A Beginning, an End, and an Eternity

Is there such a thing as a junkophobe? That's me. I buy the same thing
over and over because I keep throwing useful stuff away; I'm ruthless
to the point of impracticality. I can't tolerate anything old, broken,
unlovely, unclean, or out of place.

Then what is this old Cheese Doodles packet doing here? Cheap crinkly
empty bag, garish primary print, "Made with real cheese" blaring from
the top, like that would make it ok. It's taped into a big silver book
of handmade paper, Indian beads hand stitched onto the front. It sits
beside seven others, now amongst my most precious possessions: one of
raw silk in a rainbow weave and coloured pages, one embroidered with
satin ribbons, one with my name across the face of a dog, and a
felt-tip drawing of a bird.

Words are scrawled inside: rough shapes of words, the pen hurried or
tired, the phrases hackneyed and dull, but this content has held me
stunned over the last two days; compelling as an elysian dream
remembered at daybreak.

These, my journals of the last ten years, have stayed mostly unopened.
I wrote them for a future self I thought I would not meet for many
years to come, never imagining my Master would leave his earthly frame
for Heaven so soon.

I knew such apparent debris would turn to treasure then. The spent
packets of blessed food from Sri Chinmoy's hand are now a link to
another world which used to be my own; a world of outer instruction,
more subtle, more powerful, more inwardly refined than I can even
comprehend, let alone fit into the bounds of words. The Path of The
Heart; The Silent Teaching; the sacred life of meditation; the
unviolable bond between Guru and disciple.

Mostly these packets, photos, notes, bulging out of pages, are
triggers to more abundant memories than those recorded. A concert
ticket took me to the first time I saw Sri Chinmoy in person, Heathrow
Airport 1997. In a bustle of artificial light and noise and movement,
waiting for his arrival, I entered into one of the most profound
meditations of my life. He passed by, looked into me with such surety
and pure affection, I knew my life had found its home. Here at last
was a teacher who could take me to God; a journey I knew I needed more
than my own breath. His was the most familiar face I had ever seen,
recognition flooded with sanctuary. Tears of relief followed me for
twelve continuous hours.

* * *

Today I met with four others to meditate, the thirtieth day after Sri
Chinmoy's Mahasamadhi, an official end of mourning. One of our little
band was raised a Hindu, as was Sri Chinmoy, and told us that in
India, family members take lotuses on such a day, to set them adrift
in the Ganges with a prayer. Perhaps we could do the same as a
symbolic mark of gratitude and respect.

We took golden roses with only stubs of stems to help them float. We
walked a long way down the river Ouse, slipping on the cobbles in the
damp of autumn, checking at intervals with each other if "this" could
be the "right place." Two lads, three girls, and one sleek white dog
named Pearl, seemingly out for a weekend stroll.

Who would have thought such profundity would come to pass on a rotting
jetty by a rowing club somewhere in North Yorkshire. In the space of
moments, so many impulses rose up in me that I have not dared to feel
these past days. It seemed we grew up all of a sudden. Orphaned, we
had only each other then, with whom to carry the legacy of a sacred
life into an unknown future, to offer to others what we have had the
unimaginable boon of receiving.

I set the small bundle of softness on the wide mass of water and
watched it bob away. It seemed to have its own light, glowing with a
joy and purity I thought only Heaven could conceive, smiling and
shining at the onset of an unknown journey; a warm light above the
dark and changeable — on it, in it, yet apart from it. I touched my
fingers in the water, then to my head and heart, making some unspoken
promise to this beautiful city where I was raised: a sudden totality
of love and oneness.

