In June 1976, a forest fire destroyed 450 acres at Ananda Village and 21 of the 22 homes.

When you meditate and feel God’s presence, then these things are all just a dream. Many people look upon a tragedy of this kind as all bad. I don’t mean that the fire was nothing. But in truth conditions are neutral. It’s the way we take them that determines whether they’re positive or negative, whether they’re bad experiences or happy experiences.

This fire is a community problem. When a group of people goes out from Ananda and works together to make money, let’s put it in the kitty and call it “Ananda money.” Then we can build house after house right now.

If people work together and really pitch in, they’ll generate more energy than if they’re thinking only of their own house. But if we worry too much about how much we’ll raise, whether it will be enough to meet our individual needs, we’ll have less of the consciousness of pitching in together.

One of the things that touched me so much was to see the real dynamic, joyous determination to build again and not to say, “What a wonderful world it might have been if only this hadn’t happened.” Instead, the attitude is “Well, a year from now we’d feel fine about it. Why not enjoy it right now?”

This doesn’t mean to take it lightly, but to face the facts and do what we can to improve the situation. The right spirit is to say, “We’re going to get in there and build better than ever!”

Excerpts from Swami Kriyananda’s first talks after the fire—6/29/76 and 7/1/76.

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