One busy afternoon three days ago, I stood with my colleagues at Ananda Sangha Worldwide, reliving the joys we experienced during Spiritual Renewal Week (SRW) 2017. We unanimously agreed on three things: 1) Each year we think we cannot possibly be more inspired, 2) Each year we think the speakers cannot possibly do better, 3) Each year they do and we are. SRW is a glorious experience of going deep in Divine truths, hearing wisdom shared by friends from around the world, and enjoying Ananda’s spiritual family from near and far. The blessings we each take home from SRW help to fuel our spiritual lives for the whole year.
My phone rang as we regaled each other with our favorite SRW moments. I had the fleeting thought that I should answer it, but pushed the thought aside with another one, “Oh, it’s just a sales call.” It rang again and this time my intuition peaked, but I missed it. Moments later, an email arrived with a brief, but surprising message, “I want to donate a big sum for the Temple of Light.”
I gasped, I had missed an important call! I scrambled to reply, but to no avail. Time ran out and I had to return to my children, eagerly awaiting me at home. Sorry to have failed to listen to my intuition, I sighed and knew that this was in Divine Mothers hands.
Sure enough, twenty four hours later brought with it the news of an anonymous pledge for the Temple of Light in the amount of $400,000. Amazing. Stunning. Inspiring.
After fifteen years of fundraising for good causes and a graduate degree on the subject, I am throwing out most of what I learned in deference to ancient yogic truths. The Temple of Light Campaign has become a living, breathing example of the wisdom of the ancient Vedas, brought to life through the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and his disciple Swami Kriyananda.
As Yogananda said it best in his affirmation for abundance, “I shall go forth in perfect faith in the power of Omnipresent good to bring me whatever I need when I need it.”
This campaign defies traditional fundraising practices. Using those methods, we ran into a $1.5 million gap between what we need and what we can raise again and again. We could not see the way through the deficit, but persevered, stepping forth with faith, admittedly, not always perfect. In the course of just six short weeks, $1.4 million has now arrived from entirely unexpected places in ways we never could have imagined.
If I have learned one thing through all of this, it is that the Temple of Light is a channel for Divine light in this world and God is clearly in charge of its manifestation.
Swami Kriyananda tells a humorous story in his book Money Magnetism about a man who arrives in heaven only to learn that there is a “heavenly junk yard” piled high with exquisite worldly items. When he asks about this strange place, he comes to learn that by limiting our vision of what gifts God will give us to specific things, we often reject His beautiful gifts in our lives. Thus, by presuming to know exactly how much would be raised for the Temple of Light and from where, we were going down that treacherous road of limiting our potential. Thank goodness we did not fall all the way into that delusion.
The single thread that ties each and every gift to the Temple of Light is love. Each gift is an act of Divine love, returning to God in gratitude Her love for us. Each gift has been inspired by the ray of light and hope that Ananda shares – a universal ray that aims to inspire us all towards our own highest Self.
May this temple be a beacon of light, love, hope, blessings, and joy for all the world.