Good habits

What is that saying again? 30 days makes a habit (unless you’re talking about flossing, of course)?

I’m jumping the shark a little with this post, but I’m okay with that. I honestly don’t know if I’m really jumping the shark; the exact point of things was so undefined that I may actually be right on time. Who knows?

Anyway. I’ve been very introspective this week (more than usual), as I near the one year point of finally committing to pursuing Hinduism as a spiritual path. Most of my thoughts have focused on this blog, and why it is that I feel such a strong need to broadcast my spirituality on such a (relatively) public forum. I’ve been questioned by people asking that same thing. Why is it so important to talk about it all the time? Isn’t it a private thing?

So then I did some Facebooking, and realized that roughly 50% of the posts of the people I grew up with include some mention of God and/or faith. 50%! That’s a pretty telling statistic.

I heard once that Kentucky is the buckle of the Bible Belt, but I’d like to argue that the Jesus waist of the nation is cinched at the hip, and that the buckle sits firmly at the Western edge of Arkansas. You can’t go a day without some sort of conversation about religion. People are very open about it and discuss it freely. In fact, to be closed-mouthed about it is strange. So it’s no wonder that I’m constantly thinking about it, talking about it, blogging about it, etc. I grew up with it as a constant, visible part of my life.

A really curious thing has happened to me, though, over the course of this past year. I have slowly not found it as important to broadcast my beliefs all the time. Who knew this would be a side effect? The blog, sadly, has suffered from this, because I’m feeling the need to make fewer, more deliberate posts, but I also am not self-conscious about my beliefs as much now, since they’re not a badge on my personality all the time.

The practice of being a Hindu (or a follower of Sanatana Dharma or whatever you like to call it) has become an excellent habit, and I’m hoping that each new aspect that I experience and incorporate into my life goes the same way. At first I was sure that it was just another phase I was going through, and I would totally chicken out and go back to church, but so far, I have remained steadfast (hence the “good habits” title).

I’m getting really really excited for festival season. I did a little private Ganesh Chaturthi celebration at home, and am looking forward to Navratri (I’m sure there are others I don’t even know about between now and then; if you know of one that’s especially nice that I should try to experience, please do let me know). There’s even a Vedanta seminar coming up in early October that I’m thinking of attending (thanks to Kodanda for the tip)!

Now if I can just apply my knowledge of habit-forming to flossing my teeth…

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About HappyGoth

By day, I'm a graphic designer. By night, I'm a knitter. I'm doing my part to keep Hotlanta stylish. I imagine that if you don't already understand the title of the blog, you're probably confused and perhaps slightly annoyed, but never fear - I do have a reason (and it's a good one). Having gone to hear Stephanie Pearl McPhee, and then having been inspired to blog about knitting, I found myself wondering what to call the blog. I recalled a conversation I had with Mouse and the Chicken Goddess about why it is a Bad Idea to anger knitters - this conversation was following SPM, aka the Yarn Harlot telling the assembled throng about Those Who Do Not Understand Knitting and Therefore Belittle It Much to the Chagrin of Others, or TWDNUKTBMCO, which is not the acronym she used but is the one I'm using because I forgot hers - that is, we are numerous and we all have very pointy sticks, easily transforming into an angry mob. Therefore, knitters = angry mob.
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10 Responses to Good habits

  1. kodanda says:

    Well, I think you are on the right track. Anyways as a Vaishnava the most important thing is to always have Bhagavan on the lips, in the mind and in your heart. So what if you talk about your relationship with God, you are doing what we are told to do by God himself!

    I am also glad to hear that you may go to sit in on these discourses by HH you will learn a LOT!

    Jai Siya Ram 😀

  2. surya says:

