Showing posts with label hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hope. Show all posts

Sunday, April 2, 2017


I am hopeful because "black lives matter." I am hopeful because thousands of women around the country marched to affirm cooperation and respect for people of every race, nation, and persuasion.

I am hopeful because everyday more people learn to meditate or practice yoga. I am hopeful because I see groups of people and individuals helping others each and every day.

I am hopeful because millions around the world have regular contact with people of other nations, races, religions, and cultures. I am hopeful because millions have the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures and see that we, as humans, are basically the same. 

As Mahatma Gandhi put it and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. affirmed, if violence and prejudice were uppermost, the human race would have disappeared long ago.

I am hopeful because I see knowledge and awareness spreading like the dawn's early light around the world. At first the light exposes our ignorance and our darkness but soon enough the light enlightens our conscience. 

I am hopeful because while I expect many challenges will result from humanity's refusal to heed the signs that we must live in greater harmony with our planet and one another, I also expect those challenges to serve as instruments to prod our "pride" to embrace change with faith and courage. 

I am hopeful because a line of yoga masters assures us that humanity is NOT in a descending spiral of brutishness (as many fundamentalist types aver) but that, instead, we are in an ascending arc of ever greater knowledge and awareness. It may be slow but it is inexorable. It may be two steps forward and one step back but like a silent tsunami it is unstoppable and will, in time, overcome all that is not of itself. Swami Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda and a renowned astrologer, predicted that in this age (2,000 years long beginning around 1900 A.D.) humanity will gain self-respect. A simple statement but with profound implications.

I am hopeful because I see that "the divine light has ascended anew**" and though it is crucified daily by ignorance it continues to grow just as the early light of dawn can only grow as the hours pass.

I am hopeful because I believe that even the present regressiveness of otherwise progressive nations (like America) will incite people of goodwill to rise up, band together, and stand up for what is true and good for all. When I see the expansiveness and open heartedness of young adults and when I see the intelligence and light in the eyes of the youngest barely new-born generation, I am hopeful.

I am hopeful because even though my own youthful expectations could not have foreseen current events and trends, I know that there are millions, perhaps a billion or two, who, once in their youths, also cherished the same dream of peace and brotherhood for all.

I am hopeful because even though now in the life cycle commonly (and formerly) considered "retirement age" I know that good and evil, happiness and sorrow, and success and failure will always and eternally vie for supremacy, I also know that true joy is within me and awaits discovery by all who would seek the "pearl of great price."

I am hopeful even as I am prepared for what others may insist is the worst. It is darkest, it is said, before the dawn. Progress cannot be made without sacrifice and that includes lives, not just money or dedicated effort. My eyes are open; my heart is calm; my spirit is glad. In God, we are One. 

I am hopeful, how about you?

Swami Hrimananda!

** a quote from the Festival of Light ceremony referencing the birth and life of modern saints and especially those in the lineage of Paramhansa Yogannada. The Festival of Light is recited and sung each Sunday at an Ananda center and temple near you.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Road Ahead: Hope or Hopelessness?

This is our last day here in Frankfurt Germany at the annual Book Messe (Fair). For several years we witnessed the obvious decline in business and attendance and general economic activity. This is linked with serious changes and challenges to the world of publishing which includes several things not least of which is the uncertainty and impact of the internet and e-book publishing.

But publishing is not my concern here. Hopelessness, however, is. Our hosts where we stay each year here in Frankfurt are the patriarch and matriarch of a wonderful and growing family of talented and energetic children and grandchildren. Both came of age in Germany at the end of the WWII and have seen many things in their lifetime. The comment at dinner last evening was made that more challenging to the young generation of today than job insecurity and the many other issues facing the human race is the feeling they have and are left with of hopelessness.

The 20th century saw two major wars and many others of equal or at least tragic consequences. Yet for much of that time, except perhaps the dark years of WWII, the general direction of expectations for the future had been, for the generations born in that century, has been  positive. Now, however, I have come to wonder whether for the young generation of today whether that is true. Yes, for up and coming countries like India, China, and Brazil things may seem rosy for the time but in the countries of the west (formerly known as the "first world!"), dark clouds loom and threaten on every major front: economic, ecological, environmental, political, cultural and religious, just to name the most obvious. Institutions of learning and health care face an uncertain future. War and terrorism threats continue as oil and the middle east are as fractious, if not more so, than ever before.

So where is there to be found hope for a better world? Interestingly, "Hope for A Better World" is the title of a book by Swami Kriyananda who is my teacher and who is the founder of the worldwide network of intentional communities (called Ananda). Swami Kriyananda is one of the best known direct disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda -- himself a world renown author of the spiritual classic, "Autobiography of a Yogi."

In this book and in Kriyananda's life work (of which I am a part) he writes that hope for the future lies in the direction of individual initiative. Hope lies in the energy, high mindedness, creativity and cooperative spirit of individuals who come together to find solutions to the challenges of modern life and who are not dependent on others, or on their government to make those changes. One of the principal forms this takes for those of us who are involved in the worldwide work of Ananda is the establishment of a network of intentional spiritual communities. These core communities are formed by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda. But this work of intentional communities is not seen by us as limited to any faith or spiritual interest. Yogananda himself predicated that communities would some day "spread like wildfire." We have no reason to believe he meant that such future communities would be limited to those who follow his teachings. The very way in which he phrased his prediction suggests otherwise!

Though he gave no specifics as to time or place or form, it has become increasingly clear that such communities are the most obvious way for humanity to re-invent itself. With increasing urgency, humanity needs a new expression of core and universal human values. We need to learn how to live in harmony with one another and with all life on our planet. We need to learn how to use natural and human resources in a balanced and sustainable way. This means living closer and in harmony with the natural world of our fair planet as well as among races, nations, cultures and religions.

Such changes cannot be legislated. A new way of living and thinking can only come from changes in human attitudes and consciousness. Such changes will, and have always been, initiated by pioneers and creative spirits working together in harmony and cooperation. Cooperation is the only solution to war or ruthless competition and exploitation (of man, matter, and all living creatures).

At Ananda we see our communities as laboratories in cooperative living and hope that what we have learned can be used by others regardless of other persuasions, spiritual or otherwise. We feel that the trend and impulse for people of like mind to come together to create new patterns of living is the single most important trend at this time in history. No other solution appears to exist in the world for the great challenges we face.

No single nation, government, NGO, or corporate body possesses either the vision or the influence to lead citizens of earth to a more sustainable and harmonious way of life. Even religion seems most inclined to separate and fight. A new form of religion -- spiritual but not religious -- one based not on creeds or dogma but on direct perception and experience is needed. Yogananda called this "Self-realization." No existing power base of money or political power has the will or the vision to make fundamental changes. Existing institutions of all types are more focused on survival and self-interest.

As symbolized by the internet itself, which is carrying this message as I type it, people individually and in small groups will have to make the changes necessary. "Small" can be a wide range of numbers, however, from voluntary associations that are international to a handful or few dozen like-minded spirits in a given city or town. Small communities will also reflect what will become both a trend and necessity for survival: moving from the high density, resource-consuming cities to rural or at least nature-integrated locations. This will become a leaderless, grass-roots movement.

One can be fearful, pessimistic or gloomy, but none of those does one any good. Better it is to have faith in a Higher Power and faith in acting with high ideals and in the company of those of like-mind. Realistically, it is the only solution I can imagine. I know few will read this; few will embrace this, but the great changes in history have always been accomplished, at first, by a handful of pioneers. This is as true in science and the arts, as it is in politics or religion. So, do not lose hope but "think globally, while acting locally."

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Hriman