Announcements for March and April

Following are the announcements we have sent in the past month to our members and friends:

April 4, 2020
Dear friends,

Several days ago we sent a message asking our members to share what you are doing to maintain spiritual attunement and physical wellbeing while sheltering in place. Here are the responses we received, followed by a letter sent by Bro. Balananda, Minister in Charge of Encinitas Temple, to their mailing list.

Mindful walking – this gets you out of the house, and into fresh air and sunshine while avoiding unintentional proximity to others.

My wife and I are taking to heart Master’s guidance in the old Lessons on health, to absorb the sun’s rays with a daily 30-minute sunbath. This is both therapeutic and exceptionally relaxing!

Five good things that have happened to me (since the shelter-in-place directive):
1. I’ve taken up writing again my grandmother’s biography.
2. I am getting creative with the workouts I do at home (BollyX, QiGong; yoga)
3. My husband and I are preparing delicious food that we cook together.
4. We spend time outside, starting again our veggie garden.
5. I am talking to so many dear friends in Italy, Spain, Mexico, Colombia, the US… and so forth. LIFE IS GOOD, when life gives you lemons… make the best lemonade.

It helps me to know we are connected in our efforts in daily meditation and our regular healing services, and the opportunity to have longer meditations on Sunday morning, knowing other fellow devotees are also meditating at this time.

I have made a table for a visual checklist, with my desired daily activities on the left, and  on the right one column for each day of the week. I simply make a mark whenever the action has been done. Everyone’s list will be a little different…I included spiritual practices as well as other self-care things uniquely important for me as part of the balanced living that is part of the Kriya as per the Kriya lessons.

I am spending a lot more time reading all of the SRF books & Lessons, practicing affirmations, and watching SRF dvds and talks available online.  I live in the mountains isolated from others, so I can hike to the waterfalls that form during rainy season while practicing the presence.

Read the Second Coming / Slow down… do less… choose one thing to do for a long time while thinking of God (weeding or washing the laundry by hand instead of going to the laundromat) / Watch the dawn / Look at the stars / Call one person each day and share your love with them.

I have been looking at the videos sent out by SRF of Bro. Bhumananda, Bro.Satayanda, and our president. They are wonderful. Also, I have been attending as many of the SRF online meditations as I can.

A friend and I agreed that instead of hiking on Thursdays we would work on the Center grounds (pulling weeds). I think it’s good to be outside while keeping the social distance recommended by the governor.

Some friends and I have been having a one-hour meditation each afternoon, via Zoom. We make it a point to perform the healing service. My daughter is a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, so I appreciate the opportunity to join the Prayer Council, praying for all those in need. We are very flexible with each other’s schedules, and plan each day accordingly. We really feel the benefit of connecting daily. During these trying times, it has really helped us all, to simply get grounded mid-day between our other meditations.

Besides practicing the presence while doing yard work and exercising outdoors, the online meditations have become our link to the SRF family of devotees. The opportunities are expanding to include SRF and YSS monastic-led meditations several times each week, which are priceless!  And don’t miss the weekly monastic-led inspirational service, which can be utilized as your Sunday service and can be accessed via the SRF website.

When stepping outside first thing in the morning to do my EEs, I take a few minutes to look at the beautiful buds forming on the trees and listen to the music of the birds.

This idea comes from Sr. Subrata: Throughout the day or as you are leaving your house, just touch one of Master’s books, such as the Spiritual Diary.  My favorite is Metaphysical Meditations.

And this letter from Bro. Balananda, sent recently to Encinitas Temple members:

Dear Smile Billionaires of Encinitas Temple,

Thinking of all the challenges everyone is facing during this Coronavirus pandemic, I find myself reflecting on Guruji’s unique response to the trials and problems devotees would bring before him.