We parted, all but wordlessly, and I went home. I smiled to the
homeless man selling magazines and gave him a pound — I will not give
to beggars, but he works hard, all in joy and fun, to make others
smile. I saw myself in part in him. I smiled to the youth absorbed in
a greasy paper of chips and scraps. I smiled to the aged lady
struggling in pain and fear from the harbour of her own front door: I
saw myself in part in her, and felt only love. I smiled to the big
girls in skinny jeans, cursing and shouting (in fun, or in fear of not
being heard?); the lady in shades on an overcast day; the pub landlord
at his back door in a dressing gown, ruddy from the night's excess;
the sulking seven-year-old whingeing to her Dad for something vitally
important.

Today I saw myself in part in them all. Or was it God?

"Thou art one Truth, one Life, on Face.
Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme!
I bow to Thee, I bow."

Sri Chinmoy
from Invocation
http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/my-flute/90.html

* * *

Posted by Sumangali Morhall
http://www.sumangali.org

Are words enough to say how much I like this piece of writing Sumangali?

Probably not, because I have just gone and suggested, through tiny,
inadequate words, that I am appreciating just a piece of writing, when
really I am most enjoying a tiny, precious piece of Eternity.

Were I a poet, I would say something at this point like "Long past the
Beginning, I approach the End, now seeing only Eternity."

(But of course I am not a poet, and have no idea what such even means)

John-Paul
http://sensitivitytothings.com

Thank you so much, John-Paul. Even to know one person (especially such
an excellent writer) has read my little story, and gleaned even an
iota of inspiration, made it worth posting, and indeed worth writing
in the first place.

Sumangali
http://www.sumangali.org

Hello Sumangali,

Just thought I'd chime in to say how much I enjoyed perusing your
website this evening, and I feel that all of your stories and poems
are food for our souls.
You have a beautiful gift.

I giggled about your squirrel story on the weekend, as we at our
center had an unexpected visit from Pixie and Dixie, our furry
friends of the neighborhood who are much smaller than squirrels, and
who like to come in and visit when the weather starts to turn cold.

We had a special meditation Saturday night at our center, and for
the reading portion, I had chosen a very soulful reading about the
power of the spiritual Master after he leaves the body.
I was greatly anticipating sharing this passage with everyone
present.

Finally the reading portion of the meditation came, and I began very
soulfully to read the selected passage. Just as I was getting to the
really juicy bit of the reading, suddenly, Scratch Scritch Scratch!!
The sound was so loud that we all looked into the foyer, not sure
what this was, but it soon stopped, and we settled back in, and I
began the reading over.

Once again, just as I got to the juicy bit, Scratch Scritch Scratch!!
It was even louder this time with a few rather solid thumps thrown
in; so much, that people thought that someone was walking around in
my apartment upstairs.
I knew that no one was in my apartment. I knew it was Pixie and Dixie
having a little fun at my expense.

I did finally get through the reading, but I barely made it through
without laughing because after our little mouse incident all that I
kept picturing was that squirrell climbing up your coat, and my only
thought was that God really does have a sense of humour:)

Purnakama

Ten days late, *thank you* for this kind message, Purnakama. Your
chiming is music to my ears. Sometimes it is not so comfortable baring
one's soul to the whole world. It is more solace than you may know to
find that my words sometimes find a safe harbour of kindness.

Just because someone might find it relatively easy to put their
thoughts and feelings into writing, does not mean those thoughts and
feelings are any less vulnerable in a public arena. It means a lot
when someone takes time to say how they feel, and sticks their neck
out to do so: either in an original message or in response to one
written by someone else. I don't do this myself as much as I could.

To any silent readers out there, I hope we hear from you soon, even if
it's just to say hello. I know even that might not be easy (really, I
*do*), but it might just be worth the effort. It's sometimes lonely
out here on the public limb :-)

I love the sound of many church bells ringing together in a round, I
love the sweetness of many hand bells playing a tune; so much merrier
than one tolling into a void. Oneness seems more important now than it
ever was.

