Kimberly Snyder in the sunshine

How We Can Show our True Nature and Find our Inner Shine

A few months ago, I interviewed Krishna Das for my Feel Good podcast, and I was struck by a story he hold me about attending the Maha Kumbha Mela in India in 1989. It was one of those stories that sticks around, that really resonates and that you ponder on from time to time.

In the story he describes how one of the senior devotees of Neem Karoli Baba, also known as “Maharajji”, was an older man called Baba. Krishna Das noticed that some people were being disrespectful to Baba at this enormous event with millions of people, and Krishna Das began getting upset.

It was then that Krishna Das describes:

“Baba grabbed me, and he pulled me into Maharajji’s room, and he closed the door. He unlocked a dresser and down under the back shelf, he pulled out something wrapped in funky, dusty, old newspaper all yellowed with time. He unwraps it, and it’s a lota, a metal pot or a metal cup that you use to bathe, et cetera. He is holding this cup in front of me and he is saying, “Do you see, do you see, Krishna Das?” It was all rusty and dirty and dusty. And I said, “No, Baba, I don’t see.”

He says again, “Do you see? He left this for me. His last time here, Maharajji’s last time in this house before he left the body. When he left, he left his lota.” [This would have been 16, 17 years ago]. He says again, “Do you see? Do you see? “You don’t have to shine.” And he wrapped it up again, put it back under the shelf, locked the dresser and left me standing there.”

Everything we do is designed to make us shine in our own eyes, in the eyes of others. But you don’t have to shine.

Kimberly Snyder looking out the window


We Are Whole and Complete

This story is a very poignant reminder that we must remind ourselves, time and time again, that we are whole and complete as we are. It matters not whether others can see us or not, for we are the ones that can see ourselves. It is from this deep connection to the True Self, what the Yogis describe as the formless essence within us, that we can move through life, with the knowing of our inherent completeness, and our inherent worth.

Often, we may long for others to see us, to validate us, to help us feel “shiny.” We are human after all, and each of us is on this grand journey, where at times we may align with the True Self over the ego, and vice versa. When we are aligned with the small self, the ego, it is then that we try to “add on” to our worth, and we try to prove that we are enough.

In modern life, it’s common to want to be “shiny” on social media, to say something super interesting in a conversation so we stand out, and all the ways it plays out, big and small. When we peer closer though, we see that it is merely the cry of our egos that wants us to feel that we have to keep shining and doing to be enough. It is not the truth.

Sometimes when I recount this story from Krishna Das, it actually makes me tear up. I grew up with the belief that love comes from doing and achievement, and I was definitely chasing “shiny” for a lot of my life. There is a lot of pain in constantly chasing, because we are never okay just being ourselves.

Now, the deeper I get into my meditations and practice, I release this more and more. It still comes up, but the light of awareness and re-centering are strong enough, over time, to reverse these tendencies and reframe our perspective.

Just like that rusty, dusty old lota that Baba showed to Krishna Das, the surface will never and can never really reveal our real shine. The real shine comes from the True Self, from the Divine part of us that is Spirit within. We do not need to try to shine superficially, for the more we meditate and connect to that great power within, we realize that we are already shining, whether we try to or not.

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