Monday Morning Greetings #2 – Thoughts in the Shower

January 11th, 2016

Best place I have ever stayed in India. Everything is new, well built, spotless and spacious. A two foot wide covered veranda encircles the fourth floor penthouse protecting the place from sun and rain. And it is quiet, very quiet. I can even see from my window beyond the pakur (pond) and open field the spiral of Sri Caitanya’s birth place. This couldn’t be better for my meditation and study. That being said there is also a beautiful simplicity to the place. The water is solar heated. It works pretty well, except for the morning bath following an overcast day, which brings me to my point:

The shower this morning wasn’t cozy. The water was tepid and the room cold. When I got out there was some discomfort. It was a good chance to practice what I preach, tapasya, neglecting the irrational impulses of the mind and body. Understanding that ultimately happiness and distress is just in the mind, I mentally abstracted myself from the situation. By practicing tapasya I was not affected by any discomfort. A thought came: Shouldn’t I do the same in a delicious steaming shower in my usual comfy heated room? Shouldn’t I just enjoy? Ahhhh! No! I should abstract myself in both situations. I should be equal in happiness and distress. Why?

The body is a place of suffering. Think of the myriad diseases that threaten us, think of inevitable old age and ultimately the loss everything dear, the pain of death. For every unneeded indulgence, for every excess and unnecessary adjustment for comfort, for every deviance from our quota to keep the body and soul together, we dive deeper into the bodily concept of life. We then not only absorb ourselves in petty pleasure, but also feel the natural discomforts and agonies of the body more. A pinch of pain is felt more than a ton of pleasure. Are the indulgent, unneeded, and unnecessary excesses of life worth it? Should we thus not also extract ourselves from those excesses so that at the end of life we can abstract ourselves from the agony of the temporary body and think of Krishna? Just some thoughts in the shower.

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