Lent 3

Easwaran series

tim_flindersTim Flinders, a student of Easwaran’s, says Gandhi at times seemed like the angriest person of the twentieth century, ‘but he had learned how to harness it, how to transform it into positive, beneficial, revolutionary forces. Well, this transformed me.’ image from tworock.org.

Says Easwaran, ‘All we need is to love. That is all there is to life. I need somebody to love, to give myself to. And the moment I love somebody I begin to grow.’ Anger, jealousy, envy are not true obstacles. ‘There is no such thing as an obstacle on the spiritual path. There are only opportunities.’ But, Easwaran says, ‘while miracles do occur, they require a lot of hard work.’ He adds, ‘We are very small people, but a lot of small people can do a lot of big things.’ And continues, ‘I have very little doubt that our children will bless the day when we started this work because they’ll be the main beneficiaries of this.’ image from wikipedia.

Danny Michel-from-deepseas-blogspot-comBreak time! Here are some new sounds to old songs:

  • Danny Michel–remember this one? image from deepseas.blogspot.com.
  • Catherine Maclellan–plays her father’s first hit, poignantly
  • The Punch Brothers–aren’t really brothers, but they play brilliantly whether it’s Bach or bluegrass or The Cars

How about a new song contrasted with an old one? David Wilcox’s ‘Hip Deep In Water‘ begins, ‘Life gets strange now and then’, yet no matter how strange, I imagine once-comatose Stevie Wonder will keep trying until he reaches his ‘Highest Ground‘. image from wikipedia.

Battle for the Elephants05 copy-from-pbs-orgTonight [2013-02-27] we watched ‘Battle for the Elephants‘ on PBS, which wonders what is it about elephants that evokes sympathy? ‘Is it that family is so important to them? That they take care of their young? That they play? Or is it that they are simply so big, smart and powerful? …. And yet, in 2012, the world witnessed the greatest slaughter of elephants since an international ban on the ivory trade was first put in place in 1989.’ images of elephants from pbs.org, of carved ivory from wikipedia.

Will the new pope allow the ordination of women? I heard a cardinal say the West is ready for it, but not the East. Oh really? Since when was the papacy even close to democracy? image from wikipedia.

suzuki-by kevin-van-passen-from-g&mHere in Canada we supposedly have a democracy, but we require some electoral reform. image by van passen.

Tonight [2013-02-28] we watched the NASA Apollo missions, Skylab, the shuttle triumphs and tragedies, Hubble trouble, the ISS…. Is Mars next? I grew up with this. I had an Apollo model rocket. I ate Space Food Sticks. We have Velcro. Teflon. image from wikipedia.

melting_polar_ice_caps_catastrophy-from-blog-2012pro-comA technological triumph. But tragedy, too, and not just the lives of the Challenger and Columbia crews. What a contrast to elephants or melting polar ice. And a launch takes a lot of fuel. A mission is so human-centred. Now we seem to be taking war into space. However, on the bright side, we have mind-expanding, soul-expanding images, of stars, of galaxies, of near the very beginning, and of our fragile planet. In the wake of the Cold War, we are learning that collaboration is more important than competition. We are learning that the space missions, with both their triumphs and tragedies, show what we are capable of when we work together. Sure, sometimes the technology at hand helped, but sometimes it hindered. It’s the timeless grit that really comes through. Feeling a little overwhelmed? (I know I am.) Good! Then you’re alive! Mike Nickerson has some tips. image from blog.2012pro.com.

gbbr01The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve suggests six easy ways to help the bay (images from gbbr.ca):

  1. Order a rain barrel online rainbarrel.ca/GeorgianBay
  2. Participate in a Seedy Saturday near you
  3. Is your business investing in the Bay? We want you to be seen this summer in our State of the Bay Report. Click here.
  4. GBBR Logo Trans PNGUse the Biosphere Brand with logos free to download.
  5. Support local food
  6. Volunteer

whitenosesyndrome071-from-sustainabilitywardenMcLaughlin reports that Little Brown Bats’ massive decline because of White-Nose Syndrome has a ripple effect that is ‘will be considerable for other species and humans alike. As a major insectivore throughout temperate North America, insect populations are expected to explode, before the niche is filled by other species or potentially recovering bat populations.’ He recommends ‘assisting repopulation…[to improve] the species’ ability to naturally adapt to the infection.’ image from sustainabilitywarden.

Okay, break’s over. Your job is not to change other people, Flinders says, but ‘to change yourself. To learn to bear with people who didn’t agree with you; to learn that profoundly difficult but significant skill of patience.’ Easwaran adds these skills: ‘compassion, forgiveness, forbearance, tenderness, selflessness, endurance’, which can be fostered by meditation. He says, ‘meditation can be looked upon as an acceleration of human evolution [but still gradual rather than sudden, as Flinders points out] in which we take our destiny in our own hands.’ In community, ‘gradually there comes an awareness that there is a supreme goal to life, that we are nearing this goal, day by day. That is the purpose of an ashram like this to bring together people … so they can help, support, and solace each other as a large family.’ image from wikipedia.

Easwaran's familyThe ashram in California, Ramagiri, is modelled on Easwaran’s large, ancestral family (see image). ‘The family context is an important one,’ Easwaran says. ‘For me, Ramagiri is a beautiful family. And there is no end to the beauty we can reveal in our life. There is no end to the patience we can develop. There is no end to the love we can learn to love…. The more you love, the more you learn to love.’ image from the video.

To be continued….

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