Thursday, July 2, 2015

Is Your Life a Bit Edgy? In Transition?

I don't know about you but the world around my life seems on the edge of one thing or another. I am hearing this from many others, too.

It all seemed to start with Monday, April 27, the first full day of a massive "all-hands-on-deck" moving party for the East West Bookshop of Seattle (moving across the street). That afternoon, a brilliantly sunny and warm day, our friend, Vajra (Jim) Madden, was struck while walking (in Lynnwood near our Community) on the sidewalk by a car that jumped the curb. [See prior blog in early May]

After a long, sweaty, muscle-bound day of moving boxes and bookcases (that later stretched into several more days) we got a call and sped to the hospital. Vajra had serious and (then) life-threatening head injuries and was in a coma. Then began many long hours and daily visits to the hospital and consultations with the medical staff, paperwork and bill paying and much more. [Now, two months later he is recovering functionality bit by bit.]

A few weeks later most of our local Ananda members traveled to northern California to Ananda Village for a historic and inspired weekend to dedicate the chapel under which is buried Ananda's founder, Swami Kriyananda. Members from all over the world gathered in a celebration of Swamiji's life, discipleship and divine friendship. As I left there to return to Seattle, I felt that a tangible, psychically tectonic shift had just occurred. The life of self-sacrifice and dedication ("tapasya") that Swami took on had just been moved from him to the next generation of Ananda leaders and members.

From that fateful day of April 27 to today, I can truly say I have never been so intensely active in my entire life. For it was just yesterday that four of us returned from a week of programs in three cities in Michigan where we have Ananda centers and members. It, too, was very inspired, even fun, and a blessing for the four of us who went. The joy of our trip and service and the wonderful new friends we made didn't make it any less active and focused. Between returning from Ananda Village in mid-May until we left for Michigan just over a week ago we had 3 sets of Ananda visitors (2 sets from India) complete with tours of the six Ananda "campuses," dinners, "satsangs," and hours of discussions.

Now, none of this compares with President Obama's calendar or that of many active, creative, and high energy people but my examples here are just taken from my own experience. I could go on about the intensity I am seeing in the lives of many, many others. A friend I spoke with today brought this question up saying, in effect, that no matter even with the many enjoyable or fulfilling activities she's involved with, there is still something "edgy" and slightly over-the-top about her life and that of people she's close to. And that's what I am talking about and wondering if something more is afoot.

So, not surprisingly, I believe something is indeed afoot. In the Ananda world, what is afoot is an increase, seemingly sudden, in our public visibility. [Many feel that Swamiji's release from his aging and ill physical form freed up an enormous wave of creative energy accessible by those in tune with him.] The trip to Michigan is a small segment of a larger and very conscious effort to send teachers and others outside our normal service areas. (For decades, Swami Kriyananda circled the globe lecturing, counseling and writing. He's gone now, so who will step up and carry on?)

In the larger world, my sense is also of high energy combined with an outer fringe of edginess and uncertainty. We've had a lengthy period of tension in our nation (and today I heard Holland has joined the racist fray) regarding police brutality in a racial context as one example no one could have predicted. Climate change seems to be intensifying. The field of potential political candidates is spreading like dandelions in the lawn. Why even the local traffic in Seattle is notably more congested than ever.

But whether in Ananda or worldwide what I feel is that "unpredictability" has suddenly spiked upward. Attitudes and actions just beneath the surface are, well, surfacing suddenly. Shifts are happening: some positive, some neutral, some not so positive. Anything, I feel, could happen and in any number of key directions, personally or globally.

The time now, in the midst of the high energy of the summer sun, is to deepen one's life of prayer and meditation. It is a time to be especially sensitive to others and consciously kind and calm ("active calm and calmly active" as Paramhansa Yogananda put it). It isn't a question of countering the intensity of our activity with rest or relaxation or retreat (though no harm in these), it's more a question of remaining centered and calm in the midst of intense activity. Not just calm but mindful and aware.

Under it all, whether at rest or active, we remain always the same. Let God or guru or the divine Self, direct our activities, restful or intense-full, at play or in service. It is all the same, for God is the Doer and this dream is His, not ours. Smile with the sun, even when it's hot for it will soon enough be not. Smile with the rain for the rainbow and the sun will appear as sure as the dawn follows dark.

Blessings to all,