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Carianne James,
guest author

Spirit Warriors: Adventures of Inner Growth for Young Girls
February 12, 2014

For the past year, I have been helping to lead an after school girls group called Spirit Warriors. The girls range from age nine to eleven. The focus of the group to help the girls with self-acceptance, self-confidence and a personal connection to the Divine within them through creative play and activities. Before it began,…

Wishing You a Noble New Year
January 1, 2014

Fireworks were already booming from the surrounding neighborhoods as we entered the Portland community chapel last night for our New Year’s Eve ceremony. It was a blessed evening complete with purification ceremony, 108 repetitions of the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and a deep meditation til midnight.  I was struck by the simple yet powerful contrast of the fireworks and my inner…

The Light and the Bushel
October 27, 2013

Many of you are probably like me—you’ve got an average singing voice though nothing that’s going to win you a Grammy. So does that stop you from thinking that you have anything to offer? Years ago I found myself in the position to sing a solo in front of Swami Kriyananda. After I sang Swami…

Popular Music at Ananda
August 20, 2013

With few exceptions, only Swami’s music is played at our Sunday services, The Expanding Light, Crystal Hermitage and Master’s Market. Though, in fact, other music does sometimes rear its head, the typical Ananda visitor comes and goes hearing little of it. “What’s the deal?” many have wondered. “Is other music banned?” Well, yes and no.…

Also Starring God (as Himself)
August 4, 2013

Last weekend marked the culmination of an extraordinary year as over 700 people filled the Del Oro Theater in Grass Valley, California to watch the debut screening of the film Finding Happiness. I had the great honor to be part of the cast and also produce the soundtrack for this exquisite film by director Ted…

Sharing the Inner Presence of Ananda
September 8, 2012

Many of you may know that we are in the midst of creating the Cities of Light film here at Ananda, and of the honor I’ve had of being a part of the whole process. What you may not know is how transformational it has been for me, personally. You can read about my first…

Day 4 on the set
July 31, 2012

Today feels really good so far, and I’m getting more and more comfortable with the whole process. We started with shots at Lotus Lake, with the gorgeous natural morning light. It is a joy to see the directors work together, searching for “where the money is”, or the best shots for light and color. One…

Day 3 on the set of Cities of Light
July 30, 2012

I’d like to introduce our director, Ted Nicolaou, who is an extraordinary gentleman and director. Ted has been working with us on this film for the past 2 years, and is an extraordinarily good fit. He describes himself as “a storyteller with an open mind”, and has a vibration about him that is quite contrary…

Cities of Light Day 2 of filming
July 29, 2012

Good morning! So here we are in Crystal Hermitage dining room, where we come first thing for makeup and wardrobe. Here is Sarah Kreutz on the left, wardrobe director, and Elisabeth Granli on the right, who is here from LA to assist Elisabeth Rohm during the filming. This morning we will be shooting a “point…

Day 1 on the Set of Cities of Light
July 28, 2012

There is a tangible presence of God on the set here, as I step into my role for the film, Cities of Light. I had no idea what to expect from this process, and what a process it is! A few nights ago I couldn’t sleep, as I knew my life was heading into a…

The Oratorio Experience
April 7, 2012

Last night was our third and final Easter season performance of Swami Kriyananda’s Oratorio, Christ Lives, of which I have had the honor to conduct. The Oratorio is composed of 50 short pieces including solos, instrumentals, and choir pieces, inspired by a pilgrimage that Swami Kriyananda took to the Holy Land in 1983. Before the…

Maia Grenell,
guest author

Sign Me Up!
January 4, 2012

An affirmation is a statement of truth which one aspires to absorb into his life. It has been said that we are what we eat. It would be truer to say, “We are what we think.” –Swami Kriyananda September 15, 2011. Where was I?… Glued to my computer screen, of course! A new gem had…

Ananda Christmas Album Preview
December 21, 2011

Dear all – I wanted to share with you some of the new recordings we’ve been working on these past few months, combined with others to make up a full Ananda Christmas music experience! We’ll be releasing the CD later in 2012, so please forgive imperfections in these, like the volume being too loud or…

33 Songs on Video!
October 19, 2011

Hi all — wanted to share with you all the songs that we’ve recorded so far that will be a part of Swami Kriyananda’s Bhagavad Gita TV shows in production. We’ll start you off with “Brave Were the People”, one of the first we recorded. “Come Gather Round”: “Brothers”: “There’s Joy in the Heavens”: “What…

