A Karmi, A Jnani, and a Bhakta Walk Into a Bar…
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | September 29, 2020
A Karmi, a Jnani, and a Bhakta walk into a bar…with masks on. But when they realize the boisterous crowd is ignoring social distancing, they decide to hang out in the parking lot and yell through their car windows to each other for a few minutes before heading home.
That pretty much sums up my social life these days.
It’s day 200. I am working hard to avoid being sucked into the black hole of monotony. But I get lonely sometimes. I would like to teach a live yoga class, or sit at a café with a friend and talk about…anything. I want to go somewhere besides the woods or the grocery store. I fight an impulse to hug strangers.
I consult inspirational books to remind myself of the inherent beauty of existence – even in difficult times there are always choices. I can walk the path of the Karmi and be of service to others. That always helps me feel more normal. I can take up Jnana and study something fascinating that leads me to a deeper understanding of myself. That tends to satisfy my seeking mind.
And I can practice Bhakti – chanting, singing kirtan, practicing devotional meditation. I can work on expanding my capacity for being present with myself and others – and connecting to and developing a deeper relationship with my higher power – which plugs me in to a vast wellspring of love and support.
Soon after I had my son 16 years ago, a good friend who’s also a talented healer came over to visit. I was weeping – lost in a hormonal forest of post-partum despair. When the baby fell asleep, he set up his massage table, helped me up on it, and started to work.
I cried more.
As he cradled my head, he said this:
“I want you to imagine a golden rope. It connects you straight to your source. Hold onto it. Hold on tight. You are being held. You will never be abandoned.”
He helped me climb out of the post-partum pit. Soon after my hormones normalized and I could enjoy mothering the new being I’d birthed. But I’ve kept that rope with me ever since.
And when times get tough, I hang on.
Make no mistake, we are in the middle of a collective global trauma – the likes of which we’ve never before experienced. The impact of which we will probably not fully comprehend for years.
And so, the path of the Bhakta beckons – it’s not jnana yoga, which is arduous and intellectual – often called the “razor’s edge” and it’s not the busyness of the karma yogi. It’s different – wide and inviting, soft, accessible, strewn with flowers.
This is what calls me these COVID days.
It’s easy to be happy and feel spiritual when things are going your way. When they’re not, there’s practice, and there’s Bhakta to soothe the soul. I randomly open the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra and read this:
Imagine the entire world consumed by flame.
Stay steady, do not waiver,
As fire transmutes form into light
The soul reveals itself
To itself as Radiance.
verse 53 (trans. Lorin Roche)
evameva jagat sarvaṃ dagdhaṃ dhyātvā vikalpataḥ
ananyacetasaḥ puṃsaḥ puṃbhāvaḥ paramo bhavet || 53
It’s time for tapas. Regularly throw all expectations, all attachments into the fire of practice and find stillness in profound acceptance. My baby is long gone. Now there’s a lanky teenager with an attitude. Still, the brightness and essence of his smile shines through his quickly changing form. His essence is timeless – it will never evaporate.
This realization of essence – everywhere and in everything – that’s the Bhakta’s silver bullet.
There is a very powerful benevolent force, the most benevolent force in the universe. And it’s never distant, it’s intimate, more intimate than a breath. More intimate than the most intimate lover, more intimate than even a heartbeat or a thought. And it will never abandon, because it’s bound by the fiercest love.
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This has to be one of your best, most inspiring and timely writings. Thank you so much for lifting us up🙏🏻🥰
Thank you Carol, that’s very sweet. 🙏 I’m feeling some COVID exhaustion today.
Thank you Kristine for these beautiful words. You have been a huge force in my life this year and I hope to be able to give you a big hug one day in person. Actually we might all be lined up for a hug. 🌸🙏🏻
Thank you Deb – I’m so looking forward to that hug!
Thank you, Kaoverii, for these encouraging words.
Dear Kristine, I would like to echo what Carol has to say. Your words speak to my soul, they are beautiful, full of Grace, love, and hope. I haven’t managed to practice live with you this past week or so, or commented on the wonderful way your teachings and beautiful practices, support me. The way you speak of Ishvara is so comforting and resonates with me deeply. I try to lift the golf umbrella of ego and open to divine grace which is always present – thank you for inspiring me, deepest bows to you.
Thank you Michele. Hugs.
Oh the joy in moments of awareness! I can sense the love in your words, pictures, essence…and appreciate your willingness to compile your thoughts and share with us. Feels. Likeminded. Gratitude. With you 🙂 xx
Thanks Narelle – I’m feeling the heaviness of it all today. I appreciate you reading and affirming!
Beautifully written! Thank you for your words of inspiration.
Beautiful words. I am aware that at present I am able to move almost as freely as I want in NZ, that I can do all that you wish to do, and one day it will come back to you. Meanwhile I love your golden rope that keeps you in your wisdom and strength as it leads straight back to you. Bless you all who are doing it hard. xx
Thank you Sheila. I’m so glad that you are free – you live in a very special place.
Thank you so much for sharing. Beautifully written. Yes 200 days and we are now in chronic disaster fatigue. I love the golden rope thank you I will be hanging on to mine.
Thank you. From the chuckle of the opening lines to the depths of worry to the highs of hope. When we forget, we’ll remember again.
Yes, and there is a lot of scope at the moment for remembering the benefits of practice, that’s for sure.
This what I need to read today. I am weeping with comfort at joy. Thank you so much!
Aw, thank you Steve!🙏
Thank you Kristine! Just what I needed. From my heart to yours 🙏🏻
That last paragraph just blows me away. It’s just what I needed to hear. Thank you, thank you.
Thanks Nina. Remember that gets me through the tough times.
Oh my, thank you, thank you. You are so inspiring. I love the idea of the golden rope. Hold fast to yours and know too how much love and care is being sent your way from near and far in these troubled times.
This is so beautiful – ty for the powerful lovely reminder
Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and words, full of Hope and Grace. I really need to hear this💞
Hope and grace – that’s exactly what we need right now! Thanks Anne.
Thank you so much Kristine. I salute the truth of your experience. Thank you for always being so open with your vulnerabilities and for dwelling in the now of the mystery which is life presenting itself to us in these seemingly very strange times. Bhakti connects us immediately to the benevolent light which is always always with us. Thank you for this graceful reminder, much needed.
Thank you Caitriona. shanti, shanti, shanti
Dear Kristine, so inspiring. Reminding us of the truth within us. Thank you.
Although I am an outlier in this community, I do appreciate your work and read your e-mails Kristine. I particularly loved this one!
Harmony Network Wellness and Yoga
(previously Harmony Network Chiropractic & Yoga on Cape Cod)
Thank you so much Debra!