Friday, May 22, 2015

When the Soul Leaves the Body Our Spirit Expands!

Last weekend, May 16-17 (2015), the worldwide Ananda family gathered on the grounds of the Crystal Hermitage at Ananda Village (near Nevada City, CA) to dedicate the small meditation chapel ("mandir") under which is buried the body of Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda. It's been two years since his passing in 2013.

I recall many years ago Swami Kriyananda describing his experience after the death of his own father. It was, he said, as if his father's spirit, at last released from his aging and broken body, was re-born fresh and youthful, vigorous and vibrant. Swamiji said he felt his father's spirit as a young man embarking eagerly upon his life's journey.

Ever since then, and with the passing of my own parents, and others, I have tested this for myself and have found it true. Of course the stronger the spirit of a person in life, the stronger the spirit after death. Thus it was that at the dedication weekend many members from around the world remarked upon this phenomenon, saying that since Swamiji's passing two years ago we have felt his spirit even more strongly than when he was alive.

Several times during his life of lecturing I heard him say that when the soul is released from the body into the astral world, feelings and emotions are, as if, uncorked and thus far more intense. In our physical bodies our emotions are distracted or suppressed by other competing feelings and sense-impressions like hunger, heat, cold, missed appointments, unpaid bills, a mosquito buzzing near our ear, or the loquacious uncle attending the funeral whom you find annoying but must politely tolerate.

Consider that the last many years of Swami's life he had to contend with an aging and often seriously ill body. Reflect what your "aura" or energy or magnetism is like when you have a cold, flu, a stomach ache or a toothache! You withdraw within yourself and contract from interactions and activities. Your energy or aura contracts.

Despite his aging and ill health and throughout his entire life, Swami Kriyananda's spirit in life was larger than life, so it is not surprising that after his death, his great spirit has been strongly felt.

Yet it is not as if his spirit contracted or declined in the more ordinary way that aging or ill people find their world shrinks to a small room, to taking medicines, going to doctors, and more or less disappearing from sight having lost interest in the world around them. Swamiji continued his lifelong travel habits serving his guru's work, lecturing and writing. But his focus narrowed nonetheless to fewer outward activities and reduced daily communications with as large a family of individuals.

Yet in his case, his spirit, rather than shrinking, shifted into another form: bliss! Instead of vigorous activities and intense daily people connections, he shone with an inner bliss that he often could not contain and which readily expressed itself in tears of joy or laughter, or deep inner calmness.

Nonetheless, the testimony of many people from around the world is that his spirit is more with us now than ever. It seems to many of us that his wisdom is even more accessible now. We find that he seems to be subtly guiding our thoughts in uncanny but tangible ways.

My way of putting it, for myself, is that I feel as if I think more like him than I did before! There have been times when I could hear his thoughts as my thoughts. So, perhaps he has bequeathed to each us some portion of his spirit--as his legacy and gift!

Thus I conclude that for those souls who, on earth, had an expansive and expanding consciousness, we will find our spirit expanding joyfully and greatly when released from the confines of the body!

Joy to You,

Swami Hrimananda!