Love everyone, feed everyone, and remember God.
Neem Karoli Baba
I recently gave Ram Dass’s Be Here Now to Laura, an exceptional Maryville University graduate and psychology major. Previously, I had mentioned to her that part early in the book about Richard Alpert’s growing disenchantment as an upwardly mobile psychology prof and his eventual breakdown/breakthrough with Neem Karoli Baba (“Maharajji”), who became his guru. I thought she might appreciate both the design of the book and some of the teachings, which she’d probably not come across in upper-level psych courses.
Like Ram Dass a devotee of Maharajji, Parvati Markus has recently compiled ardent testimonies in Love Everyone: The Transcendent Wisdom of Neem Karoli Baba Told through the Stories of the Westerners Whose Lives He Transformed. The influential psychologist Daniel Goleman was one of those Westerners, and his experience in India was crucial to developing a more holistic and powerful psychology: “In the West I had been in the heart of American psychology, and here was a sea of love, totally off the map of Western psychology. It was so clear that we had missed something really important about human abilities, human potential, about the heart. Here was a being who was endless love and presence. It wasn’t some temporary state; it was who he was. That’s what really got me.”
Markus’s book covers the years 1968 to 1973. Many people went to India at a young age (late teens, early twenties), and eventually returned to the U.S. to integrate what they had experienced in ashrams and following the guru around India. People went into the professions, raised families, got stuck, got unstuck, achieved fame (e.g., Krishna Das). All of them had been marked for life by Maharajji, as the following remarks indicate… Read the rest of this entry »
I received the following reflection from my friend Andrew this morning…
Here is Boeing’s latest press release about fighter jet training capabilities coming to St. Louis. And Lacy Clay’s (MO 1-D) elation:
“I’m proud that Boeing has trust in the highly skilled workforce in my district, and I look forward to the economic opportunity these jobs will bring for our community and the Missouri supply chain,” added U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, who represents Missouri’s first district that includes Boeing’s St. Louis facility. Read the rest of this entry »
Thich Nhat Hanh is regarded by many as one of the most skillful and pragmatic of spiritual teachers. In 2016 he published At Home in the World, a succinct autobiography of his ninety years of life in Vietnam and in exile. Filled with recollections, teachings, and practices, this book will be our guide for getting in touch with our own stories, wisdom, and resources for mindful living.
Thich Nhat Hanh has been a proponent of Engaged Buddhism for over sixty years. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was a kindred spirit to the Catholic monk Thomas Merton and Jesuit activist Daniel Berrigan. He is the author of scores of books, including The Miracle of Mindfulness, Being Peace, and Living Buddha, Living Christ. He resides at his community, Plum Village, in France.
Each class session will allow for quiet time, discussion of the book, writing practices, and paired and group sharing. Suggestions will be offered for further writing and experiments in the week between classes. A class blog will be available for sharing the fruits of our reflection, exchange, and writing.
We will meet on the following six Wednesdays: June 14, 21, and 28 and July 5, 12, and 19. You’ll need a copy of At Home in the World and a notebook or laptop. Our meeting time will be 6:30 p.m. to 8:15 at my home, 4514 Chouteau Avenue in Forest Park Southeast (63110).
Tuition is $135.00. An on-line class will also be available for those interested ($75.00). Email me if you want to join us: email@example.com.
I first read this in August 2005, a seed
Dear Layla came out in 2015, fruit
That is why I want to use short chapters, each with verselike heading, and very many such chapters; slowly, deeply, moodily unfolding the moody story and its long outreaching voyage into strange space. And to run up a pace of such short chapters till they are like a string of pearls. Not a river-like novel; but a novel like poetry, or rather, a narrative poem, an epos in mosaic, a Kind of Arabesque preoccupation…free to wander from the laws of the “novel” as laid down by Austens and Fieldings into an area of greater spiritual pith (which cannot be reached without this technical device, for me, anyway) where the Wm. Blakes and Melvilles and even spotty, short-chaptered Celine, dwell.
Jack Kerouac, Windblown World:Journals 1947-1951, edited by Douglas Brinkley
Peace and harmony appear so closely woven in every cell of her being that the spirits of darkness would search in vain for a loophole.
–Melita Maschmann, Encountering Bliss: My Journey through India with Ānandamayī Mā
My PhD was in the area of Religion and Society, sociology religion and social ethics, at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Previously, as Master’s student at the Maryknoll School of Theology, I studied with Venezuelan sociologist Otto Maduro, who had written a sociology of Latin American religion employing ideas from Pierre Bourdieu. It was an exhilarating study which made sense of that part of the Catholic Church that had been making a preferential option for the poor.
Over the last several years, I’ve read several works on the life and influence of the Bengali spiritual force, Sri Anandamayi Ma. I was delighted to read a new book by Orianne Aymard, who employs theorists like Bourdieu, Jurgen Habermas, and Max Weber to make sense of how a community and institution continue after the death of the charismatic leader. Her title reveals the stakes of this inquiry: When a Goddess Dies: Worshipping Ma Anandamayi after Her Death (Oxford University Press, 2014). The author investigate topics like the postmortem cult of the guru, the significance of relics, the meanings of the guru’s death, dreams and visions of the guru after death, and the future of the cult, given the struggle over the monopoly of religious power.
Dr. Aymard interviewed devotees, both Indian and Western, old-timers and new enthusiasts, and I found fascinating what they had to say about her. Here is a small sample: Read the rest of this entry »
Last September, Brendan, and Jen, friends whom I had in Social Justice class years ago at SLU, told me that he had been diagnosed with malignant metastatic melanoma. The other day, Jen sent me the following text: “We just found out that Brendan’s full body CT scan done on Tuesday was normal—so no signs of cancer 12 weeks into treatment and 6 months after his surgery!”