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The Next Door: an experience with Radhanath Swami


This past Saturday night I was fortunate and lucky to have been able to be in the presence of spiritual leader Radhanath Swami. If you don't know who he is, I didn't know. He's been a Bhakti Yoga practitioner and spiritual teacher for more than 40 years, an activist and author. He is the inspiration behind ISKCON's free midday meal for 1.2 million school kids across India and instrumental in founding the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai.

He is peace, he is love, he is compassion, he is acceptance and he is what I would describe as enlightened. You could feel all this simply being in his presence. As I observed him I felt as though he was on another plane, like he was floating on clouds or glowing. It was powerful, at times I had to rub my eyes, the way the lights shimmered off him it was as though there were playing tricks on me. His inner peace was mesmerizing. Like so many people (me included) he started his journey as a young man feeling something was missing and went in search of it... he wanted more meaning, more love and more life and I heard that he found it through Compassion...

I wanted to share some of the things I heard:

How do we live loving, peaceful and spiritual lives in this hectic modern world we live in? He spoke about all the distractions. How do we give up all the "things"? What he shared is it's not about "giving up" the "lower tastes" but accepting the "higher tastes". It's about seeking and finding the higher pleasures within ourselves. To find compassion and to put aside all the things that block you. That to seek and discover the higher tastes, (rewards, goals or anything of larger importance) you must stop being distracted by all the little things. Most of us fuss, complain and fight over all the little things. We are not focused on the "higher tastes" so we never reach or discover to them. He discussed having focus and integrity and a commitment to the higher principles which is what makes it possible. He shared ways to help stay focused on the spiritual path (which is different for everyone). He also shared that it can be done in any country and in any profession. You don't have to move to India or be a monk, but you can be a teacher or a banker or even a politician and still be on the spiritual path. His advice; to be around people that inspire you, they are your compass or your teachers. To take time every single day to connect with yourself/God/Soul/Spirit. The last piece was live with the spirit of service.

It's amazing that I was able to attend this event. I would not have even known about it if I had not taken on my 30 day yoga commitment. The exuberant Dana Trixie Lynn, owner of Laughing Lotus, the studio where I've been practicing, interviewed him and Laughing Lotus among other yoga studios promoted the event at the Rubin Museum. Saturday night May 7th was a moment in my life that I believe I will always remember, it was powerful, impactful, and so full of wisdom and love. It's pretty cool how life presents us with new opportunities and if we have the courage to step through those new doors we find that additional doors appear. If we have the courage to walk through one of those new doors, many more new doors appear and so on and on an on. I am grateful for where I am right now, but I also look forward to discovering and walking through that next door...

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By Alex Terranova