Sumangali
Bringing some bells and bidding you ring, dear World (even cacophonously)
Go on, I dare you

Dear Sumangali,
Your words of encouragement for ongoing and especially new bell
ringers feel like the perfect first place to share a few words here
now that I have returned from ten days on retreat.*

Since I usually share here frequently, my not using the Internet for a
while brings an altogether different perspective. I came home
and read a host of illumining, thought and soul provoking messages
from the silent reader point of view because I didn't use the Internet
but once on my trip. Now that I'm out of the flow, it truthfully feels
somewhat daunting to dive back in and do a few laps -- yes you'll find
some swimming and ocean imagery from me with so much time in
the idyllic waters of the Caribbean fresh in my being. :-)

The shoe is suddenly on the other foot. Putting that first toe in the
water can be tough. Then if someone writes, it must be hard if
dialogue does not flow from it. Sumangali wrote,

"It means a lot when someone takes time to say how they feel, and
sticks their neck out to do so: either in an original message or in
response to one written by someone else."

I often sincerely wish time permitted thoughtful replies to all who
share here even though I know it would be a time-consuming task. I
find myself remembering Subarnamala's beautiful message #20940 about
oneness during the Memorial Week and regretting that I never replied
to it specifically.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration/message/20940

She shared this with us on November 3rd as a reply to Suren's equally
powerful post #20822 on oneness after Sri Chinmoy's mahasamadhi:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration/message/20822
Sadly she has not written since then - I miss the peal of her bell.
Luckily Suren is still writing.

Even though I'm ordinarily chatty here, I truly struggled to overcome
a sense of intimidation about writing again after I finished reading
most of the messages I missed while away. Then my thoughts flew to a
prayer recitation by Ashani's prayer group I was lucky enough to
participate in. The morning of the day I flew home a group of girls
led by Ashani recited 50 "My God-Hunger-Cry" prayers from memory. Kind
of true to form as an American (one of only a couple in the group), I
needed a little remedial instruction on the goal of blending and
melting all as one voice because I was reciting a little too loudly
during the practices. Ironically, my loudness was not because I felt I
knew them thoroughly, more just a quest to convince myself of what
came next through sheer exuberance.

I suddenly thought of my own stereotype of Americans in a kind of
frontier mode (Hey I even have pioneers who went by covered wagon out
West in my family history) going along a little oblivious to the rest
of the world and slightly over eager and zealous in one very big
country. That spirit sometimes creates a strong independent streak and
that "too many chiefs and not enough Indians syndrome." :-) In places
like Europe, there are so many countries adjacent to one another and
the European Union fosters ever-increasing cooperation. None of the
European members of our group needed coaching on the one voice from
many method we strove to achieve.

I tried to quickly mend my ways and learn by their example. I lowered
my voice and redoubled my efforts to feel oneness within the group.
This immediately intensified a feeling of sweet soulfulness and
harmony. By the time of the performance, I was blessed to deeply
experience that sense of oneness that far surpasses my individual
self. My voice didn't even seem to be my own and I hardly recognized
it. The surface me was not the one who spoke that's for sure.

Somehow I feel that there is a lesson for hesitation to write and
share here and the feelings we glimpse in deep meditation or in
singing and reciting Sri Chinmoy's utterances.

Perhaps it is partially the feeling that the deepest beauty comes in
oneness and fulness. The more people that share here the sweeter the
expression.

Perhaps it is also the feeling that if some posts engender a feeling
that what we might share is a tiny hill in comparison to their
loftiness, it is rather the opposite. When we blend as one voice with
true banishment of a sense of superior or inferior, only then does the
deepest beauty again flourish.

And finally perhaps it is just another expression of the intensified
yearning for community, family and oneness that has become a real key
in our lives since October 11th. In this forum, that takes the form of
wishing for silent readers to become at least fleeting bell-ringers.
And just like how in the prayer recitation it was so special to strive
for oneness without any one voice standing apart, the more voices that
could chime in here would truly herald victory.

