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What Do I Want to Sustain?

June 29, 2009 by Lightwaves


After a recent visit to the Ashram, Carol Collier is reminded of why she donates to the Circle: “Sustainability of the environment, sustainability of the Ashram, sustainability of my own spiritual practice: these have motivated me to make a monthly donation to the Circle of Sustainability for the past several years.”

Sustainability of the environment: Many people talk about their concern for the environment, but at the Ashram, people are actually doing something about it. During my recent stay I had a room in the Barn, a marvel of renovation from both a design and an ecological point of view, with its geothermal heating, solar panels and light filtration system which means you never have to turn on a light in a windowless bathroom during the day. Working in the garden made me aware of all the research that has been done by ashram residents, and the gardening practices that have been put in place to promote self-sufficiency, encourage local food provisioning, and even plant fire-resistant plants and trees around the property. I was there during the ‘zero garbage’ pilot project, which left me with fairly full pockets but a greater awareness of how to reduce unnecessary waste and properly dispose of waste that is unavoidable. Since I asked that my donation be earmarked for the sustainability fund, I feel that I am participating in these sustainability initiatives in some small way even when I am far away at home.

Sustainability of the Ashram: There are so many organizations and charities clamouring for our donations that I try to contribute to those that reflect my values and my goals. The ashram, from this point of view, is first on my list. I always feel that I am walking into a sacred space when I arrive there, and I want to see that space preserved. I want others, especially young people, to profit from it as much as I do, and to see the teachings grow and spread to another generation. This provides another motive for donating.

Sustainability of my spiritual practice: I have been going to the ashram for one or two-week periods for about 8 years and I have learned so much from the teachings of Swami Radha, and from the teachers who have followed in her path, that it has become my spiritual home. Maintaining a practice away from the source is not easy, and when I am home and feel myself slipping, I often go to the website, take the virtual tour, and listen to a satsang talk in order to freshen my memory of the place, the space and the practice. I am aware of how much I have received from the Ashram, so the small monthly contribution I make is symbolic at best: I cannot really say I am ‘giving back’ since my debt is enormous. I will be deepening my practice in 2010 by doing the YDC and staying on for some months of karma yoga. This will permit me to contribute to the sustainability of the ashram through participating in its work, including its environmental work. So in my own little way, I will keep the circle of sustainability going.

~ Carol Collier


Click here to learn more about the Circle of Sustainability, or join the Circle online here.

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