1. Apply principles so we can measurably change our lives whether the world around us changes or not.
2. We have to search for our “rest” in the correct place. It is not linked with external circumstances.
3. The key is the internal condition of the heart.
4. The presence or absence of rest at the center of our lives determines the manner and extent to which we are shaken by the circumstances of life.
5. We have to accept Krishna’s mercy and accept His timing. We have to wait for Him.
6. Time is generally a factor in anxiety.
7. We have to abandon the notion that our circumstances must change.
8. We have to rest in faith when solutions remain unseen. We have to trust His timetable, despite that it may be different than our own.
9. This means “surrender” and “acceptance.”
10. External circumstances are dictated by our karma and, ultimately, Krishna’s desire or sanction. Our freedom lies within the realm of our response and attitude. These are our choice.
11. The challenge in difficult circumstances is to accept the process and take shelter of Krishna.
12. During difficult times, know what is internally required. Take shelter of the words of sastra.
13. However, taking shelter of Krishna and acceptance of circumstances isn’t a matter of setting back. It is a position of active dependence of Krishna. It means working, doing one’s duty, acting correctly according to the need, yet trusting the results to Him.
14. This type of living by one’s faith is an intention, aggressive, pro-active choice of the will.
15. This type of acceptance and surrender means choosing to hold out for His solutions, His results, His direction, and His timing—regardless of how long or what direction that takes.
16. All problems should be given to Krishna both through surrender, prayer, and practical action. But the practical action should follow the prayerful surrender.
17. It means that we should place things in His hands and trust His ability to work them out—in His way and in His time.
18. Once circumstances and problems are placed with Krishna, they should be left there.
19. Often timing strains our faith and trust. It can stretch our faith to its breaking point.
20. Although we may feel fearfully cut off from Krishna’s mercy, we must willfully trust the caring and unfailing affection of Krishna and His servants. During difficult stretched times, we have to deliberately redirect our attention from our circumstances and choose to dwell on Krishna’s words. Relief lies only their.
21. How one waits in difficult stretched, “out of control” circumstance is a product of our choice. If we faithfully, trustingly, and acceptingly take shelter of Krishna and surrender to Him, we will give Him a free hand to use us as He desires. And work things out as He desires.
22. At difficult times, take shelter of the path already walked upon by the great souls.
23. What to practically do in difficult times? First commit your will to Krishna and desire to surrender to His merciful desire. This is a conscious choice. Pray. Willfully choosing to seek His shelter is an act of surrender that ignites faith in the core of the heart.
24. When you pray, focus on Krishna, not on the problem. Remember sastra and what sastra says about 1. His power, 2. His care for His devotees, 3. then turn to your own problem at hand, 4. and then declare your full surrender to and dependence on Him.
25. Be willing to wait for Krishna and His directions.
26. If you don’t get some clear response, understand what surrender is. Understand what will be pleasing to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna. Be prepared to move towards those required actions.
27. Don’t expect answers that are full and complete in every detail.
28. How can we move towards actions, as is often required, yet remain faithfully dependent? When it’s time to act, we should review Krishna’s power and care for His devotees. This will help us deal with our fear, feelings of inability, and perhaps lack of details. Our ability to peacefully surrender depends upon our faith in Him and His commitment in His dealings with His devotees.
29. Chant Hare Krishna, study sastra, and take shelter of His service! Expand the time of your sadhana. Depend upon Him; don’t depend upon yourself. Move forward with deliberate dependence upon Krishna and His words. Focus your consciousness upon Him and remain in that focus.
30. Fear tends to be strong; faith weak when a confrontation arises. The challenge is to be strong in faith. You’ll need that to confront the increase in fear that accompanies action on faith, with dependence, and heading toward a situation with “unknown results.”
31. Expect fear to increase. Separate your faith from your feelings. Fear of the unknown is normal. Acting on faith despite fear and doubts is courageous faith! Move forward in faith despite fear and doubt and other negative, un-ideal feelings.
32. Honor and thank Krishna after it’s over. Mercy is present; honor Krishna’s gifts. This may be a good time to review Krishna’s continued mercy on me throughout my life.
33. When life seems out of control, we tend to want Krishna’s help to change the externals. Rather, we are more likely to need His help changing us within. We need to pray, and through prayer, relinquish our hold on circumstances beyond our control. We have to give our circumstances, as well as our illusory control over them, to Him. The result is internal peace, regardless of the external circumstances.
34. This should be done at anytime for everything. We should relinquish our ownership, and as Krishna’s servant, offer all to Him.
35. Surrendering in this way should be continuously recurring. Results generally do not come in a once-and-for-all fashion.
36. The peace offered to us by Krishna also offers protection and warnings. When that peace recedes, we should recognize that as an indication that we need more shelter. Thus ongoing turmoil offers an opportunity for more dependency and intimacy.
