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Enjoy your Japa

Heading out the door in the morning to tend to my rounds (daily meditation practice) I was feeling less than happy about doing so. Although honoring my commitment to ‘get them done’ my mind was reminding me of all the things I’d rather be doing.

Just then my husband texted me about a few things and signed off with ‘Enjoy your japa!’. It jumped out at me and shifted my mood. Yes I thought, why not enjoy this time with Krishna, time alone with my beads and the holy name? Time that I don’t have to think or worry about anything else. Time to go deep into the soul that I am and feel that connection.

Sometimes, as spiritual practitioners, we are so anxious to ‘do things right’ and give all enjoyment to Krishna, that we are not quite sure what to do with our own natural tendency to enjoy and seek happiness. Feeling great joy might mean you are only thinking about yourself and how you feel, not about Krishna and how He feels.

So how to deal with this conundrum - our essential nature is to enjoy and yet we are not meant to be the enjoyers? Or are we?

Here’s the thing. Bhakti is about learning to love Krishna by turning the material into spiritual. Material life and material enjoyment are basically dead ends. Something is there but one is never quite satisfied. If we take that same life and energy and connect it to Krishna through who we are and what we do, we begin to experience spiritual enjoyment.

If we don’t find pleasure in our spiritual life and practice then we won’t continue do it. It’s as simple as that. We can only do things dutifully for so long. If there is no love, no sweet taste in relationship, no happiness, no joy - we will look elsewhere.

I had a great japa walk that day. I relished the quiet hearing of Krishna’s names, enjoyed feeling shelter and connection to the sweetest Lord, and felt happy to offer myself in service to He who is

known as Rasanath - the king of enjoyment. I was also grateful for the reminder that joy is an essential ingredient for our spiritual practice and we must consciously and intentionally seek it and feel it. Life is too short, and spiritual life too valuable, to be miserable.

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