Hare Krishna! Maharaja you mean much to me!
I really am inspired by you and I love the way you present Krishna Consciousness and connect so many topics back to this philosophy. I have tried to also follow your ways and promote Krishna Consciousness in this broad universal style.
From 2018 until now I have sort of distanced myself from devotees and the movement, there was a lot going on in my mind I needed to sort things out, re-calibrate my existence and find direction. I have a tendency to be a "people pleaser" and I noticed in temple settings I would lose my personality and morph into whatever the devotees around me wanted me to be.
I felt this wasn't right on my part and sometimes I felt taken advantage of. I also feel that in general many devotees are very sectarian and do not present Krishna Consciousness in a way that is attractive to new comers. Plenty of people visit the temple each week, very few stay or come back. I felt that there is a better way to connect with the public.
Partially this is why I have created a new image for myself, I have sort of positioned myself on the fringes of the movement so new people feel comfortable talking to me, I am very gentle with them and gain their trust before nudging them forward. I have noticed some benefits to this. In the last few years I helped to cultivate 20-30 new people about half of which are very serious, they are practicing more than myself. They are full time engaged in an ashram, traveling sankirtana or at their house. The other half are still at the very beginning stages but they are interested and it's only a matter of time until they fully jump in.
Although my practice has dwindled still I would talk with these young people and answer their questions or try and guide them to a temple or anything to help them, this somehow kept me engaged in devotional service from a distance.
I regret distancing myself from the movement and the fact that my sadhana went down to nearly 0, the only thing I managed to do is sometimes chant in my mind, listen to a kirtan, or just think about how glorious Srila Prabhupada is. I can't regret it too much though because I see now that life is not a straight line, there are many bumps and turns and this is what forms our character.
After my friend Prahlad commited suicide, my sister died of cancer, and my girlfriend of 5 years left me I had a lot to process. I just turned 28 yesterday and over the past month I have realized it is time to get back on track. I was doing a temporary job which had me traveling and staying in a hotel up by Chicago for a few weeks. While there I got to visit the temple and celebrate Balaram's appearance day, Janmastami etc. It was very refreshing to spend the night in the ashram, go to Mangal arti, and serve along side devotees. I remember how beautiful this movement is. So now I am doing much better than I had been. I chant on my beads and read each morning, I hear lectures and all of the old feelings and inspiration I once had are returning.
ASA - !!
For future plans I have come across a chance to work with some Russian devotees from the Sri Caitanya Saraswath Matha, they have a project in the arts district in downtown LA. They have these big domes where they host events, have artists display their work, they are attracting the young new age hippies, and subliminally planting higher consciousness into the mix. The project is called "Wisdome-LA" here is a link https://wisdome.la/
I don't really know what to do, but this seemed like something that would fit with my style and nature. As I get serious again I feel that this online preaching will take off and help connect many people with Krishna consciousness.
Hope you are well and thank you for all the wonderful things you are doing!
Hare Krishna, Dandavats
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
HpS - It is very nice to hear from you. Your results seem fantastic! Of course, the danger is SB 1.3, no? Last part. Vyasadeva got involved in preaching TOO indirectly and was not satisfied..... so, it is your fine line to draw!
More news as it grows! Daniel in the "City of the Angels"!