Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
This was a pre-planned trip, to back-track to Chicago in order to give an experience to two groups of youth. After a sacred half-hour of song at the 4:30 AM mangal arati, young monks from the Lunt Avenue temple and I took to the streets, and then to the northern end of the water-front trail. Joey, Jordan, Igor, Mitch and Marcel, all dressed in novice white dhotis and tops, accompanied Uttama and myself.
We walked. We chanted. They questioned. I answered.
“I noticed you are very expressive in your speaking presentations. How does this play into a humble devotional life?” asked one of the boys, meekly.
“I was once a very shy, insecure guy. Still am, but I gained confidence through bhakti yoga, devotional service. In any event, you should be who you are. Be yourself. Whether introvert or extrovert, maintain RESPECT. You know the song? (Implying Aretha Franklin’s song)”
My second batch of walkers was a group from a youth bus tour, originating from Florida. Unfortunately we only covered a mile together. It was a slow-but-sure stroll along the beach, and then up along the end of a pier. They, like the first group, felt honoured to be part of a historic walk, one that goes from the east-coast to the west-coast. Even though time allowed only one mile before my flight to Vancouver, Canada it was one mile with twenty youths that mean a lot to me.
“Try to absorb the power of the waves in the water, the smells in the air, as well as the temperature and feel of the wind. What you perceive is the Krishna factor (God).”
So that, in brief, was my message to them.