I wish you all a very happy New Year.
Opening prayer at Master’s Birthday Celebration
Choir Singing “O Master”Flower ceremony at Master’s Birthday CelebrationBeautiful altar at Master’s Birthday CelebrationBeautiful evening at The Expanding Light Master’s Birthday Celebration

Jyotish at The Expanding Light TempleGreat-grandpa with Joseph

After reading Swami Kriyananda’s recent letters to us relating his bliss in the midst of his surgeries and chemotherapy I realize that the “happy” in our new year greetings is a powerful affirmation to feel inner joy despite any outward circumstances.
Snowey afternoon at AnandaMadhavi, David and Caitlin Eby walking at Ananda Village
Snowey afternoon at on the Ridge at Ananda
I am sharing a collection of photos from Ananda including our snow, and celebration of Yogananda’s birthday. The Western United States has been hit by a storm with high winds and we are experiencing the 3rd day of power outages.
The Sun peaks back out on the ridge on Sunday afternoon
Amazingly, The Expanding Light Retreat had electricity and hosted a lovely service in honor of our Guru.
Swamiji at Ananda Village 2007This is a special day for those of us on this path. It is an opportunity to honor our Guru and to remember God’s love for us, be thankful for these teachings, Ananda, and Swami Kriyananda. The ceremony included a flower ceremony and the reading of an article by Swamiji entitled, Why I Love My Guru. It was a beautiful evening.

A lot has happened since I last blogged about World Brotherhood Day. We celebrated the Christmas holidays with a Living Wisdom School concert, and another musical evening featuring songs from the Christ Lives Oratorio. We honored the birth of Christ at Sunday Service and with a Christmas eve and morning service and meditation. Ananda also observed its traditional 8-hour meditation at The Expanding Light on December 22.

Many would say the holidays would be a bad time to lose a loved one. But, to leave this world during such a holy time seems a blessing. My father had been ill for sometime and passed away on Christmas eve morning. I drew great comfort from the sacredness of this season.

The Sunday Service before Christmas the choir sang the Christ Child’s Asleep (by Swami Kriyananda). The words from that song flowed through me and have stayed with me. Phrases of the song uplift me even now.

I was very involved helping my mother provide for my dad’s care. I have always been close to my dad and this past year and a half was a good time to just be with him and help him and love him. My husband, Dave and I were with my dad during his final moments. We were awed by the very still peace in his room. In my human heart there was a profound wordless comfort. And even though I wasn’t happy to lose my father I was glad for him that he now was free from any pain. In the minutes, hours and days after my father’s passing I felt my consciousness elevated by grace. I felt at peace and I knew I didn’t have to worry about my dad.

So the beginning of this year started off in a blur of change. But, as always, the new year is a good time to contemplate new beginnings and resolutions to improve various aspects of our lives. Dave Warner’s Sunday Service talk last week was so beautiful. He said that in these times when we are so busy—the thought of even adding good resolutions to our list can seem overwhelming and impossible to maintain.

Dave reminded us that doing something simple like adding japa (the repetition of God’s name) or repeating a favorite affirmation can raise our consciousness. That in itself will help us attract the perfect changes into our lives. By raising our consciousness we change from the inside out. Doing these simple things can help us to spiritualize our lives and deepen our meditations.

There have been moments in my life where I felt my consciousness was high. Durng those times, I have always been amazed that any hurts or griefs I may have been feeling were soothed and washed away. Japa, affirmation, meditation and willingness helps open the doorway to higher consciousness which brings right answers, direction, comfort, and peace.

The power of the Christmas season has an underlying devotion and joy. The hope and spirit of recommiting to high ideals during the New Year and the celebration of Yogananda’s birthday makes this time of year very special.

Last year, as a Christmas project, I created a “Samadhi Slideshow”. It is Master’s poem, Samadhi, set to music and photos. We also played it at Masters’s Birthday celebration last year. Many people have seen it, but maybe you haven’t. If you would like to watch it you can click here. Master said it is good to read about higher states of consciousness as another way to try to tune into higher realities.

I think of you often. May the Masters Bless you all with peace and joy.

PS. Please continue to pray for Swami Kriyananda. Pray that he feel God’s presence and grace and bliss always. Pray for his healing. See yourself as an instrument of light. And see yourself blessed by this light.

Here is an excerpt from a note that Lakshman (Swami’s secretary) wrote yesterday: I’ll mention first that Swamiji’ has been feeling much, much better—quite well, in fact—the past couple of days: “Swamiji’s blood work came back perfect!” It looks as if he (along with Miriam, Lila, and me) will be going to Assisi as planned this Friday, for four weeks. Miriam (who, amazingly enough, has had years of experience at this very thing) will administer his next two rounds of chemotherapy there. She and the folks in Assisi have lined up all the doctors and facilities needed, in case she needs to be in touch with them, and she’ll also have ready cellphone access to all the doctors back in India.  But no one’s anticipating any problems, which is why the oncologist is saying it’s fine for Swamiji to go. “It has to be this 24-hour prayer vigil!” Miriam wrote. “Everyone is so amazed at Swamiji’s progress.”