The effects of el Niño on the global weather patterns have been very evident worldwide. In the ashram it has been a very wet, yet mild winter. Now spring is almost in the air. This is evidenced by the early daffodils (though strangely, a few daffodils bloomed last December) and a few primroses which are starting to bloom.
Though the ashram has been closed to visitors until very recently, we have been very focussed over the winter months. First of all, writing, printing and despatching our annual newsletter. Secondly, we have been making substantial renovations to the ashram. Both the kitchens have been re-vamped and a new laminate floor laid in the dining room. The single glass windows of the conservatory have been replaced with double glazing. These practical improvements symbolise the ongoing evolution of the ashram in its purpose of educating, uplifting and inspiring yoga practitioners.
Alongside joy, life also presents us with pain, suffering and frustration. No-one can deny this. But if we look deeper and open our heart then existence can offer us joy and meaning. In all of us, there is a jewel – obviously not a material jewel, but a metaphoric jewel, the jewel of explored potential. My wish is that this jewel becomes evident to all.
When we contact and identify with this inner jewel, then the challenges of life, the ups and downs, are not only bearable and acceptable, but appreciated as extraordinary and mysterious aspects of the Reality behind all appearances.
I want to leave you with a quotation which is ascribed to the Chinese Taoist philosopher Wu Hsin (403-221 bce?), which I saw recently in the bi-monthly magazine Hinduism Today:
'A common misconception is the belief that thinking is the creation of thought. Rather, it is the reception of thought from a source which has no name and from a place that cannot be found. Since one can’t decide to think nor can one decide thoughts’ contents, why does one claim their ownership? Is every sound Wu Hsin’s because he can hear it?'
My best wishes, Swami Nishchalananda