Whenever the monks or nuns came to Master, with any kind of problem (either physical, mental emotional, financial–it didn’t matter), he would always tell them one of two things–either “Sit down and meditate” or “Just love God more.”  That’s it–just those two remedies.  Remember when Daya Mata came to him with a host of financial problems, creditors to be seen, bills to be paid, food to be bought, and so on.  And Guruji’s reaction was simply:  “Just sit down and meditate.”  And then Ma’s mental response to Guruji:  “How can he say that?  Meditation is for the morning and evenings.  Now it’s time to keep this growing ashram running and to keep the creditors away from our door.”  But being the obedient disciple she was, she would invariably sit down at Guruji’s feet and meditate.  And Ma related to us that every time she came out of one of those meditations, all of her problems would just melt away–they would seem so insignificant.

And how about Guruji’s other remedy:  to just love God more.  Daya Ma, who had many major physical problems in the early days, would come to Master and tell him all about the physical suffering she was going through.  And instead of sympathizing with her, saying: “That’s all right my child, you go on a retreat or you take the afternoon off,” he would only say:  “Just love God more.”  “Just love God more.”  And she learned to do just that–loving him from moment to moment, even in the midst of all her pain, duties and responsibilities.  And then what happened?  All her physical problems just disappeared.

So what is Master saying?  That it all boils down to law and love.  We can solve all of our problems with either meditation or practicing the Presence–just sitting down and meditating or just loving God more.  When we do either of these, we invariably find that our even mindedness, which we lost, comes back.  So, what caused us to lose our even mindedness in the first place?  Not meditating enough or not practicing the Presence of God enough.

And it doesn’t get much simpler than that, does it?  When we meditate, when we practice the Presence, we are in tune with God:  everything is just fine; and when we don’t meditate or practice the Presence enough, we are in tune with Maya: everything is everything but fine.  Everything is a nest of troubles, as Master puts it.

How wise Master is! And how receptive was his dear Daya Ma. May we all learn to have that same kind of receptivity, that same kind of attunement.

Know you are all in my deepest prayers, and heart.

In divine friendship and love,
Bro. Balananda

April 1, 2020
Dear friends,

Recently some members have sent messages telling us what they’re doing to stay connected to Master and other SRF members while sheltering in place. For example, one person practices the presence while taking daily brisk walks. So, we thought we would reach out and ask what YOU are doing that provides a sense of calmness and peace.

Let us know, and later this week we will send a list of ideas for maintaining spiritual attunement and physical wellbeing. Please send your messages to info@escondidosrf.org.

Meanwhile, we also want to let you know that members of our Housekeeping Committee are periodically going to the Center to ensure that the chapel is clean and always ready to be reopened. And, a number of our members have been taking some time to pull the weeds that are popping up across the grounds. We do have a bumper crop this year!

As always, many thanks to all of you for your support for Master’s little Center.

In Divine Friendship,
Escondido Center Managing Council

March 28, 2020
Dear members and friends,

Mother Center is providing us tremendous support during this time of uncertainty. Given the spiritual gifts we are receiving, many of us are looking for ways to serve others while we remain at home.

Our local hospital, Palomar Medical Center, needs thousands of masks to protect staff serving in non-patient areas. Palomar Health Foundation is asking members of the community who have sewing skills to make simple masks of tightly woven cloth. For more information, please visit https://escondidosrf.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c0612c5974499be47c81c940&id=90669eecce&e=0ce1d31619 .

One of our members, Margaret Mertens, is a point of contact for this project. If you have questions, please contact Margaret at 442-281-4074 or Margaret.Mertens@palomarhealth.org.

Thank you, as always, for your kind and generous spiritual and material support.

In Divine Friendship,
Escondido Center Managing Council

March 22, 2020
Dear friends,

Though our Center is closed for the time being, we want everyone to know that we are with you in spirit, and praying that you are in good health. While right now we are not meeting physically for group meditations and other services, we encourage you to take advantage of online meditations by visiting https://escondidosrf.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c0612c5974499be47c81c940&id=1469645ca1&e=0ce1d31619  and signing up to participate in online meditations.

