I was seriously considering whether I could get away with not mentioning a fundamental fact of my life. But it has been and continues to be a crucial part of my life. Some people are going to think this is actually super cool. Indeed, many people think I’m very lucky. Other people are going to think it’s pretty weird. I kind of go back and forth between those myself. So I want to give you the chance to decide for yourself:
I’m a Hare-Krishna in progress. I prefer to think of myself as a practitioner of Bhakti-yoga, the yoga of love, but because being a “Hare-Krishna” seems more loaded, I dont want to shy away from this truth.
I was born in a farm-community in Sweden, and all my life I’ve been connected with The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). I’ve traveled to India every few years since the beginning of my life. Both my parents are still sincere practitioners and so are 90% of the people in my daily life. This takes different forms for everyone but basically means that they are dedicated to singing and chanting:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Well… Back to ME.
Sometimes I feel like I’m part of a secret society. Except that it’s not secret exactly, and like I said at the onset, I’m a work in progress. I’m very much in the process of evaluating what makes sense to me and what’s going to work for me as an adult. Sometimes I joke that “I’m the weak link” or think to myself that “I’m on the fringe of the fringe!”
But that’s meant to bring some levity into a situation that for me is often confusing. It’s painful for me to struggle with belonging to a minority-religion that already struggles with belonging in the wider world. And I’ve definitely tried going “the other way” and becoming a “normal person,” and I think I can move between both worlds with ease now.
But even if I have an ambivalent relationship to it, there is something deeply compelling for me in Eastern philosophy and Krishna-consciousness.
Really, the question I’m tackling as I move through the world is:
How on earth do I integrate my background into everything I am and everything I want to express?
How do I interact with those around me without alienating them or feeling alienated myself?
My upbringing is a crucial part of me and what I want to express and explore. At the same time, I don’t always feel inclined to contextualize myself, declare my upbringing, or otherwise associate myself with this “situation.”
Yet when I really honor my own inner life and use myself as my reference point, I feel an increased confidence to stand where I stand, speak my truth, and value life as I view it.