Our winter here at Ananda has seen a succession of storms, with high winds and soaking rains. At Christmastime, a lone snow goose appeared on Lotus Lake. Perhaps this bird, like the young bird in Swamiji’s Festival of Light, had “entered a storm cloud, and soon found itself struggling for its life. Wind and rain lashed at its wings. The more it fought back, the weaker it became.” Blown off course, separated from its migrating flock, the snow goose found shelter below, day by day making its solitary way, the flock that was family and safety now hopelessly far away.
After some weeks, the orphan found the resident flocks of Canada geese, flown in to prepare for nesting and a new generation. The snow goose at first kept a careful distance from the strange flock. Then, one magical day, it was accepted, and soon was to be seen taking off, flying, and landing in perfectly synchronized movement: the snow goose, brilliant white, in center position; a larger grey-and-black Canada goose on each wing. The flock had expanded to give home and family to the stranger.
My sister wrote of leukemia coming to her husband of fifty years. The daughter and four-year-old granddaughter came often to help. Again the old folks’ house was filled with laughter and play. Even the dog enclosure was remodeled, to allow easy in-and-out for those great agents of healing, the dogs of three generations. Life goes on, my sister wrote, much as before, but more so, more loving, more giving and serving, more joyful—expanded.
A high school friend of an Ananda member was so enthralled at her Ananda friend’s letters about life in spiritual community that she left her stressful professional career to participate in the Karma Yoga program. Coming away from her first experience of the Attunement Ceremony during Inner Renewal Week, she spoke from her heart: “I can’t believe there is a whole community of people who come together just to pray for others!” “Sharing,” Swami Kriyananda writes, “is the doorway through which the soul escapes the prison of self-preoccupation. It is one of the clearest paths to God.”
Our friend Devarshi described a brutally painful kidney stone attack. Lying curled up on a gurney in the E.R., teeth clenched against the pain, he became aware of a nearby crisis: a young woman losing her body’s struggle with a drug overdose, the doctors working with desperation, the boyfriend in panic and despair. All thought of self faded into the background as Devarshi felt his heart open to the greater need before him: AUM poured out from within, his whole being turning in prayer to God and Guru to help the suffering one. In that outflow of divine love, his own pain vanished, dissolved in the expanding radiance of compassion.
My own father, grey and exhausted with congestive heart disease during my last visit before his passing, went to the kitchen while I was still meditating. When I came to the table, he lovingly served me, the prodigal son returned, the breakfast he had prepared. No word was spoken. His last act to his child was to rise above his own suffering and, through this simple meal, to transmit his forgiveness, his friendship, God’s love now moving so purely through his failing body.
A woman from El Salvador, practicing here as a dentist, spoke of her struggles: “When something is very difficult, when something seems too big for me to handle, I just think of my mother’s love: No matter how big my problem, my mother’s love is bigger. That gives me strength to go on.”
For each one of us, Divine Mother is there—coming in as many ways, in as many forms, and through as many channels as the needs of Her children who turn to Her. Swamiji wrote “Dark Eyes” to honor our Master’s boyhood divine romance at the time of his earthly mother’s passing—a time of human grief metamorphosing into heavenly joy in the experience of Divine Mother’s presence, immediate, all-embracing, eternal:
I’ve known them forever:
They’ve haunted my slumber,
And called to me out of the deeps of space.
The love that they promise
Has helped me remember
Another time, a caring embrace.
In divine friendship,