22 November 2008

From a Reader:

Hello Ed,

I enjoyed reading your new article entitled, "My Own Method." After trying and abandoning pretty much everything else, I also fell back on chanting. I wasn't trying to accomplish anything at that point -- I just had an impulse to do it and went with it. It was pretty much the only thing that kept me sane. I don't have much of a musical background, but I still love sacred music from all traditions. Someone once said that music is the next best thing to silence, but really, chanting and silence are exactly the same thing, and there's nothing better than either one.

There's really nothing anyone can do. At some point, the heart just opens and swallows us up. For some strange reason, it does seem necessary for people to put themselves through all manner of spiritual practices and hazing rituals before this happens, but none of those things really do anything except make the story of human existence a little more entertaining. I guess if too many people followed the example of Valmiki (author of the Ramayana) and went directly from being infamous criminals to a great saints, all the yogis practicing tapas would get really pissed off and start complaining to the Big Guy. We couldn't have that.

Yep, practice is absolutely necessary, for no particular reason other than that's how this drama was written: We start as an amoeba, eventually evolve to human form, get depressed, start standing on our heads and uttering mantras, get even more depressed, give up, and find eternal peace. It's a pretty straightforward formula, really.

I noticed that you suggested putting all Robert's talks on mp3 players and playing them in the morning or whenever. I think this makes as much sense as anything and will help some people. My wife loves to listen to Robert and has asked me if I can get more of his talks from somewhere other than the Infinity Institute. If you ever want to sell me an mp3 player with Robert's talks on them that I could give to her, I will take an oath to disavow all knowledge of where they came from if the advaita police ever raid my home and ask whether I got the talks from "authorized '30 year' students®." Or, if you don't want to bother, that's fine too. Everything sorts itself out in the right way eventually.

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