My concept of Ananda, before I had visited, was a place of inspiration, support, and Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings.

My initiation into Kriya Yoga earlier this year proved to be the most moving and sacred experience of my life.  Ananda holds a treasure, just waiting to be discovered…. and if I can find it, then so can you!

I am a member of Ananda Sangha (Ananda worldwide).   I live on the Isle of Man, UK, a small island situated in middle of the Irish Sea, more or less equidistant of England, Scotland and Ireland.

An unexpected invitation to become a contributor for ‘A Place Called Ananda’ was a delightful surprise for me, a relative newcomer on the block.  As my dear friends at Ananda recognize, I have much in my heart to share (and they are probably so fed up of my renditions, they have given me a regular slot, ha, ha!).

I would be hard-pressed to capture in words the essence of Ananda Sangha.

A poor attempt would be to define it as expansive consciousness. In truth, it has no bounds and cannot be defined in terms.  Swami Kriyananda often talks about how he can tell when he has crossed the neighboring boundary onto Ananda Village property.  I now can attest to this.


Lake near Expanding Light Retreat

One doesn’t have to be highly attuned to instantly recognize the immediate sense of tranquility and poise, of ‘something precious,’ after crossing the threshold.  Ananda, I soon discovered, does not have to promote itself in a marketing sense.  Its principle of truth by right living is a shining example to all, and promotion in itself.  But the real treasure?……’s all about attunement!

On our first trip to America, my daughter Nicola and I were booked into Ananda’s Expanding Light Retreat for Kriya Yoga preparation and initiation. Six in our Kriya group took initiation together, the experience of which has left us with an eternal bond.

Over the 3 days prior to initiation, an awareness of something I could not quite put my finger on was manifesting within me.  As time went on it became increasingly more obvious.  True ‘no strings attached’ friendships were being forged, or were they old friendships being renewed? Light recognized in the eyes; everywhere warm hearts freely gave of themselves.  A common vibration to all became evident to me.  I was walking in this vibration.  It was conscious.  I felt a connection to the land, the people, but most importantly, to our Gurus.

The morning of Kriya initiation, I had a profound opening experience whilst chanting Door of My Heart.

(For those of you who don’t know the chant, click on the player to hear it:)  door-of-my-heart.mp3)

The rest of the day was spent in welcome seclusion and silence, to reflect and prepare inwardly for the sacred initiation ceremony, to be performed that evening in the beautiful Hansa Mandir (temple).  The blessing of diksha (a sacred touch during which divine power is transferred to the receptive devotee) given by the officiating Kriyacharya (teacher of Kriya Yoga) during the ceremony has changed me forever.


Blessing at a Kriya Initiation

Emanating from him, I strongly perceived the energy of our gurus, but in particular Master Jesus Himself.  On leaving the temple after initiation, I knew I was not the same.  The overwhelming sense of connectivity, that I had come home and found my true family, was a tangible vibration.  I became that vibration!

Hugs and tearful, loving farewells after the following Sunday Service saw Nicola and I boarding the Super Shuttle back to Sacramento for the long (3 flights) journey back to UK and my island home.

What I really want to share with you today is that this wondrous and powerful vibration has not left me. I no longer feel out on a limb from Ananda.   I live in its very essence, which is synonymous with the essence of the Guru: God!

Ever increasing, never static, this essence is powerfully dynamic.  I would dearly love to be back living amongst the Ananda community, but God has placed me where I am for His purpose, known only to Him as it unfolds in my life, yet I don’t feel bereft of these wonderful people.

They are now always with me and I with them.  I am not limiting my connectivity to my newfound family alone.  I am ever expanding it to include all humanity.

My devotional flame is fanned by regular visits to my ‘lifeline’ support network online on Ananda’s main website. I keep current of the events, and I am a regular viewer and participant in the Sunday Service, available online, each week. I am able to receive support from my dear friend and Kriyacharya Dave Warner, and also my new/old friends.

The attunement I speak of develops by default when faithful, regular sadhana (spiritual discipline) is practiced.

Living without attunement to God and Guru is to remain on this earthly plane for God knows how many more lifetimes until the realization dawns that there is only one way out.  To be able to ‘go the distance’ in meditation and the discipline taught by Yoganandaji is vital if one is to find liberation in this life.

I know without my own efforts in applying Master’s teachings to, not only my sadhana, but my daily life, I would not be progressing so quickly on this path.

The realization of this sacred flow; the attunement to the gurus and Ananda’s treasure, leaves me longing to share it with others.


A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda