This morning might be a good time to catch up on some sleep, I reckon. However, I still get up at the same time for meditation; after a short time meditating at the same time every day, your inner being develops a hunger for it at the same time every day, much the same as the body is attuned to expect food at certain times of the day. I find that if I sleep in and meditate later, something of the hustle and bustle of the world enters into the meditation and they aren't as high. So I meditate, head down the hill for the group meditation at 6:30 and crawl back into bed at 7. Of course, it would probably be better if I didnt go back to bed at all, but I find that sleep after meditation can be very deep and refreshing - I sometimes actually find it harder to get up the second time!.
However, as soon as I crawl into bed, I spot President Gorbachev's memoirs again - and after half an hour of reading about the struggles to overcome possibly the biggest and most entrenched case of institutional inertia the world has ever seen, I felt it was time I got up and did something myself! So I stuck on my trainers and trotted off to do some more computery things.
I got back for the eleven o'clock meditation; Sri Chinmoy arrived at noon, a large blue envelope in his hand: more on this later. After a very powerful opening meditation, Sri Chinmoy reads again from his series of My God-Hunger Cry prayers; he said he composed these ones in the very early hours of the morning. He also reads from aphorisms he composed as he was visiting Malaysia with his students last winter, and gives some advice to a few of his students.
Sri Chinmoy notices a student of his who has just arrived, and asks him to sit down and meditate for a few minutes. Then Sri Chinmoy calls him to up and sit in front of him, for within that blue envelope lies the spiritual name he is about to receive. The reader will have noticed many names of Indian origin amongst the contributors to this website; they are names given by Sri Chinmoy, names which embody the qualities of the recipient's soul, and indeed people will often refer to them as their soul's names. The intimate connection between the soul and God is such that aspirants can actually attain illumination on the strength of repeating their soul's name: one is very grateful to have a Master who can fathom the inner depths of his students' souls and emerge with a spiritual name, a magic carpet upon which the student can access those depths for himself. A great stillness falls upon the room. For a long time Sri Chinmoy meditates upon the soul of the recipient before presenting him with the blue envelope that contains his name.
After the function, off I go to enter slap-bang into the world of material possessions - I ordered a new MacBook and now I get to pick it up! There is an internet connection at the house where we are staying, so no more traipsing off somewhere else to work for me!
Around half six, during our last half-hour meditation, the first drops of rain starts coming down. Some of us who are outside during the meditation go for the protection of the tent. By the time we arrive for our outdoor walking meditation at half-eight, it is pouring. Pouring. Rain in New York is not like rain in Ireland with its music of lulls and crescendos; here, it cascades down in one single long monotonous note. But this one note, like a background drone in a musical peformance, amplifies the silence as we all walk slowly around. It is hard not to feel grateful. For everyone who helped me to where I am now, for everything, even this rain, for it teaches me that true inner joy exists no matter what the outer conditions. In the pouring rain, I walk slowly home, basking in the warmth of my heart.
- Next page: Friday 17th ...