I’m feeling better today. I fasted yesterday, in part to help clear out some respiratory congestion I’ve had since we got back from India a few days ago. For this particular purpose, I did a fast called the “Master Cleanse,” in which you drink a “lemonade” consisting of lemon juice, Grade B maple syrup, and a little cayenne powder, diluted with water. Occasionally Devi and I will do Paramhansa Yogananda’s marvelous Nine-Day Cleansing and Vitalizing Diet, which consists of lots of citrus, raw vegetables, a daily steamed vegetable, and a special “vitality beverage.”
It was a sweltering summer’s night, and the humidity in the air was so thick you could almost cut it with a knife. Young people in leotards and tights filled the second-floor dance studio, eager for the class to begin. Taking his position in front of the students, the teacher led us through warm-up exercises and movements. Soon everyone was feeling exhilarated, though dripping with perspiration.
In 2005 Devi and I arrived in India for a three-week visit with Swami Kriyananda, who had moved there in 2003. The day we landed, Swamiji had begun writing what was to be perhaps his greatest book: The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita: Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda. Though still playing the loving host to us and others, and despite the fact that he was in his eightieth year, Swamiji set himself the goal of writing ten pages a day for this book.
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.”