May I finish with one of the prayers we recited that is exquisitely
beautiful:

"My aspiration-heart is breathlessly in rapture in the blue vast sky.
It has seen God's signature."
My "God-Hunger-Cry" prayer - Sri Chinmoy
[unofficial]

-Sharani
*In their essential core, these days offered vivid and powerful
opportunities to deepen our oneness and heart's connections with each
other along with the certitude of Guru's inner guidance in our lives
even if no longer supplemented by his outer physical presence.

I honestly feel no less transformed from the experience than
any other Christmas trip. My ordinary human mind is still awed and
overwhelmed by such an experience. More on that will have to wait
until the entire trip is over.

- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sumangali_m
wrote:
>
> Ten days late, *thank you* for this kind message, Purnakama. Your
> chiming is music to my ears. Sometimes it is not so comfortable baring
> one's soul to the whole world. It is more solace than you may know to
> find that my words sometimes find a safe harbour of kindness.
>
> Just because someone might find it relatively easy to put their
> thoughts and feelings into writing, does not mean those thoughts and
> feelings are any less vulnerable in a public arena. It means a lot
> when someone takes time to say how they feel, and sticks their neck
> out to do so: either in an original message or in response to one
> written by someone else. I don't do this myself as much as I could.
>
> To any silent readers out there, I hope we hear from you soon, even if
> it's just to say hello. I know even that might not be easy (really, I
> *do*), but it might just be worth the effort. It's sometimes lonely
> out here on the public limb :-)
>
> I love the sound of many church bells ringing together in a round, I
> love the sweetness of many hand bells playing a tune; so much merrier
> than one tolling into a void. Oneness seems more important now than it
> ever was.
>
> Sumangali
> Bringing some bells and bidding you ring, dear World (even
cacophonously)
> Go on, I dare you
>

Dear Sharani,
I am all admiration for the way you gracefully slipped back into the
pool, even carrying with you all the light of the retreat back to
us! Welcome home, we missed you!

Sarah
P.S. Would you like to join Purnakama, Doris, Beverly and me for
online-tea at Purnakama's place? (see #21342, for instance)

Dear Sharani,

Welcome back.

Thank you for bringing some glimpses of your trip; although, as you
say, the outer details are pending, the inner light you have received
shines brightly through your greetings. It is most encouraging (in
fact, a great relief) to hear that you have received as much inner
nourishment as on previous trips: further assurance that Sri
Chinmoy's inner presence may be as tangible as his former outer
presence.

Silence may so often breed doubt that one has been understood. Your
anecdote is an absolutely perfect parallel, offered with such warmth
and humility. It spoke my own sentiments much more clearly and
powerfully than my message to which you replied. Thank you so much.

* * *

Dear Silent Readers,

I absolutely respect your divine right to remain silent, and I am
sincerely grateful for your strengthening presence in this group.

My invitation was meant only as encouragement to those who remain
silent out of timidity. I meant only to tell you that I myself am
naturally timorous; it is only through God's Grace and Sri Chinmoy's
inner and outer encouragement that I have managed to overcome it to
the extent of saying anything at all in a public space. I still have a
long, long way to go, but any baby steps taken thus far have brought
me nothing but progress.

Mind you, ask me to speak alone publicly, or sing into an
audience — however forgiving — and you will see the trembling mouse in
me. If you feel that way about writing, you have my full sympathy, but
more constructive than that: my prayer that you feel encouraged to
join this choir of bells, if you are so inclined.

With best wishes to all
Sumangali

Dear Sarah,
After I entered my tea order in my reply to Vasanti's message, now I
read yours! Sorry about that. As you can see in that message, I'm
drinking Decaf chai with pumpkin flavored soymilk in it. Then there's
always blueberry rooibos tea at Ketan's Panorama Cafe beckoning as well.

Today I saw my first snow - what a wonderful experience. And how odd
when only two days ago the whiteness surrounding me was the softest
delicate sand on the beach or the froth of a wave. Here are some
pictures from my trip
http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/gallery/members/sharani/tropicaltransfor...

Affectionately,
Sharani