Issue 2, April 2020
Power of Community
It’s spring at Yasodhara Ashram – sometimes snowing even as the crocuses bloom. Surrounded by forests and mountains, a sparkling lake, the freshly dug garden, we are together with others who have chosen to live here to work on ourselves. I think we all recognize our great privilege in having space, beauty and nature, even as we constantly adapt to the sometimes wobbly headstand of this upside down time.
As a community with a sizeable proportion of elders, we are rigorously following the health guidelines, always adding nuances and new precautions. But our cloistered existence is held within a vibrant spiritual atmosphere. “We’re trapped in paradise,” said one of our young residents when I asked her perspective of the “staying home” order during the pandemic.
We are feeling our roots and the power of community to remain connected – to each other, to the world around us with all its heartbreak, and to the invisible power of the Divine. We have the intention to send out Light through watching our thoughts and offering our practices. Each evening in satsang – adequately distanced from each other – we open our hearts and dedicate our chanting to those suffering and to the health care workers and others who are heroically helping.
Technology can connect us, too. A few days ago a relative of one of our residents passed away in New York City, and she joined the extended family sitting shiva via videoconferencing. “It was comforting to be together even though apart,” the woman noted. “We experienced everything but the matzo ball soup.”
Like the crocuses in the snow, this tragic time also has glimpses of beauty and growth. The crisis is offering the earth breathing room and drawing people together to help each other. “It’s a wake-up call,” says one young resident, “an opportunity for necessary systems change.”
Many perspectives and many feelings abound – the grief of estrangement and loss, the anxiety of uncertainty and isolation, the wonder at a world suddenly slowing down.
More than ever we depend on each other, our responsible actions and our invisible vibrations. Our solidarity. Let’s also give each other grace – to feel what we are feeling, to be where we are, to be forgiving.
We are sending our deepest hope that you remain well and safe and that together we can stay connected as an extended community of Light.
We’re now planning our online programs and hope to see you there.