Happy New Year. This feels to be a special year. In everyone I talk to, or sit near at Sunday Service, or serve with, I feel a deepening commitment in our quest to go ever deeper on the path of God-realization. 2010 was not a particularly easy year, but I left 2010 and entered 2011 with a seemingly shared inner joy and energy to Keep Calling Him. (Keep Calling Him is the title of one of my favorite songs.)
As I sit to write this blog, I am remembering a moment of crystal clarity I had while sitting Paramhansa Yogananda’s meditation room at his boyhood home in Calcutta. Outside I could hear clearly the noise of honking cars, and the joyful chatter and singing of the highschool girls down the hall (I happened to be traveling the same time as the Ananda Highschool girls and joined them on this part of the pilgrimage).
In that room I was enveloped with a profound sense of stillness. Noise faded away, there was no sound, no words, no sense of a message to carry away with me. It was simply still.
Yet within that stillness was everything. It lasted only a moment, but it has been a moment that I have carried with me and use as a gauge to see how I am doing or to return to in the midst of activity or upset.
On my walks, with or without my camera, I try to revisit that stillness, feel it in my cells, in the air I breath. If I am taking photos, I try to capture that stillness of the moment as if I am listening for God’s call. Even if I don’t feel it, the effort is worth it.
In daily activity or in meditation, I try to come back to that stillness or infuse into what I am doing. Am I perfect at it? No way. But I keep coming back to the effort.
(The photo above is of devotees walking across the meadow the beautiful morning of the 8-hour meditation at The Expanding Light.)
This photo taken at The Expanding Light is a reenactment of the birth of Jesus. The story of the birth of Christ was artfully woven into the story of the Little Bird from the Festival of Light. The whole evening had a quality of stillness and also the gift of joy in the anticipation of Christ’s birth.
At the end we were invited to light our candles, as a symbol of the little light that is within us and offer it to the greater light of infinity. It was a beautiful evening that was part of a series of events that marks the Holy Season.
We had wonderful concerts, the 8-hour meditation, Christmas and New Years Eve celebrations and magical weather that seemed to add to the season.
The Holy season officially ends with Yogananda’s Birthday celebration. It was a sacred evening of song, a flower ceremony and for some include discipleship vows for the first time, and for all of us we recommitted to our quest for God. The ceremony was deep and rich and joyfully still. In that stillness was everything.
Wishing all of you joy, Barbara
Beautiful pictures and wonderful narration. They evoked deep stillness in my heart. Joyful tears…
Wow – stunning from top to bottom. Thank you, Barbara!
A picture says a thousand words, Barbara, but yours speak more to the soul than most, drawing the reader into the experience of what you describe.
Thank you for this beautiful blog.
thanks for your posts, the photos are great and fun to look at. it seems like a magical place to live, and your photography appears to capture that aura.