Warning: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, function 'nggallery_add_action_head' not found or invalid function name in /homepages/13/d168846385/htdocs/lightwaves.cc/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php on line 288

Bridging Heights

December 28, 2010 by Ashley

One of the attractive qualities of Yasodhara Heights is that it offers its residents a chance to live independently while still remaining very close to and involved in the Ashram community in a retreat-like setting. Paris Marshall Smith, a prospective occupant, and Rebecca Dale, a current resident, discuss what it means for them, especially as young women, to explore bridging their dedication to spiritual living with their worldly desires.

“When we started talking about the different, more flexible ways people could be here, I was enchanted and impressed that the Ashram was willing to expand and accommodate: to push its limitations, as we do,” says Paris Marshall Smith, Yasodhara Ashram’s Food Flow Manager, and current Ashram resident who’s been involved with the Radha community for the past three and a half years. “My needs fit with a group of other people who were also expressing a desire for freedom with attachment to both the Ashram and the rest of the world.”

“The prospect of living at the Heights supports me to be an individual, to be independent, and to really focus on my own process. Although I want to have options for a social life, I really value my private space as well, and I see that this project really supports both. It’s providing a space for me to continue my process in a different, very special way.”

“I see other ways these houses could be more environmentally sustainable, but I realize that the Ashram is limited as well: it has to work with what it has, and be realistic about what it’s able to do—with what it can offer people. What’s being built up there is not only an environmental initiative, but in many ways it is also a sustainable initiative because it’s encompassing a strong social aspect as well. It’s trying to meet a need that’s being expressed by the Ashram community, but it also has to be economically sustainable. It’s balanced in all aspects.”

“This project is for me a symbol of stretching my own perceived limitations to create a different life that supports my spiritual development and honours my current limitations, and provides insight into some of the questions that I and many young adults have: What does it mean for me, at this age, to live a spiritual life? Where do I go from here? How do I continue my spiritual development away from the Ashram?”

“The reality is that I’m still young, I still have a lot of independent living to do, and I still have desires I’m not ready to renounce. There are still worldly things I want to experience: journeys to foreign places I want to take, languages I want to learn, and there is still a part of me that might want to start a family one day. How can I follow the Ashram’s example and build my own sustainable alternative, my own spiritual dwelling place outside the Ashram? How can I also experience the best of both worlds, and let them enrich each other?”

Rebecca Dale, a long-time employee and member of the Yasodhara Ashram Society, who has been involved with the community for the past seven years, discusses this further:

“In 2006, after a year and a half at the Ashram, I left, hoping to learn how to bridge my spiritual life with the rest of my existence. Young adults often tell me they feel like there’s the spiritual life, and then there’s the rest of their life, but for me, they’re not separate. I want a better world, and I realize that to do that I have to start with myself.”

“Living at the Heights allows me to learn more about bridging, and about bringing spirituality into my everyday, regular life, so that it is my life in a complete way: so that there is a unity of those two things. My spiritual practices are not just a foundation upon which to build my life, but my core way of being in the world. In being so close to and involved in the community, I can practice this so much more easily at the Heights.”

For Rebecca, who has been living off-site for the past year and is moving from Red Cabin in January, living at the Heights “feels just like a regular house, but alone in the woods. It’s idyllic. The house is warm and very cozy. The only thing I wish is that I was there more often. I’m looking forward to the changes coming my way,” she continues. “With new tenants moving in, I’ll get that sense of community-living with other members of the society, while still having my own space.”

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

What is 7 + 7 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)