37. Beware of the internal voices of impatience that steal away our dependence upon Krishna and lack of trust in His timing.
38. Turn to trusted others in times of difficulty.
39. Beware of discontent and its throwing of blame on the imperfectness of external circumstances. Discontentment is an internal state, independent of external circumstances.
40. Better to see discontentment as Krishna’s calling us closer to Him.
41. Contentment is not a matter of will-power. It is not a matter of trying harder. It is a gift of strength from Krishna. We truly need this minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. We need to learn what it means to live always through the strength of Krishna.
42. Acknowledgement and admission of our own incapacity and taking it to Krishna is required. Learning to face circumstances by His strength is a slow, expanding discovery. We seem only to take shelter and call out when our strength has completely proved insufficient.
43. To deal with discouragement, tell Krishna openly and honestly how you feel. Do so until you are certain that you’ve been fully heard. Take your situation directly.
44. Next telling yourself the truth about Krishna restores a more accurate perspective. We learn this from sastra, from the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. We may learn, and even memorize, Krishna’s words and promises, and His pastimes of dealing with devotees in the past.
45. When discouraged, seek help from others.
46. When our dreams are broken, good lessons may be learned. Yet, this gold isn’t acquired easily. The process is unavoidably painful with no shortcuts.
47. Brokenness may be the greatest lesson learned by this process. Brokenness is that ability to stand before Krishna and others openhanded—no longer preoccupied with yourself, your abilities, or your ambitions.
48. Broken people have stopped making demands how things should happen. They leave themselves available for Krishna to do anything He pleases. They are surrendered. They are accepting and dependent.
49. This attitude causes intimacy and privilege in their service.
50. This surrendered kind of brokenness often arises from years of unfulfillment, frustration, and disappointment and having let go of one’s dream of how and when Krishna should have acted. One is detached from one’s own plans. Rest acceptance and peace but not betrayal. This type of surrender has trust in Krishna even when things happen differently than expected.
51. When our dreams remain unfulfilled Krishna often is asking for us to fully and actually renounce our attachment and desire for them. Forever.
52. In this detached state of mind, we are free to receive what He has for us. That degree of faith and trust may be the fruit grown from broken dreams.
53. Our dreams often are born of, or are contaminated with false-ego and self-centeredness. Sometimes these contaminations are subtle and unnoticed.
54. We are therefore required to trust Krishna’s discretion and accept His will as best. Are we willing to trust Krishna when what he ordains is different than our desire? Are we willing to offer Him our plans, even those for service?
55. The difficulties of the journey should not be mistaken for the absence of Krishna’s compassion. He is there, whether or not we can perceive Him.
56. At other times we have no alternative other than waiting. At those times we often are unable to discern either His presence or His desires. We just are forced to wait.
57. We may respond to Krishna’s merciful request for obedient waiting with, “I didn’t ask for this!” or “Nothing I do matters!” or “Why should I be obedient when compromise seems more practical!”
58. The longer the wait is, the easier it becomes to rationalize away obedient waiting instead of waiting still further for Krishna to execute His will in His own way at His own time.
59. Another response to the request to wait is “That’s it! I can’t go on any further!” Actually, our hope never was in that “last straw”; it was in Krishna. That last change of circumstances doesn’t actually change what you are being requested to do.
60. Another response is “How long can this go on, Krishna?” Time looks different from Krishna’s point of view, the viewpoint of eternity. Trust that Krishna is still there and that days of waiting are never wastes and for naught. Often great prayers and other long-standing literary offerings that give solace to others are born from the distress and despair of waiting for Krishna to act.
61. When life seems to have stopped, take shelter of transcendental literatures that describe advanced souls demonstrating the patience and mentality required to deal with this type of challenge.
62. Often the writing that offers us the most solace was written by individuals in great times of difficulty. Often we find tenderness, raw honesty, an openness toward Krishna accompanied by a willingness to accept and surrender to Krishna’s plan as well as His timing—despite the adversity that may be present.
63. We walk by faith, not by sight, for Krishna’s workings are often carried out beyond our view. Krishna’s work is present despite our lack of awareness of it.
64. We are asked to trust that we are neither alone, abandoned, nor forgotten.
65. Those moments appearing as worst at times turn out as our best. They can transform our character, point out our weaknesses, and reduce attachments.
66. Good may occur by Krishna’s will despite the lack of expertise or even good (or the inclusion of malice) in the hearts of those who have been instrumental to Krishna. Not a blade of grass moves without Krishna’s sanction.
67. Although grudges should not be held towards others, one should nevertheless act practically in one’s dealings.
68. When you feel stuck, imprisoned by circumstances, and can do little of what appears to be your duty, do another service. Serving Krishna is our intrinsic nature and our material situation cannot eradicate His service. Ultimately, Krishna consciousness is independent of material externals.
