Editor’s note (2019): the center and retreat at Laurelwood has moved out of the hands of Ananda after many years. We wish it the best in the next phase of its life!
Ananda Portland is expanding – you may have read about the new educational campus, Ananda Center at Laurelwood, and the new assisted living venture, Ananda House. But we have many other parts of the work here as well, and as I play my role as manager of the temple and teaching center I find it fascinating to see how all the parts work together and play off one another. I’m not psychic – I don’t see auras or angels, but sometimes I can almost see the energy swirling around all the people and parts of Ananda Portland in a dance of divine grace.
While working at the temple I greet visitors coming in from other parts of Ananda Portland – Living Wisdom School, the new and resale gift shop called Living Wisely, our spiritual community, Laurelwood, Ananda House, and various related projects. It’s fun to try and feel the energy coming from each one and make a mental guess about where they have just been. Each part of the work has a distinctive feel or “flavor” but it’s all interwoven with loving service and joy to the greater divine work of our guru, Paramhansa Yogananda.
This afternoon I visited the Living Wisely Shop and donated a few things. When I left the shop with a couple purchases I had fun visualizing all the things that move in and out of that shop. I saw them carried in on waves of loving energy from all parts of Ananda and the larger community of Portland, and then carried out again to new places. Many donations are making their way to Laurelwood and Ananda House and into the community. My daughter and I have recently moved into the community and our apartment is furnished with many things from our friends and Living Wisely. As we sort through our things in the moving process, we donate to the shop and give away to others. It’s truly a dance of energy and love as all the things circulate like the fall leaves swirling through the autumn air.
Tuning into energy flow and the energy patterns around me is expansive and fascinating. I watch the people moving, greeting, working, and playing around the community and I can sense the uplifting flow of grace that we are blessed with through God and guru. The energy is constantly trying to move us toward higher consciousness and inner peace. Nothing is static – everything is moving and coaxing us to move with it. The flow of people out to Laurelwood created a dynamic river of energy that drew new friends into our family. The shared inspiration and overlapping projects and activities feel like a lively contra dance as people weave in and out of community, Laurelwood, school, Ananda House, temple, Living Wisely, and back to school, Laurelwood, temple, Ananda House, community, Living Wisely.
Seeing the energy moving throughout my surroundings and the people I meet also makes me more aware of the energy that flows through me. I’m more conscious of what “my” energy may look like to others. Is it warm and gentle and loving, or a bit prickly and critical? Am I responding to God’s ever-present pull upward to higher consciousness or am I being coaxed by downward energy to dullness and contraction? And where are the upward currents the strongest – how can I put myself into that flow and relax into it?
Swami Kriyananda has always encouraged us to see life as a flow of energy and to live from our center – ever ready to adapt and grow toward greater awareness and joy. Try tuning into the energy flow in these ways and see what happens:
1) A good way to begin is to take a few moments after an activity and think about it in terms of energy. Can you visualize what the energy was doing during the activity? Was there a dynamic energy flow between people, or did everyone keep protective barriers around themselves? Upon reflection – was there something else going on that you didn’t tune into while there, but seems obvious now? Did you walk away uplifted or moody?
2) Take time after a conversation with someone to review your energy and look back on the exchange. Whose energy was strongest? Was your energy moving upward, out to the senses, or into self – involvement? Did you make eye contact or shake hands? What did that do to your energy?
3) Pause just a moment as you walk into a room or building. Expand your awareness to include the larger surroundings and feel for the unseen energy patterns. If you were to draw a picture of the energy you feel, what would that look like?
We are all part of the divine dance of energy – have fun tuning into that invisible reality and gradually it will become part of your consciousness and not so invisible.
In divine friendship,