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Registered User
(9/18/03 11:04 am)
The fall SRF Voluntary League Newsletter and donation request which just came makes interesting reading from several perspectives. It may cast a slightly new light on the role the leadership sees for itself, and the overarching vision that drives a lot of decisions.

At first, reading it was painful, as cognitive dissonance always is. Quotes like the following:
This is a time of economic uncertainty affecting all of us, and those in our ashrams are making every effort to conserve the resources entrusted to us and use them wisely.

Wages and healthcare benefits have to be allocated for the skilled and dedicated employees who help us to serve you.

carry a huge amount of irony (at the least!) to any who have perused the volume of material here that indicates the opposite of wise use of resources and regard for dedicated employees. Still, that’s something of dead horse.

What I noted in particular was a discussion of the (apparently) soon-to-be released Second Coming of Christ, in very grand terms, as an “epoch-making scripture” for the new millennium, that may “help usher the world into an enlightened era of peace, unity, world brotherhood” and communion with God. If the leadership really believes that it’s their role to blaze the way into a new age – in essence, save the world - might that not account for much of what is discussed here? A few people get trampled, a few screwy business deals get made, but it was their karma, and God will provide, because we are ushering in a new Eden…

As individuals, I know a lot of SRF people with quite grandiose ideals, who have an equivalent difficulty with the basics. I count myself among them, though I hope I’ve managed to learn a few things by trial and error. It seems the organization shares a similar mindset. In the newsletter, the image of laying a foundation for a new structure for a new era was used.

Is the foundation sound?:eek

Putting the newsletter away, with no small amount of sadness, I suddenly remembered an incident at the last convocation at the Biltmore. I was leaving the juice bar across the street from the Biltmore. Ahead of me was a willowy blond woman, dressed in a long white gown – she could have passed for a Tolkien Elven princess. And as she glided out the door, right there on the street was a homeless man, looking pretty much the worse for wear, who stuck his dirty hand in her face, and grunted, rather than spoke a request for money.

I watched her face fall from a blissful otherworldliness, to one of fear and a desire to get away. I felt the same thing, a desire to get back to the Convocation where we don’t consider such things that might bring down our consciousness.

Since then I’ve gotten more clear in understanding that no group or individual can get by very well by simply ignoring what we don’t want to look at.

And recalling the juice bar incident, I’ve always afterward asked myself, just where was Christ at that moment?

Registered User
(9/18/03 1:56 pm)
Re: Newsletter
Christ was in the beggar.

"What so ever you do unto the least of these my brothers, that you do unto me".

Once, many years ago in the late eighties, at the height of the Aids epidemic and the out of control homeless situation in NYC, my husband and I went on a weekend pleasure trip there. As we were out one evening walking to a club or a restaurant, the streets were lined with homeless. Many were sick and pathetic and I was trying to portion out my money to them as fairly as I could. Then I noticed one young man in particular, very sick and in the advanced stages of Aids, with a sign in front of him that said "Aids, Please Help." It was one of the saddest moments of my life. It was cold and rainy and I had hardly any money left. I gave him what little I had plus all of my subway tokens in case he needed to "go somewhere". As I was trying to explain to him why I couldn't give him more even though I wanted to, he started crying. He was just overcome with emotion that I had stopped at all! Then I started crying. I never forgot that beautiful, forgotten soul on the streets of New York!

Many years later, I found out that a friend of mine had been suffering from Aids. He had been very secretive and brave about it and I never suspected it (though I knew he was sick) because I had always thought of him as being "a great man". Why can't someone be sick or broke or down and out and still be a "great man" or a "great woman"?

The great test is to see beauty and love (and be loving) in every situation in order to lift those up (including ourselves) who have been brought low by circumstances!

Christ was definitely in that man and is in anybody in need. The woman missed a great opportunity to lift herself out of her own narrow spirituality, also. In this situation, both parties are losers.

It's too bad that srf feels the need to cut itself off so thoroughly from "the real world" and "real people" in order to achieve "spirituality". This is beating a dead horse and we all know it, but I just couldn't resist your question!


Edited by: dawnrays at: 9/19/03 12:16 pm
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