Spiritual Renewal Week Concert, 2011
August 16, 2011

We had a very uplifting concert last night featuring Swami Kriyananda’s music, and even though there are some imperfections in the recordings such as wind on the mic, I thought I’d post them for you all: Dark Eyes with solo by Ramu Atwell Keep Calling Him with solo by Maitri Jones, Krishna Dewey, and Latika…

Learning to Sing Ananda's Music
May 20, 2011

When I moved to Ananda Village in 1976, I was offered a job at “Pubble,” the department where Swami Kriyananda’s books were published. Not long after I arrived, Swamiji invited the staff to his home to discuss some projects. Swami’s house was on the other side of the ridge from the main part of the…

Easter Joy
April 10, 2011

Ananda Portland got an early start on the Easter season this year with a performance on April 2nd, of the Oratorio – Christ Lives! composed by Swami Kriyananda. It began as a joint effort by the choirs of Ananda Portland and Ananda Seattle, but we were joined by singers and musicians from Ananda Village, Ananda…

Leading With Joy
November 12, 2010

I just finished leading an Education for Life Music Workshop in which I worked with four music teachers from the Living Wisdom Schools in Portland, Seattle, and Palo Alto. For two and a half days we immersed ourselves in the vibration of music and children: a very powerful and uplifting mix! Working with groups of…

How It Came To Be: “Touching Soul”
September 8, 2010

We never will know our true potential if we don’t push ourselves past our perceived and self-made boundaries. Touching Soul Touching Soul came into being as a consequence of an inspired moment preceded by reading an excerpt of Swami Kriyananda’s Conversations with Yogananda. The excerpt told of a someone asking Yogananda if inspiration could be…

Backstage with Swami Kriyananda
August 26, 2010

Choir and Swami Kriyananda singing “Peace” As many of you may know, Swami Kriyananda, now 84, has had some recent physical setbacks, including a visit to the emergency room last Tuesday after a fall that injured his hip. He was scheduled to be at a tea in Los Angeles on Saturday, and was heartbroken to…

Monday's Concert
August 18, 2010

What an incredible week we had! Here are some recordings from our concert last Monday night: Salute The Great Paper Flag (Swami’s one political song!)salute-the-great-paper-flag.mp3 Here is a beautiful instrumental, Love Is the Aspiration Toward Perfection played by Craig Roberts, Bhagavati, myself, Todd Billingsley, and Mukti Deranja. 01-aspiration.mp3 And another, Friendship Is Acting In Freedom,…

The Peace Treaty 2010
August 14, 2010

The Peace Treaty is a three-act play that Swamiji wrote many years ago. And for about the last 10 years it has been a tradition to perform it during Spiritual Renewal Week. I know that for the actors and viewers alike, with each performance the play offers some new pearls of wisdom. The play in…

Delighted, no end...
April 19, 2010

Delighted, no end is actually the punch line to a joke in the Peace Treaty (Swamiji Kriyananda’s 3-act play). But it describes this weekend perfectly. People were delighted with the gardens at Crystal Hermitage. Hi everyone, last week I shared with you photos of the first weekend of Springtime at Ananda. It was cloudy and…

Inner Renewal Week Concert Recordings
February 11, 2010

It truly was a beautifully inspiring week of Inner Renewal, and I wanted to just quickly share some highlights from the concert on Saturday night. It was titled “A Musical Pilgrimage into God Communion”, and was filled with many very deep performances of some of Swami’s most sacred pieces. Cloisters: Cloisters In the Temple of…

Musical Gems from a Blessed Month
December 26, 2009

It has been a blessed month indeed! Here are a few excerpts worth a listen: First, from our Living Wisdom High School Concert on Friday, Dec 11th, a piece by John Rutter titled Mary’s Lullaby.marys-lullaby.mp3 On Saturday, Dec 12th, I led an astounding performance of Swami Kriyananda’s Oratorio, Christ Lives! at Mills College in Oakland,…

Power in the Music
December 21, 2009

Swami Kriyananda has often said that music has the power to change consciousness, and I have always believed that to be true. But there are always new levels of understanding to discover. I have been singing in the Ananda Portland choir now for many years and find that my consciousness is always uplifted when I…

Discovering Joy
November 14, 2009

Dear Friends, Writing and posting on this site has been moved up the priority list in my life; I hope to be sharing more regularly with you. Paramhansa Yogananda said we should regulate our lives – approach our days with a sense of order. We also have to flow with life and be willing to…

