As we entered the art room and took in the paint-splattered tables and small plastic chairs, we felt as if we were back in grade school. We took our seats, and saw at each place a row of paint jars containing a variety of colors; large, flat brushes; and a medium-sized piece of white art paper.
Early in their time together, Paramhansa Yogananda instructed his direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda, that his work in this lifetime would be lecturing, editing, and writing. When I met Swamiji in 1969, he was constantly engaged in these three activities, as well as in the Herculean task of launching the spiritual communities movement through Ananda.
Whenever we get a chance to visit Hawaii, we’re awed by the power of life force, or prana, that permeates everything here. It’s amazing to see the variety of plants that grow to a height of maybe four or five inches on the mainland, but that here in Hawaii reach six to ten feet with flowers and leaves radiant with life and color.
Yale University recently offered a course that’s proved to be the most popular one ever given there. The topic was “Happiness.” One-quarter of the student body—1200 undergraduates—enrolled, requiring the largest auditorium on campus for the classes.
There was a time in my life when it seemed as if circumstances were all conspiring to make me miserable. I would wake up every morning feeling pretty down, but in my mind there was still a spark of light that led me to think, “You’ve felt worse before. You can carry on today.”
My silence, like an expanding sphere, spreads everywhere.
Today, January 5, we celebrate the birthday of Paramhansa Yogananda, who brought to earth the spiritual power to uplift humanity. In one of the most amazing passages in Autobiography of a Yogi, he describes his experience of cosmic consciousness: “A swelling glory within me began to envelop towns, continents, the earth, solar and stellar systems, tenuous nebulae, and floating universes. . . . I cognized the center of the empyrean as a point of intuitive perception in my heart.”
Recently we attended a Christmas concert here at Ananda Village which was resplendent in its simplicity, with beautiful pieces by Swami Kriyananda as well as some traditional carols. I wasn’t raised a Christian, but somehow love for Christ has always been a part of me. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt special blessings at Christmastime: a unique combination of humility and gentleness, as well as infinite kindness, compassion, and love.
A few weeks ago we were having a heartwarming visit with our two younger grandchildren, whom we hadn’t seen for many months due to our travel schedule. After enjoying their favorite pastime at Ananda Village—visiting the goat dairy—we were driving back through the peaceful, forested hills to our home.