    A good number of enthusiastic westerners who run their hindu blogs provide a breath of fresh air for us, the born hindus. Why not, it is good to talk ones mind openly once in a while, especially one standing on a tiny hindu island in an ocean of abrahamics, one reaching out to distant coreligionists makes a perfect sense; it is like coalescing a support group for supplementation purposes. So long as one is not derogatory about ones born faith, the guilt complex wont encompass ones core personality, instead just reminding oneself of good things of the new faith is the way to go. If at all, one convincing oneself, ‘yes, my former faith is ok, but somehow hinduism seems more satisfying’, works a better tool to ward off any lingering sense of betrayal. In fact if one wants to revert back to ones abrahamic faith at a later stage, the second transition will not be so traumatic. Mind you some do reverse their allegiance. And for us hindus it is ok with ones reversal. One needs to understand it is self realization and self inquiry and at the end it is a lonely journey. Trying to continually justifying the switch is unproductive, tiresome and in fact the process may drag one back to the first faith that much more quicker. I hope iam not confusing readers here. The advaita and brahman concepts to me are the bedrock of hindu faith; having explored other faiths I have nt seen anything that compelling finality there.
    Also a large number of westerners constitute a vibrant section in the hindudharmaforums.com blog, run by an Indian Canadian man who married a Canadian white Christian woman. Iam not advertising here but felt that it might provide another source of relaxation.
    My rambling is meant to be generic and not targeted to AH.
    Oh yes good ol Arkansas! Having lived in a very small town in central Arkansas I know what you mean, (interestingly, a meeting between a Baptist and a Methodist is an ‘interfaith’ dialogue!!!) churches are more of a community and social centers and less of spiritual, devotion or Bhakti abodes. That said, here in the west the Mandirs have been catering to the other dharmic needs of people as well, like organizing health clinics, soup kitchens, fund raising for charities and the like .Seva is an integral part of hindu theosophy.
    Still not able to rid of mandir blues AH? Take your time, it is fine, we both know Brahman is everywhere.
    Shanti.

    • HappyGoth says:

      “If at all, one convincing oneself, ‘yes, my former faith is ok, but somehow hinduism seems more satisfying’, works a better tool to ward off any lingering sense of betrayal.”

      This has, along with lots of actual Sanskrit mantras, become my single most important mantra. I am actually very warmly disposed towards my former faith. I feel that if you’re going to be a Christian and an open-minded, accepting individual, the Episcopal Church is a great avenue for that. Not the right one for me, but a great one anyhow. Actually, I still retain a lot of the knowledge I picked up, and reminding myself of that breadth of knowledge (for example, liturgical colors and symbols) helps me to understand why Hindu practice seems so overwhelming and my point in my understanding. Someday I will be as versed in it as I am in Episcopal practice! One step at a time. But underneath it all is my core belief system, which aligns closely to Sanatana Dharma, and why the mantra of “Hinduism is more satisfying” is so important to remind myself of.

      I haven’t joined the Hindu Dharma forums yet, but I do lurk from time to time. They’re wonderfully open and understanding! It’s a nice reassurance.

      So true about Arkansas. I was convinced (seriously) that everybody was a Christian of some variety, even the people I knew weren’t. (After all, wasn’t a Hindu or a Muslim just a different kind of Christian? Silly, I know.)

      Slowly I’m learning patience and am not as worried about mandirs, though that “not as worried” is a very small incremental step. Patience is such an important lesson for me to continue working on. That said, I am super excited about Diwali, even if I celebrate it at home. I am happiest when I realize that Brahman is everywhere; some of the heaviest guilt I’m shedding is the idea that you can’t be a “good” Hindu/Christian/etc if you don’t go to a mandir/church/etc. I sort of always felt that was counterintuitive, but now I’m learning to really internalize the idea that Brahman is wherever I am, and that the physical location isn’t as important as the intent and devotion of the individual.

      As always, thanks for reading, and for being a wonderful, supportive and insightful voice.
      (By the way, did you recently add me on rdio? If so, thanks!)

  3. sanhita says:

    Some times i feel ,you (the westerner Hindus) are much more knowledgeable and know the Hindu dharm much better.
    I am a born hindu. I do practice ahimsa, daily pooja, time to time rituals at festive occasions, believe in theory of karma as taught and inculcated/inhabited by my parents/grand parents to me and my siblings, but i do lack deep knowledge of hindu dharm granth, vedas, and theories of saive, vaisnav etc.

    • HappyGoth says:

      Well, I will be the first to admit that there is a vast amount of knowledge I have yet to accumulate. We’re all learners, really; I do envy born Hindus the easy, effortless knowledge of which festivals are when, what to do for daily pooja, etc, but I think we can all benefit from study and reflection (in many things, not just religion)!

      🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Ambaa says:

    I’m with you! After two years of running my blog, I had out of my system what I needed to say and stopped 🙂

    The people who tell you not to talk about it so much are people whose own religion is so in the forefront that they don’t notice it being ever-present. It’s the same thing with people who are gay. They are told they shouldn’t talk about it, shouldn’t mention it, by people who don’t realize that every movie, every magazine, every conversation in the grocery store is based on the assumption of heterosexuality.

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