The time finally arrived for Michael and me to leave the island home we had known for 8 years, and the UK itself where we have lived for all our lives.

As we left the house we had sold I looked back, but not with any regret or emotion. A short while later we sailed away from the island I had been so fond of in the early years, but recently any attachment I may have had to it, or the people, had vanished completely. Guruji has trained me well.

I watched the island disappear slowly for a while, thinking only thoughts of gratitude to Divine Mother for leading me to that place in which I began, knowingly, to walk this path; for placing me with the people I needed, and for the time I needed. Now, I carry their hearts with me. I will not miss them for this reason.

Leaving my family was much more difficult, for Michael too, but I knew if I was sincere in making life in a spiritual community work, it had to be done. I cried for half the flight to India. Even writing of this puts a lump in my throat, but I have their hearts with me too. I coped by saying over and over to myself, “But God, I must show You I love You more”.

Finally we arrived on the land; the first Ananda Kriya Yogashram in India, straight after one of the last few downpours of the retreating Monsoon. It was Tuesday September 20th. Slipping and sliding in the mud, trying to get our bags inside without taking in too much of the ‘chocolate mousse’ we were ankle deep in, we looked around at the very different environment than we were used to. Although the building of our home is not yet finished, we have been more than adequately adequately housed in the meantime. Resourceful to the last I will utilize any given space to its best advantage.

Tired and hungry as we were, all seemed a little overwhelming, but we were invited to Nayaswami’s Nirmalaji and Dharmamdasji for dinner with the other residents. It was well timed. Hugs all round, and tears of relief at finally being here, and of joy to be amongst my fellow gurubhais at long last.

Our home to be is now reaching skyward. In a few months we will feel as though this has always been home.

Jet lagged for a few days, we slowly started to pick up our energy. Whether it was good timing or not, in our eyes, Divine Mother sends all with precision timing. Our first weekend, we both participated in a wonderful few days of intense meditation. From the evening of Friday, at 5 o’clock, until 7 pm on the Sunday, those who wished and could manage the schedule meditated every 4 hours for 2 hours at a time, in celebration of the Vernal equinox and the four auspicious meditation times of the day; dawn, noon, dusk and midnight.

Well I knew that it would either kill or cure me, still not fully over the journey! The first night was hard, but by the second I was really into it. By the time the meditations sessions were complete, I actually felt invigorated rather than sleep deprived. Sleep breaks were encouraged at certain times in the schedule, and the odd power nap in the day seemed to suffice. My meditations and Kriya practice have noticeably deepened since the weekend. What an initiation into the spiritual life of this new community! One or both of us could have shied away, daunted by the enormity of the task that lay ahead, and so soon after our arrival, but we knew we had come to India to embrace the challenges on the spiritual and physical plane; to say, “Yes!” to life.

So already we have taken on certain responsibilities in the ashram. I have been asked to participate in the welfare of the ever growing population of children that are attending Ananda’s newly developing and thriving school, here on the land. I will help in the assessment and auditing process of each child’s physical development and immunization programme.

I will be working with Dr Aditya for other community health issues, and also I am stepping up on the promotional writing I was already doing for the retreat programmes offered here. Michael has maintenance and construction projects for the foreseeable future, and we have both wielded a garden fork and gotten our hands dirty, in order to help get ready for dear Swami Kriyananda’s imminent arrival to the land.

What more can I say at this early stage? Life here is not for the faint-hearted. We will both take time to fully adjust to life here and find our feet. There are still plenty of niggles to be ironed out, and how long Divine Mother wants us here is known only to Her, but Michael summed up our feelings beautifully in a comment he made in an email to a friend, last night. Despite the teething difficulties we have encountered in this new culture and environment, he said that in all the world traveling we have done throughout our years together, we have finally found home!

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda