I am laptopping this from the Seattle Airport, where we’re waiting to fly back to California after a weekend of programs in Seattle. Airports are great levelers, as Devi and I know, queuing up for more than twenty-five flights each year. One sees people from all over the world: dark skin and light, baseball caps and turbans, families and friends chatting in English, Italian, Hindi, and languages we can’t even recognize. All is marvelous diversity, but while at the airport we are all just fellow passengers. And so it is also on this little planet flying through space: we are all just fellow travellers. If we can but see the unity behind the diversity, we can all be friends. We can all be family. We can all speak the same language of the heart.
One of our programs in Seattle included a Jewish rabbi, a Muslim imam, and a Christian minister, as well as Devi and me. At the end of our talks the rabbi led a prayer in Hebrew, the imam chanted verses from the Koran, and the Christian offered Biblical invocations—all for world peace. Many present had tears in their eyes, for good people everywhere yearn to see a world united in honoring everyone’s common quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
At this transition point in history we are seeing a great battle of consciousness, between those who want to impose their small visions of an earth divided, and those who yearn for a world united. It’s not a time to be passive. Those who want peace and harmony must radiate light: through prayer and meditation, by friendship to strangers, in a hand offered to those less fortunate.
Having lived so many years with Swami Kriyananda, I saw the power of friendship offered even when none was expected. Once we were in New York, where Swamiji was speaking at a large gathering of spiritually-minded people. The first Sony Walkman had just become available, and Swami visited a shop twice in order to buy a couple of these novel devices so people could listen to his music at the Ananda booth. He acted toward the owner as he always did, in a friendly and positive manner, and I didn’t think much about it. But as we were leaving, we visited one last time to say goodbye to the shopkeeper who had helped us. To our amazement, the man began to weep and asked for a photo of Swami. He said that he felt he was losing his closest friend.
The world gives us back what we give out. Life becomes so much sweeter when we emanate friendship, peace, and harmony. If we want to see humanity truly reflecting the image of God, then let us act as divine representatives, becoming the hands, feet, heart, and mind of the Infinite Friend. Only when we see everyone as a brother or sister, a child of our same one Father/Mother, will we finally see true peace and harmony.
As Paramhansa Yogananda wrote in Whispers From Eternity, “Teach us, Father, to melt the fancy-frozen boundaries of family, society, and national identity with the warmth of our love and understanding.”