First of all apologies for the last email that was only meant to say I had not done a newsletter yet but wanted to send out the dates and locations for the Paduka Puja for last weekend. Unfortunately, I forgot to take out the link for the January newsletter and change the subject line, so some of you were confused, but also some where happy to read about the history of the Ashram in the January Newsletter. Here is the news for April.
Life at the Ashram seems to continue to expand. It is really a tribute to Shri Babaji’s and the Divine Mother’s all-pervasive energy. The Annual On-line Fundraiser was more successful than ever with many more and different people participating. We raised over $13,500 and are deeply grateful. The number of visitors to the Ashram also continues to expand with many new and interesting folks.
Perhaps the most curious connection was mentioned in our October newsletter ( then again in the February newsletter) and this is with the Zen Buddhist group from China with their lovely teacher Dengdeng. They arrived last fall while on a Camino de Crestone (designed after the Camino Santiago by William Howell who has written about Dengdeng below). Only scheduled to stay one night on their 7-day pilgrimage around the Crestone spiritual centers, several had strong experiences with Shri Babaji and fell in love with the Ashram. This precipitated Dengdeng asking to come back in April with another group of students but to stay the whole time at the Ashram. The Ashram Board considered this request and decided we could accommodate the 24 Chinese students and teacher, and so it was planned.
Arriving toward the end of April, it was a busy, crowded, and wonderful time. There are photos and more about their stay below under Recent Events. What I would like to write about here is one of the powerful things I learned from Dengdeng. She was preforming a public Sacred Tea Ceremony in Crestone and during it she was explaining the meaning of Namaste in their tradition. She spoke about bringing the hands together in front of the heart and extending our love and devotion through a bow. She commented that she experienced many people doing the gesture with their bodies but perhaps not really with their heart. She said she would sometimes finish bowing and the other person would already be gone, or as she called it “disappeared”. Later I was bowing in the temple with Dengdeng, and as I rose quicker than she, I heard in my head, “don’t disappear”.
I realize that I often “disappear”, which for me means, to not be present. This word has stayed with me as a reminder that each moment is sacred, each interaction is unique, and that love is only experienced in the now, not in the past or future. As I sing the aarati and my mind begins to think about something else, I realize I am disappearing from this tremendous gift that Shri Babaji gave us. When I don’t focus totally on the person in front of me that is speaking, I am once again disappearing from this offering of someone else’s heart with me. Mostly this comes from fear and from habitual behavior. For so many years I have been preoccupied with all I thought I had to get done, that I still go there. But it is all a reaction to fear, that I would not be good enough unless I got a certain amount done and the Ashram was a success. I am grateful to say that I am changing and knowing on a deeper and deeper level, that Baba loves me just as I am and I do not have to prove that by my accomplishments. I can take the full moment to bow deeply in the Temple, to another human being, and to each event. I no longer need to “disappear” to life.
In Truth, Love, and Immense Gratitude
Ceremonies and Schedule
The next full-moon ceremony will be on Tuesday, May 29, and the next new-moon fire ceremony will be on Wednesday, June 13. All fire ceremonies begin at 10am followed by a meal. Until the fire ban is lifted, we will have smaller fire ceremonies indoors. Please arrive ten minutes early, freshly bathed, in a long skirt or pants with shoulders covered, and having fasted from grains, cereals, meat, eggs, garlic and onions. Fruit, yogurt, unsalted nuts, veggies and tea or coffee are fine to eat before. Also, if you have a dietary need for something more hearty before our meal at 11:30 or so, please partake.
Our evening aarati is at 6pm, morning aarati at 7am, and the small fire ceremony is at 8:00am. We do not have the small fire ceremony when we have our large fire ceremony on new and full moons and during Navratri. The Maha Lakshmi Shop is open every day from 10am until 5pm. We love to see you.
If you would like to participate by sponsoring a fire ceremony or a bhandara (feast) we would be happy to send you a blessed item from the fire ceremony if you request. They are:
$27 sponsorship - Copper, brass, nickel Om Namah Shivaya bracelet
$54 sponsorship - Rudraksha, Rosewood, or Tulsi Mala
$108 sponsorship - Rose Quartz Mala or a copper, silver, brass Om Haidakhandi bracelet
(Click here to go to our donate link to sponsor a fire or bhandara.)
Karma Yoga at the Ashram
Lots of Karma Yoga this last month with the big auction which entailed putting items on line, monitoring the auction, and sending items out to the winners (still underway!). There were also lots of preparation and cooking and clean up for our 25 Chinese guests. They were also great karma yogis themselves and one couple arrived early and help with the set up and one couple stayed late and helped with the clean up. Baba is so gracious.
We are always grateful for all of the folks that come to the Ashram and help us with all the jobs that are necessary to make this place run smoothly and receive our hundreds of visitors. We really could not get everything done without you, you are all one of the reasons this Ashram is what it is. Thank you.
We ask each of you to look into your hearts and see what this Ashram means to you and to please donate as you are able. You may go to our website and donate by scrolling down (you can even set up a monthly tithe). You can also send a check (made out to HUA) to P.O. Box 9, Crestone CO, 81131. We are so deeply grateful for your support, love, and prayers. Bhole Baba Ki Jai!!