After meditation, I head out the door with a bunch of fast runners intending to do some intervals. It's always good to have someone to do these things with, it helps keep one's mind off the impending exertion. However, they are running to a place about twenty minutes away; I'll never be able to do the intervals and head back in time for practice, so I have to make my excuses and content myself with a short run. I go back and change and arrive for practice, but of course I've forgotten the harmonium and have to go back and get it, foregoing a large amount of the NZ practice to get to the Irish one. It's still quite problematic getting the flute, harmonium and tablas to coordinate together perfectly, the wind rustling through the trees in the park doesn't exactly help.
Then into meditation. As we meditate together with Guru, a thought comes to me as if it were just dropped in the postbox...I am always taking inspiration from watching how self-giving Guru is and how much he places himself at the service of humanity and I really feel this expands my own qualities of self giving; what about taking inspiration from the fact that Guru is just so happy all the time? Immediately I feel this wave of happiness envelop me, I feel that somehow his happiness and my happiness and the world's happiness are all somehow just one happiness...it is a very very good meditation, I am definitely having my share of good meditations on this trip.
More help is required at the printing press to finish more of the book of Ongkar's prayers - the ones we did on Tuesday vanished quickly and many people were left disappointed. Later I was to find out that whilst I was away, Guru gave a very soulful talk, in that slow deliberate style of his when you just know he is fetching every word from the inmost crevasses of his heart; he was saying how humbled he was by our love for him, and that we may think we are fortunate to have him as our Master, but he is infinitely more fortunate to have us as his students.
Back at the house there's time to grab 30 minutes shuteye, then back to more practice. Unfortunately the rain had made a very unwelcome intervention and our practice was of course outdoors. I buy myself an Indian sweet which disagrees with me, and then I realise I've misplaced my wallet. To be honest, I'm a bit tired at this stage and negative thoughts are beginning to lap at my heels, so I make a beeline for somewhere quiet and play a few tunes on my flute to cheer me up.
Tonight there was lots of performances - my favourite was the Californian singing directed very ably by Viddyut. I had seen them practicing in the park these past couple of days so I know how much they put into it. It was quite a complicated arrangement and much concentration was required for everyone to come in at the right time. The song itself is very cute and childlike, it is in both Bengali (Sri Chinmoy's native tongue) and English, the English part going:
Twinkling, twinkling evening star
Watching the flow of your nectar delight
Myself I completely lose...
Sri Chinmoy much prefers writing Bengali songs to English, but one thing he really infuses into his English songs is a childlike quality that the English language is normally not thought to posess - this song in particular brings to mind a well-known nursery rhyme. Sri Chinmoy draws a distinction between 'childlike' and 'childish' - the latter is simply acting immaturely, whereas the former is bringing some of the positive qualities a child has - sweetness and playfulness - to bear in our own lives. As I write this, this it occurs to me that many nursery rhymes actually have their roots in rather grim occurrences (Ring-a-ring-a-rosy alludes to the 14th century bubonic plague, and Jack and Jill, Cock Robin and the rest of them could probably fill a mortuary and casualty ward combined), and perhaps these songs beckon a future where children might be singing songs drawn from the highest experiences of peace and tranquility....