Another wonderful resource is the SRF blog (https://escondidosrf.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c0612c5974499be47c81c940&id=9762a10b25&e=0ce1d31619), which includes video talks by Bro. Chidananda, along with other information from Mother Center. And, beginning this past week, SRF is adding inspirational talks by other monastics to the blog page. A new talk will be posted each week.

Those of you who are receiving the new Lessons may want to review Lesson 13, Divine Laws of Health and Healing.

Given that we are asked to remain at home, please consider taking some time to reach out by telephone to friends and acquaintances who may be feeling isolated. Consider using Zoom, Skype or Facetime to add video to your communications.

On a bright note, we are delighted to announce that Escondido Center has been awarded $144,700 in security grant funding from the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). The funds will be used to upgrade our center’s security with perimeter fencing, a motorized rolling gate, security cameras, motion detectors with signage, and training to respond to an active shooter.

We feel very blessed by Master for this opportunity, and for the award of the full amount we requested.

CAL OES will reimburse us monthly as we submit receipts and other documentation. The various costs will be covered upfront through our building fund.

Apart from the training element, all the security components are in our building plan, so this puts us that much further ahead!

As Lahiri Mahasaya would say; “Banat, banat, banjai!” “Doing, doing, done!”  Let’s keep our faith in Master’s protection, guidance, and our spiritual success.

And now it’s time to pass the basket. Despite the cancellation of services and other activities, our Center does have ongoing costs, primarily for maintenance and utilities. If you would like to help defray some of these expenses, you may send a check (no cash, please) to Escondido Center, PO Box 463092, Escondido CA 92046. We do thank you for your continuing support!

Again, we encourage you to maintain the connection with Master by taking advantage of the many resources available through the SRF website and at-home SRF Lessons.

In Divine Friendship,
Escondido Center Managing Council

March 13, 2020
Dear members and friends of Escondido Center,

All services and fellowship activities at Escondido Center have been cancelled until further notice. This includes informal gatherings for personal meditations in the chapel or other rooms in the chapel building. We are following the guidance of Mother Center, which issued the following letter on March 12:

Dear Friend,
We have been closely monitoring the evolving situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus), and
are aware of the uncertainty felt by so many worldwide. After much prayerful consideration
about what the right course of action should be, we have made the decision to cancel all
SRF meditation and inspirational services at our temples, centers, and groups in the U.S.
and in other countries where the government has suggested we do so. We will be
contacting our meditation groups separately with guidance. We have also cancelled all
retreat programs until further notice.

Those of you who regularly participate in group meditations and spiritual fellowship know
the value and positive influence of seeking God together. We encourage you to continue
participation in group meditations via our SRF Online Meditation Center services by
visiting.

We are also looking into offering additional online inspirational events soon, and
encourage you to check our website for updates on this.

The decision to cancel our services and retreats has been made in compliance with the
request of the governor of California and the California Department of Public Health that
nonessential gatherings across the state of California should be limited to no more than
250 people, and that smaller events than this should implement social distancing of six
feet per person. These cautionary measures are also being requested and implemented in
many other states and countries.

We recommend that you continue to follow universal health guidelines with regards to the
coronavirus, which can be found on the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and
the World Health Organization

Paramahansa Yogananda expected us to use practical outer means and commonsense
methods to prevent illness, but he also urged us to have a positive attitude and faith in
God’s love and protection. That inner attunement felt in meditation and prayer will allow us
to reach into the infinite reservoir of God’s healing power to help ourselves and all those
who are in need.

In closing, let us keep in mind these words of our Gurudeva: “Whatever it is that you fear,
take your mind away from it and leave it to God. Have faith in Him….Every night, before
you sleep, affirm: ‘The Heavenly Father is with me; I am protected.’ Mentally surround
yourself with Spirit and His cosmic energy.”

May God and the Great Ones deeply bless and watch over you and your loved ones.

In divine friendship,
Self-Realization Fellowship

 

A PDF version of this letter is available at https://escondidosrf.org/wp-content/images/coronavirus-message3.pdf.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

In Divine Friendship,
Escondido Center Managing Council

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