God God God
September 15, 2009

Dear friends, Here are a few songs from the evening concert at Swami Kriyananda’s Spiritual Anniversary celebration on September 12 at Ananda Village. The concert included readings from The New Path, Swamiji’s autobiography, and songs written by him over the years. Performance by Swami Kriyananda and Ananda Choir. Enjoy! God, God, God “God, God, God,”…

O, Master
August 16, 2009

Here is the recording of O, Master from this morning’s service. Enjoy!o-master.mp3

Spiritual Renewal Week 2009, Pt.2
August 15, 2009

This has been an action packed Spiritual Renewal Week. It will take me a few more days to catch up and post photos from the various classes and happenings. What I am posting today is a bit out of order. Yesterday, Friday, Swamiji spoke to a packed house at the amphitheater at The Expanding Light.…

Life Mantra
August 12, 2009

Dear all – here is the recording of Life Mantra from last night – enjoy!life-mantra-srw-09.mp3

The Sacred Art of Singing
July 6, 2009

What is it that truly happens when we sing? Are we merely creating waves of sound, or is there a deeper, metaphysical aspect that we can explore? For myself, I’m beginning to realize that every time my bow touches the cello, or a note comes out of my throat, I have the opportunity to witness…

July 4th Celebration, part 2
July 5, 2009

Happy 4th of July. I am posting a collection of photos from yesterday’s (Saturday) celebration of our 40th anniversary and our nations anniversary. We had beautiful songs, yummy food, and great company. Swamiji visited each of the booths that showed the many aspects of Ananda Worldwide. He sang with the choir and also greeted many…

4th of July Weekend Celebration Pt. 1
July 4, 2009

Happy Ananda Anniversary! The first day of our three day celebration was lovely. It was so nice to see all of our friends at the morning talk and the evening concert. The morning included talks from 5 different and wonderful speakers. The concert was beautiful. I never get tired of watching the choir members channel…

Spring at Crystal Hermitage Gardens
May 8, 2009

Greetings from Ananda Village. Lisa Powers wrote a wonderful blog post about the open houses at Crystal Hermitage Gardens. It was great to see people from the surrounding area come and enjoy the gardens. I spent a lot of time in the gardens recently. I have been working on a book of photos of the…

Winter Renewal Week
February 17, 2009

As you can tell from Ananda’s homepage, we had a wonderful Winter Renewal Week, with Divine Mother’s added gift of snow. It began snowing Monday morning, and I was amazed to see how many people braved the weather to come to the classes. On Wednesday evening, it snowed about 4 or 5 inches within an…

Stories of Yogananda
February 13, 2009

My Mother and Father always made a point to keep Paramhansa Yogananda as part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are hearing stories of his life when they would paraphrase stories from the Autobiography of a Yogi. I also remember informally acting out several scenes from his life when my Mother did an…

Tuesday's Recording Session
January 16, 2009

The past month has held many many wonderful musical events: The two school concerts (including the High School’s breathtaking presentation of Handel’s Messiah), World Brotherhood Day, our Ananda Christmas Concert (when my baton flew in a 30 foot graceful arc while conducting the Halleluiah Chorus), our Christmas Sunday Service, our Christmas Eve crèche program, and…

Tim Tschantz,
guest author

Joy Is Within You: Ananda Village Entry Sign
October 24, 2008

In the spring of 2007 a dear friend suggested that we build a new entry sign at Ananda Village to welcome people to the community. To help it happen, she volunteered money for the project. This started discussions in our monthly planning meetings about building an informational sign that was also “nice-to-look-at.” So began the…

The Peace Treaty 2008
August 16, 2008

This year’s production of the Peace Treaty was magical. The newly renovated amphitheater was very welcoming, the costumes were better than ever, and the lighting highlighted the beauty of the backdrop and the commitment of the actors. Each of the actors has made the part they played their own. It has been very fun to…

Spiritual Renewal Week 2008, Evening Concert
August 12, 2008

Greetings everyone! Last nights performance was so beautiful. I hope you enjoy the sampling of photos from the evening. Blessings to you. Barbara Swamiji arriving at the evening concert in The Expanding Light amphitheater Swamiji rehearsing with musicians just prior to the concert The World Brotherhood choir singing the Ananda theme song, “Many Hands Make…

Dramatic Improvisation for Fun and Spiritual Upliftment
August 3, 2008

I played the part of a Self-realized master last Thursday.

