Peter Kowalke

Remembering My Ideals

By on May 24, 2023

The monk asked if I had any questions.

I scanned my brain, looking for something to ask him. But I came up with nothing.

That’s because the lion’s share of spiritual growth isn’t about knowledge. At least not for me. I know what I should do. The problem is doing it.

Putting my beliefs into practice is the hard part. I set the bar really high; I want to be a saint in my lifetime. But getting there is easier said than done, even if I basically know what must be done.

Making it harder is forgetfulness.

Not only is living my beliefs on a moment-by-moment basis hard, but sometimes I wake up and realize that I’ve drifted. I’ve gotten away from the thoughts and habits that I already put in place. This happens when the touchbacks to our ideals get crowded out by the daily struggles of life, and when our healthy routines fall apart from times of extra activity or stress. For me, at least, some days I wake up and go, That’s not what I believe. How did I get here?

So right now I’m in the middle of getting back to my ideals. I’m meditating more. I’m praying before meals. I’m picking back up my duties at the Ramakrishna Vedanta Association of Thailand, where I’ve volunteered for the past decade. I’m consciously reorganizing my life around my values again.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time in Pittsburgh lately at the Ramakrishna Vedanta Ashrama Pittsburgh. They’ve had a regular stream of visiting monks from my religious Order, the heads of Vedanta centers around the US. So I’ve taken advantage of this by spending about half of May ferrying back and forth from Cleveland to Pittsburgh for the 3-4 day retreats they’ve been offering.

It feels good to get back to my ideals.

Peter is a relationship coach, writer/producer, and R&D monastic. He splits his time between San Francisco and Asia. Read more about Peter.