69. If the desire to serve Krishna is present, we will always be able to do some service, even if it is of a different kind. We always have something to offer others, regardless of the externals of our circumstances.
70. Again there is an intimacy in service to Krishna when one is broken. Krishna uses cracked-pots; every individual possesses their own spiritual gifts.
71. After all, true success comes by and from Krishna’s mercy not from our own abilities.
72. When we serve from our own strength, people get the impression they should be like us.
73. When we serve from our own strength, we tend to stand in front of Krishna and block others’ ability to see Him.
74. If you wish to always appear strong or successful you lose the ability for transparency. By attempting success through the management of appearances, you lose freedom to be honest, you are unable to express needs, you must cover up your mistakes, you need to have all the answers, and you lose the freedom to be yourself.
75. My desire is to be used instrumentally by Krishna, despite not being what I had hoped I would be. I can end the performance.
76. May Krishna use me in my weakness even more than in my strength.
77. Although we’ve mostly emphasized acceptance, patience, and waiting there is nevertheless activity in that waiting. It is a detached dutiful waiting for Krishna’s results.
78. Strong and decisive actions are also required within uncertain times of waiting.
79. When do we directly and decisively act? When do we prayerfully wait? How to discern Krishna’s desire during perplexing, uncertain times?
80. We can view circumstances through five filters and they can help us decide whether we should wait, be cautious, or act. These five filters will help you discern your options with greater clarity.
81. One: Motives. What is behind my desire for action? What motivates me to act instead of wait?
82. Be brutally honest. What wants and needs are present? Our motives may be admirable, pure, and worthy of action. At times they are self-serving, full of avoidance, and tainted by fear, impatience, envy, pride, or the desire to place everything under our control. What is compelling me to act? What pushes me to change the circumstances from what they currently are? Is Krishna’s purpose behind the desire to act? What purpose? Am I willing to be Krishna’s instrument with no strings attached?
83. Two: Contentment. Is our attempt to draw strength and stability from Krishna? Or is it attempt to seek contentment in material, external circumstances or relationships. Will I accept as Krishna’s mercy whatever happens as a result of the action? Or is my well-being wrapped up in the outcome or my circumstances? Will you be willing to do what you think is correct regardless of the outcome, even if it takes my life? Or if the result is a disaster, will I blame Krishna? Srila Prabhupada? If it doesn’t work out, will I doubt? Will I be satisfied, regardless of the result, with having done what I thought best—according to my understanding, inspiration and capacity? If my motives are in the correct place, I am content to act without any guarantee of the outcome. Do I wish to act because I desire a change of circumstances so I can experience a calm center inside? Do I act because I am unable to tolerate the turmoil any longer? Am I at rest, content deep down inside, regardless of whether life makes sense or not in the immediate future?
84. If this filter reveals that you are dependent on circumstances to make you content, taking action will do very little in the long run. If you find that this is the case, remember that daily taking shelter of Krishna is your only hope.
85. Three: Prayer. Talking and thinking of prayer and acknowledging the need for prayer is different from praying. Prayer needs time. Without prayer, we do not receive. In prayer we share with Krishna our needs.
86. Prayer is entering Krishna’s presence and engaging Him with our concerns. To pray, we must set aside other things, both physical and mental, so we can present to Krishna our need for His mercy.
87. When viewing prayer from the viewpoint of deciding on action or waiting, ask “Have I prayed substantially about the circumstances and the decision being faced?”
88. Four: Time. Ask: “Have I already given Krishna time enough to answer, to work His plan?”
89. If the above four points indicate that it is time to act, it’s probably appropriate to act as you see fit.
90. Once you begin to take action, it’s easy to again assume all rests upon you. Anxiety will thus fully return. Yet our desire should remain to surrender to Him. We act yet the work and its results are Krishna’s.
91. Therefore, as we act, we are required to ask: “Am I assuming that everything depends on me and my ability? Or am I surrendered to Krishna, and am I fully depending upon Him?
92. In taking action, I should ask myself a final question: “Can I remain surrendered to Krishna and dependent upon Him as I act? Am I ready to allow Krishna His time and ways for things to reach there conclusion?”
93. If the answer is no, perhaps you should reconsider your course of action. If the answer is yes, that is yet another indication that your moving ahead is correct.
94. Allow Krishna to direct and redirect your movements as you move forward. Allow Krishna to work from sources that you’ve never considered. Allow Krishna to do as He wishes with you, i.e., perform surgery on your character at a deeper level.
95. Trust Krishna in your actions as you did in your inaction.
96. We are trying to achieve an active dependence on Krishna in our lives.