get a look at the driver. He meets face to face with a little old lady who can hardly see over the steering wheel. As Das explains,"Over time, I've seen these old programs slow down and become more transparent. We have a brief moment to let go before that wave of emotion comes over us and renders us helpless."

In my own life I can see how the practice of watching the mind, remembering to breathe before I react or speak has made a difference. Before getting caught up in the drama and old reactions of yelling and complaining, I take a deep breath and choose peace over the chaos. It doesn't mean the emotions won't still come up, we just don't need to get completely sucked into our stories. "It's like a wave, maybe the wave only goes up to our knees instead of 50 feet over our heads." Creating spaciousness in our lives may take practice and Das has shown this through his candid humor and open hearted honesty. Our lives and our ego are all under our own direction. Saying the right words, reading the right books, listening to the right teachers is not enough, we must Be the experience of what we are wanting. I had it backwards for many years, looking for the experience of happy before I could be happy, or fulfilled, or on purpose, fill in the blank. The Universe can only reflect what is inside of us before it can create it outside of us.

The book also includes photos from his time in India and a CD that drew me into the beautiful experience of chanting once again. The cd illustrates how truly gifted he is. Chants of a Lifetime has opened my heart into remembering my own truth, giving myself permission to let go of the idea of "DOing spiritual practices to attain happiness" and simply BE the Spirited person I Am.

I enjoyed the honor of reviewing this free book from Hay House,
Many Blessings,

Hay House



1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.