A small group of us at Ananda Village had gathered to do theater improv “for fun and spiritual upliftment.” One improvisation game we played went like this: 4 people got on stage, each inventing a character with a specific level of consciousness. …

Thank you, Los Angeles!
July 29, 2008

Blessings and greetings from Southern California. We are currently on the road (Hwy 99) on our way back to Ananda Village. We are basking in the glow of the wonderful weekend spent in the LA area with our divine friends and Swami Kriyananda. There is so much to share. The talks Swamiji gave will be…

Christ Lives
July 19, 2008

Last night, July 18, a beautiful event took place in Palo Alto, California. As part of Ananda’s 40th Anniversary celebrations the Oratorio “Christ Lives” was performed. This was a special performance in that Swami Kriyananda sang many of his divinely inspired songs. The collection of songs depicts the mystic life and teachings of Christ. Swamiji…

Live from Ananda Village
June 21, 2008

First live broadcast today of Swami Kriyananda talk from our new amphitheater. Last night, crews were still laying cables to bring power, lighting, sound and AnandaBell DSL. That on top of a new shade tarp. Truly amazing feat considering this is all our own system. We set up and tested the connection on Thursday then…

Lots of Fun Things
April 24, 2008

Hi Everyone, It has been a wonderful and awe-inspiring week. I live out here on the West Coast and woke up Saturday morning feeling like something good was happening. It was the morning that Swamiji gave his heart-opening and soul stirring talk in Rome. I think everyone here at Ananda Village felt a calm sense…

Living Wisdom School Christmas Concert
December 10, 2007

As I went back into the community center to pick up the last of my things after the concert, I could tangibly feel the beauty that the students created with their music. I stood for a moment in the now empty hall, and tried to imprint the feeling and vibration of this beautiful evening into…

Inner Awakenings: a Concert
November 27, 2007

On Saturday, November 10th we had our third evening in the Ananda Concert Series, entitled Inner Awakenings. Held once again at the Crystal Hermitage Dome, we played and sang to a full house of long time devotees and newcomers alike, with music and interspersed guided meditations from Swami Kriyananda’s book, Awaken to Superconsciousness. Melody, it…

Spiritual Music
October 20, 2007

Last week I had the pleasure of being commissioned to photograph the Music Ministry staff: David Eby, Jeanne Tschantz and Romesha and Bhagavati Nani. They are the core of a very large group of people who love to sing here at Ananda. I had the four them all to myself for over two hours as…

An Evening with St. Francis
October 14, 2007

This past weekend we presented our second concert in our Ananda Concert Series, entitled An Evening with St. Francis, presenting the life of the great saint with narration and music written by Swami Kriyananda. The dome of the Crystal Hermitage was filled to capacity with close to 70 in the audience as we began our…

Sing With Your Children
September 24, 2007

Music touches people on a deeper level than words alone. The music composed by Swami Kriyananda is written to change consciousness; the experience of listening to, playing, or singing such music goes beyond the sensory experience, into the soul. Being part of the choir at the Ananda Center in Portland has become a vital part…

Dave Bingham,
guest author

The Man Behind the Camera
August 29, 2007

I first came to Ananda Village in the fall of 1979 for a vacation. I had been practicing hatha yoga for about 6 years, and I really wanted to learn how to meditate.

I had a great longing for “something more” in my life, and I knew I could find it within …

The Spirit within the Music
August 8, 2007

I have the deep blessing to work with the music at Ananda Village. Most of my work is presenting music written by Swami Kriyananda, which comprises over 400 vocal and instrumental pieces. This summer we’ve had many performances: one at Ananda village, another at the Seattle Temple Dedication, and still more at the Revelations of…

The Jewel in the Lotus
July 21, 2007

Hello from Southern California. This is the week for the launch of Swami Kriyananda’s book, Revelations of Christ. There were two special events on Wednesday and Thursday night. The Jewel in the Lotus was performed in Encinitas at the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living and in Malibu at the Malibu High School. Both were great…

Inspiration
July 14, 2007

Next week is a big one. Swami Kriyananda will be in Los Angeles to launch his new book, Revelations of Christ. Many people from Ananda Village and Ananda Colonies will also be there to join in and help with all the festivities. Along with the book launch, some of the events we are all looking…

Paintings from the Joyful Arts Festival
June 21, 2007

A cosmic swirl of reds, yellows, and blues, radiating out from a small circle in the center Art is one way to help Divine truths become more dynamic to our minds.

You may have experienced this: you are reading a spiritual book, or talking with a person who has a lot of wisdom. You think, [...]