The Ashram is officially open! Come visit us in world any time. Below you can read the speech that I gave after the guided meditation. Our opening address:
First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for coming and showing their interest and support today! None of this would be possible without each and every one of you. A special thank you must be given to Sunshine, Swami, Rhia, and Lyle for all of their amazing work and support in making this beautiful sim come to life.
I’m going to try to make this speech as short as I can. I know how much we all want to get to the food and dancing! But, I’d like to share with you a bit of what we’re about.
I am a yoga teacher in real life, and the community that grew between the people in the training inspired me to pursue deep, raw, and pure relationships in all aspects of my life. Over the years, SL has been a big part of life for me. I’ve been able to meet the most amazing people here and form some of the strongest bonds with people from all over the world. Despite our cultural differences, the distance between us, and our philosophical or religious beliefs, we were still able to connect with each other. This is what I’m looking to provide here; a space to learn from each other in a supportive and caring environment and community.
There is a quote from Osho that I’ve always held true to my heart. It goes like this:
“My whole teaching consists on two words, “meditation” and “love”. Meditate so that you can feel immense silence, and love so that your life can become a song, a dance, a celebration. You will have to move between the two, and if you can move easily, if you can move without an effort, you have learnt the greatest thing in life.”
I built this ashram with the purpose of having a space for these two concepts – meditation and love – to grow. Both of these things take effort to start, which can also be considered action (even non-action is a form of action). All action is composed of four things: intention, awareness, method, and manifestation. We must have the intent to pursue something, an awareness of what exactly that something consists of, a method of how to do it, and finally we will be able to manifest it.
For instance, you want to have tea. Your intention is just that, wanting tea. The awareness will be of what sort of tea and when, these sorts of things. The method is standing out of your chair, going to the kitchen, boiling the water, picking the tea, pouring the water, etc. The manifestation is when you actually follow through with this action.
You may or may not know that the word ‘karma’ literally means ‘action’. Many people think of karma as a factor of fate, or determinism. But, really, karma is creative. It is unbounded. The common interpretation is when someone has something bad happen, we call it “bad karma.” But this interpretation of karma is misunderstood. Karma is really human action composed of the four things I mentioned before. It does not control us. In fact, we control it with intention, whether consciously or subconsciously. When we utilize action (and remember, even non-action is a form of action), we are influencing karma.
The term ‘ashram’, which comes from the sanskrit root ‘srama’, means “giving the meaning of making an effort towards liberation (moksha).” Liberation, in some schools of thought, is liberation from the cycle of karma and dukkha, otherwise known as the cycle of suffering. At this ashram we ask you to invite into your life what you want to share with others as well as yourself since we are all connected. If any one of us suffers, all the rest of us suffer. It is through positive, intentional action which we are able to change our perspectives and lessen our suffering. I strongly feel that as a community, we can provide the support and friendship that we all wish for along our journey. And, because of our amazing diversity, there may be something for everyone.
The name of the ashram is Citta Bhavana, meaning ‘cultivating heart/mind.’ Bhavana on it’s own means ‘spiritual cultivation.’
All the events here are organized to support this inner growth in some way or other, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, discussions, dances, music, ritual etc. Our hosts and guests come from many traditions from around the world, and are not limited to one path or another. Instead, we believe that all paths are useful and that each person will find meaning in different perspectives. All things offered here invite you to examine your self and those around you rather than telling you how things should be.
All of us come from other communities in SL, some of whom have regular events. We are not here to replace them, but rather to supplement them. You may notice on our calendar we list some events from other communities. We do this so that all of our hosts are aware of events they should not overlap with, so all of our communities can exist together in harmony. All of us here believe that each individual follows their own unique path through life, and we hope to provide space for that to flourish even more.
There are a few main areas around the sim for you to explore. Lyle was kind enough to build this beautiful waterfall for us (huge thank you!)! This is the Music and Gallery Area, where we will have regular world-music events and an art gallery. If any of you are artists who would like to take part in the gallery please contact myself or Sunshine for details. There is a forest campsite meeting area, where Rhia and various others will host philosophical dialogues. Swami has a beautiful skybox set up with a library, a video screen, and a stage for performers. And up the hill you may be able to see the big building. That is the main ashram building, with space for meditation and yoga, casual discussions and many other things. Please feel free to have a look around at your own convenience.
The next thing I wanted to share with you is our private skyboxes. We have six skyboxes set up which you can rent free of charge at the main landing point. They are intended for those of us who are homeless and need a place to change or relax or whatever it is you want to do. The very last thing I will take your time with is our events for the next week. We have at least one event planned for every day this coming week. Sunday we have the beautiful and talented Sandia Beaumont playing her piano for us at 3:30pmSLT. Monday, Swami is starting a four day series on “Reflections of South Asian Spirituality” at 10amSLT (same time every day); as well as Rhia’s discussion on the Nature of Faith at 2:30pmSLT. Sunshine will play a dharma talk over the stream on Tuesday at 12pmSLT.
Unfortunately, my RL has demanded my attention this week so I won’t be around for all of these, but any of them will be here to answer any questions and act as hosts. I have complete faith in their abilities to manage this place while I am away.
You can join the group “Creativity; Karma” for notices.
You can find our calendar on the blog which I posted in local chat.
Once again, thank you all so much for your support today and hopefully for many more to come! There is pie by the deck, as well as games and activities scattered around the fire. I will be walking around with tea so please feel free to grab one off the tray if you’d like.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu…May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Namaste _/\_ Thank you.