There were several hundred of us in the opening circle, holding hands and chanting. We had gathered, not only those who live at Ananda Village, but people from all over, to help prepare the Temple of Light for the hundreds who would soon be visiting. This was just the latest of innumerable voluntary workdays that I have attended over the years. Group workdays are one of the main reasons that Ananda Village has risen from the mud and dust of its early years to the place of beauty and inspiration that it is today.
Once in a rare while we are lifted high on the wings of grace. Last week was an extraordinary week filled with laughter, tears, joy, inspiration, friendship, and hope. We celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Ananda and dedicated our new Temple of Light. For the thousand people attending it felt like we were raised out of the mundane world and into an astral heaven for a few days at least. Many people told me that their lives will never, can never, be the same after feeling God so close and tangible.
Next week Ananda will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. We took possession of the land we now call Ananda Village on July 4, 1969. We have often remarked on the “coincidence” of July 4 also being what is generally considered to be the birthdate of the United States, the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Both were born from the desire to fight oppression: one against a tyrannical overseas power, and the other—Ananda—against an even more tyrannical ruler, delusion.
After she had blown out the few candles on her cake, Gloria said, “I’m glad they didn’t put all 90 on it. I’m not sure I could have managed that.”
Mother Teresa of Calcutta told this very touching story. The sisters from her order were visiting the very poor during a time of famine in Calcutta. To each home they brought some desperately needed food: a bag of rice, some lentils, and a few other bare necessities. As one sister gave the food to a mother of several starving children, to the sister's surprise the famished mother divided it in half, saying, “My neighbor’s children are also starving, and I must share this with them.”
There are many interesting connections between being an artist and being a spiritual seeker. The other day it struck me that there is a kind of “spiritual” color wheel—I’m given to these musings from time to time. I shared my thoughts with Devi, and she suggested that it might make an interesting blog. So, whether you enjoy this one or not, it isn’t my fault. The karma, good or bad, is on Devi.
I had an interesting dream last week. In the beginning a group of us, friends and gurubhais, were strolling in a crowded street with many people milling around. Then, in front of us, there was a commotion, and we saw a military-type vehicle backing up toward us. With all the people around me, I was unable to get out of the way and was struck by the jeep and dragged underneath it.