There is a yearning in our hearts for a better world than the one we see around us. This longing burns especially brightly when daily headlines are filled with such negativity, division, and anger. When I was in college I wrote an essay about a Utopian world where suddenly everyone was able to communicate telepathically. After a period of turbulence, this brought about world understanding and peace. Little did I know at the time that the consciousness of the great masters already lives in such a world.
In 1926, Yogananda gave a talk in Cincinnati, Ohio, entitled, “How to Live Several Hundred Years in Advance of Your Times.” People flocked to hear him, surely looking forward with “hope for a better world,” to quote the title of one of Swami Kriyananda’s books.
At Ananda Village we are actively confronting the polarization, prejudice, and hatred of our times and have formed an Ananda Diversity and Inclusion Council. We recently held our first meeting with representatives from various subgroups that live here: African American, Asian, LGBT+, Indian, and even someone representing the elders. People are not their skin color, tendencies, age, or national origin, but in today’s world it is important to affirm our unity.
During our meeting, one of the most thrilling moments came when the organizer, Nefretete, read a letter from a student in India who is part of Ananda’s international high school. I thought you would like to see what she wrote:
What Diversity Means to Me
“Whether we all descend from different cultures, have different heritages, or live in different countries, we all have one common thread that ignores the boundaries of physical demographics and nationalities. The one common thread that brings us all together and unites our diverse backgrounds is the ideology of Self-Realization. Self-Realization is a path of spiritual renewal and recognition of the highest levels of Oneself. The spiritual path does not specify any gender, race, or religion that is exclusively entitled to experiencing Self-Realization. The diverse values and inclusion of many cultural communities is a multivocal process that we can all choose to experience. Swamiji spoke about his vision of creating world brotherhood communities and colonies that support high thinking and simple living. I believe that a part of Self-Realization is recognizing that we all are unique, yet similar in our ways of thinking and acting. We may not come from the same place but we all aim to reach the same place—the place of ultimate truth and wisdom—to be One in God’s Light someday. Ananda has established the Diversity and Inclusion Council to encourage and support these Aims.” —Manmohini Tiwari, age: 15, friend of ADIC
Isn’t it wonderful to hear such wisdom from a teenager? One solution to today’s problems is to train and empower a new generation filled with people like Manmohini shining the light of higher consciousness.
Helping create a unified world was one of Yogananda’s central goals and he did everything in his power to bring it about. When Devi and I received the Global Ambassador Peace Award at the United Nations, we read Yogananda’s “Prayer for a United World.” Here is an excerpt:
May the heads of all countries and races be guided to understand that men of all nations are physically and spiritually one: physically one, because we are the descendants of common parents—the symbolic Adam and Eve; spiritually one because we are the immortal children of our Father; bound by eternal links of brotherhood . . .
In our hearts we can all learn to be free from hate and selfishness. Let us pray for harmony among the nations that they march hand in hand through the gate of a fair new civilization.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Let us give thanks for God’s wonders of creation. And let us always see the unity that hides behind His glittering diversity.
In Divine Love,
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