It’s an interesting experience to pick up the threads of your life after returning home from a long absence. Since late August we’ve been visiting and teaching in our centers in Italy and India, and have just returned to Ananda Village after four months. Readjusting to the responsibilities and rhythms of our life here requires some time and effort.
To help ground myself in being back, I find it helpful to connect with familiar objects around the house. One morning a few days ago as I entered our meditation room to begin sadhana, my eyes traveled across the altar. There I lovingly regarded the sacred and precious items that we’ve placed there over the years: the carved Kashmiri box that Swami Kriyananda gave us after one of his trips to India; the dried red and white roses in a glass container from our wedding ceremony nearly forty years ago; the mala of pearls and lapis strung by a friend who has since passed away; the wooden box our son made when he was young, which we use as a repository for special items.
Remembering the story behind each item, a wave of nostalgia and then sadness began to sweep over me, as I dwelt on the passing of time and the cherished moments that are no more. Suddenly an almost electrically charged thought filled me: “Why be sad? Each memory lives forever in the consciousness of God. Feel His joy permeating each memory, and know that every experience—past, present, and future—dwells forever in that joy.”
The inner downward flow of energy that had been pulling me into sadness was reversed into a powerful upward-moving current which quickly changed my mood. In that moment I saw that though time seems to pass, leaving our experiences beyond reach, the presence of joy behind all of our memories is unchanging and graspable.
A few days later, as though to confirm this understanding, I came across these words of Swamiji’s: “Don’t be identified with your outward form, nor with change, but live in timelessness. It is our identity with change that creates the illusion of passing time.”
May we see beyond the illusion of time, which brings the appearance of change and loss, and instead experience God’s unchanging joy always within our reach.
In divine friendship,