All it takes is a shaft of sunshine to flood our room and voila! we feel better already. Here’s a great quote that speaks to that:
“If the sun can penetrate within your room, cannot Krishna penetrate within your heart and room and every corner? He is so useless? He’s everywhere, but you have to realize, how He is everywhere.” - Srila Prabhupada
When we look at our growing relationship with Krishna so much of it is linked to the ‘sunshine’ experiences of personal spiritual disciplines. These happen in scheduled and unscheduled ways. The scheduled ones are those daily/ weekly practices that we put on our calendar which are recommended in sastra (Vedic scriptures) - a commitment to a number of mantras chanted, books read, or services offered. It also includes prayers, financial contributions, good conversations with friends and mentors, and quiet reflection.
While such personal discipline is one of the five key ways we grow towards trust in Krishna, they can sometimes be challenging. Life can be full, busy, interrupted, and feel like a never ending list of ‘to-do’s’. If our sadhana (spiritual practices) becomes another to-do, we have a problem. If our chanting stresses us out, our time with Krishna is forced, or giving money creates fear or even bitterness - we really have a problem. We lock down the very thing that can lift us up.
We need to look out for that. We need to create times and environments that really work for us on an individual basis. This may change as our life changes, but the commitment to sadhana should not. A nice definition of spiritual discipline or austerity is finding our best time of the day or week and giving that time to Krishna. We’ll be at our best and what we give will be our best.
A personal discipline means something you commit to again and again to gain a result. The result we are looking for is our faith growing to be ‘unflinching trust in something sublime’. We are building our spiritual muscles so we become strong enough to trust, and thus to love Krishna. That’s the sunshine we want to be shining through the windows of our heart and enlightening our soul, our very self. That’s the place we want to be.