Our Ananda SoCal community experienced a major change over the past few weeks. Due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus, we decided not to re-open our Ananda centers. We have done our best to act decisively and in a financially responsible manner.
This was a tough decision that came after many community meetings, individual conversations, and conscious collaboration. Ananda works organically. There is no “Big Ananda” or “Mother Center” dictating to us in Los Angeles. We had to figure it out together as a SoCal sangha. In fact, each local community met to discuss different options at the grass roots level.
After hearing the news, a friend wrote to me concerned about Dharmadevi and me. How were we doing? Perhaps because I grew up Italian, strange as it sounds, I actually felt guilty about how joyful I felt!
How could I feel joy from closing our centers? Because the spirit with which our community is moving forward through this crisis is so deeply inspiring.
People are more dedicated, determined, and devoted to each other as divine friends. I have been blown away by the depth of kindness, genuine sharing, and voluntary cooperation within our sangha.
The decisions to close each center came out of sweet reason and intuition that something else is trying to happen. We did not decide out of fear, but by being “practical in our ideals.” One of the guiding principles at Ananda is, “Where there is right action, there is victory.”
Part of the right action for us is learning to move into a more sustainable model going forward. One way we are resurrecting is through the new Ananda Temple and Crystal Clarity Publishers warehouse/office space in East LA. You can read about the “By All Means” miracle here. We are thrilled about this new opportunity!
At the same time, it would not be healthy for us to minimize the abrupt closing of our centers. Even though the divine vision is, as Paramhansa Yogananda said, “center everywhere, circumference nowhere,” the closing of the physical centers is a loss.
In one of our community satsangs a friend of mine said we need to practice “rigorous honesty” to move through this change authentically.
Honesty and acceptance are key to overcoming grief and loss that are inevitable in life.
What I realized is, we are not rigorous enough! Usually, we do a good job of beating ourselves up in self deprecation. Yet, we do not accept the truth of our own being. That is to say, the rigor of deep and honest truth of our reality as children of God.
Swami Kriyananda shares beautifully on the topic of acceptance:
One of the most difficult lessons in life is to learn to accept things as they are. How much energy we waste in trying to wish away the inevitable! “If only this hadn’t happened!” “If only we had reached there in time!” The “if only’s” and “might have been’s” in life keep us from dealing realistically with what is.
Acceptance comes from knowing that reality lies within ourselves, and that all else is a
dream. Acceptance of that one reality makes everything else acceptable. Instead of learning to come to grips with a thousand individual challenges, therefore, make the supreme effort to accept God unconditionally into your heart. Accept all that comes in life as coming from His hands. He will give you what is best for you, if you live for Him alone.
I accept with calm impartiality whatever comes my way. Free in my heart, I am not conditioned by any outward circumstance.
Shine Thy delusion-cauterizing light into the hidden nooks of my heart’s feelings, lest somewhere, without my conscious knowledge, I have not accepted Thee. If ever I err, strengthen me to accept Thy discipline, for in Thy will alone lies the happiness I am seeking. ––Affirmations for Self-Healing by Swami Kriyananda
From calmly accepting this new reality as “coming from His hands” we are discovering the joy of God behind it all.
In the acceptance of all,