We have just finished an uplifting “Inner Renewal Week,” which we do annually in February at Ananda Village. In preparing for these classes, a formula for success clarified for me. These are not so much new ideas as they are a clear and simple presentation of them.
Yesterday, after finishing some programs at the Ananda center in Sacramento, California, Devi and I had a few errands to run. Later, having finished our shopping, we were pulling onto the freeway entrance when we saw a family beside the road. The wife and child were sitting on a blanket, and the husband was holding a sign saying, “Our family is homeless. Can you help us?” Though we had but a moment to act, we lowered our window and gave them a small donation. But when we got home, Devi, remembering their eyes, remarked, “I wish we had given them much more,” and I, too, had the same feeling. That evening we both prayed for them during our meditation.
Some thirty years ago, my good friend Nayaswami Roma and I decided to run a twenty-six-mile marathon. Neither of us was a particularly great athlete, but we wanted to raise money for the Ananda School, so we took on the challenge and began training for it.
John Ball was a highly regarded author and a friend of Swami Kriyananda and many of us at Ananda. His most famous book, In the Heat of the Night, garnered a number of literary awards, and later was made into a movie that won four Oscars, including Best Picture in 1967. He so enjoyed Ananda Village that the setting for one of his books, Trouble for Tallon, was an Ananda-like community.
There is a tradition among certain Native American tribes that where a poisonous plant is found, the antidote often grows nearby. It’s as if the sickness and the cure are sister plants, expressing opposite sides of the same coin.
I am laptopping this from the Seattle Airport, where we’re waiting to fly back to California after a weekend of programs in Seattle. Airports are great levelers, as Devi and I know, queuing up for more than twenty-five flights each year. One sees people from all over the world: dark skin and light, baseball caps and turbans, families and friends chatting in English, Italian, Hindi, and languages we can’t even recognize. All is marvelous diversity, but while at the airport we are all just fellow passengers. And so it is also on this little planet flying through space: we are all just fellow travellers. If we can but see the unity behind the diversity, we can all be friends. We can all be family. We can all speak the same language of the heart.
“All is flux.”
Elon Musk is among a group of scientists and innovative thinkers who feel that it is likely that we live in a virtual-reality world. Their thinking goes something like this: The human race is very young in comparison to the life of the universe, and yet we have already advanced to the point where we are on the verge of creating virtual-reality worlds that can fool us into thinking and feeling that they are real. Therefore, the likelihood is that other, more advanced races, have already perfected this technology sufficiently to create a universe that seems completely real. And we are living in it. (Disclaimer: I am not endorsing this line of reasoning, only using it as a springboard for this blog.)
Our thoughts are much more powerful than we realize. In fact, they are often self-fulfilling prophecies: If we are preoccupied, for example, with thoughts of failure, we can draw to ourselves the very thing we fear. On the other hand, if we develop underlying thoughts of success, we can attract those things that will lead to further achievements.
Running through Ananda Village in Northern California are the rutted remains of an old road. A hundred and fifty years ago, during the time of the Gold Rush, when tons of ore were taken from the land around us, Wells Fargo stagecoach drivers urged their horses up and down these hills, and Pony Express riders rushed along carrying bags of mail. Interesting as history, but in current times this old road leads nowhere.