The youth clad in hiking boots, jeans, and grey t-shirt hoisted his back pack over his shoulder and hurried out in front of me. Swinging my head to the side to avoid the brusque movement of his pack, I slowed my step to give way to his determination.
Perhaps he knew what to expect: clearing US customs takes time. He was making sure to be in front of the 200+ passengers deplaning in Atlanta from Costa Rica.
The 15-minute walk through the long hall to Passport Control led to a mile-long, single-file snaking line of hundreds of passengers from other flights. I was peaceful listening to a kirtan. Then I noticed how unhappy people seemed, which struck me since I was feeling joy.
I thought, Maybe living in ashrams and chanting the maha-mantra every day has helped me gain patience and peace that don’t come as easy for others.
Curious, I became attentive to individuals, couples, and families as they rounded the corner and took in the length of the line. The longer the line became the more dread, agitation, and concern showed in passenger’s faces. The longer we stood still the more I heard rumbles of unrest.
I took out a container and nibbled on dinner until the line reached an area filled with multiple rows of automated kiosks. There we scanned our passports, answered questions, then had a picture taken, which was printed out like a receipt on a thin piece of paper the size of a boarding pass.
As we waited in a new line to hand our picture-pass to a border patrol officer, I heard several people repeatedly comment on how awful they looked in their photos.
The unhappiness of this wait and ugly pictures is unnecessary if they simply checked negative thoughts. Notice this, Pranada. Commit to changing all traces of your own mental negativity.
Our lives are lived in our minds. Factually, our mind dictates our state of being.
If we don’t like being unhappy we can choose to direct our minds.
For instance, instead of focusing on the length of the line and the time I would stand in it, I could be thankful we landed safely (the plane had touched down so hard that people were jostled in their seats. Many screamed; I had said “Krishna!”).
I was happy to have been with people I cared about earlier in the day; I was listening to transcendental sounds; I had packed a healthy meal; I was on my way home . . . I kept finding more reasons why the moment was utterly precious and I smiled.
After passport control, people hurried to claim their checked luggage to pass through Custom’s control. But freedom was short-lived. We found ourselves bound in another long line.
A short, wiry man behind me kept bumping my luggage or inching next to me, or at times, took a step in front. Finally, I asked if he needed to be in front of me in the single-file line. He stepped in front without a word and barely a glance.
Once past Customs we headed, not to our connecting flights, but to a TSA security checkpoint. This line was seriously long. Now people’s faces were more than gloomy and agitated.
Out of hundreds of people only one young couple was jolly and bantered. Perhaps the newness of their union buoyed their spirits. Their silliness was also an external manifestation of their mind’s playground.
I began to wonder what it would be like if I was with this large group of people during a catastrophe. What would happen to our decorum-veneer if our mettle was really tested? How would we fair at the most demanding checkpoint, death?
If not border control, or control by work, a spouse, money, event or other person/circumstance, we’re controlled unequivocally by Time.
We are not autonomous controllers. Accepting this, we have an opportunity to practice patience and humility to fortify us and strengthen us for mind control.
For we must stand in line; we must wait; we must accept what is; we must die.
How we cope with the musts of our lives depends on whether our mind controls us or we’re in control of it.
While we are controlled by so many things, in the matter of controlling our minds we can exert our real inner power and change the course of our lives.
However, while perfectly restraining the mind can give us peace, it doesn’t allow us to transcend the mind (or body) which is the root cause of our suffering and insecurity.
Nor is it by mind control alone that we’re able to pass through the border at the edge of the multiverses beyond the time-space barrier. Another type of qualification is needed.
Entry into the superior nature is simple: Arrive as a lover.
Proceed as your self disentangled from identification with the temporal material mind-body. Reach there with full spiritual rapture for your Divine Significant Other.* The force of your transcendental passion is the passport required.
Once passing into the transtemporal world, we never again face any boundary or limitation.
To become a passionate lover of our Significant Other we’ll embrace an ego-effacing path that can liberate the self from the grip of the mind-body. Our practice will illuminate the existential nature of our Source.
After all, we need to know a person in order to love them. And we need to know them well in order that our love be strong.
Bhakti is the East’s path that promises these charming objectives.
For centuries, saints, seers, mystics, sages, and ordinary practitioners have validated the efficacy of Bhakti’s mantra meditation kirtan (group singing of Krishna’s holy names) and japa (individual chanting).
Chanting the names is a potent form of dialogue. In a conversation there is an exchange of ideas and sharing of personal interests. When our discussion is with an extraordinary person, our communication stirs feelings of appreciation, and often gratitude. And when our connection is deep and abiding those feelings mature into love.
Bhakti encourages, Sing and chant your way to wise-love.
Taking daily time to free the encaged self from ancient patterns is worth every minute and the inevitable inconveniences are no aggravations at all.
May you be free to pass beyond all borders,
*The five spiritual moods (rasas) parallel the five primary types of loving exchanges in human experience. The relationships of the self with the Divine are reverential/passive love (shanta), subservient love (dasya), friendship/mutual love (sakhya) , nurturing/parental love (vatsalya), and intimate, passionate love (madhurya).