‘Courage begins only when you can no longer see the shore’ claims the old maritime proverb. Indeed, the familiar world and the comforting shores have certainly disappeared from our sight over the past two years – lockdowns , a loss of community and social gatherings, uncertainty, wonderment at a world suddenly unfamiliar and fragile, everything skidding to a halt.
I have been revisiting Sri Chinmoy’s consoling book ‘Yoga and the Spiritual Life,’ which shares with us deeper insights into our changing world, and speaks of a higher force entering in to the earth consciousness that will encourage and enable an evolutionary jump in the whole inner and outer life of mankind. He talks of a new light that is dawning, a light that will finally dispel all the ‘thick clouds that have gathered’.
In our spiritual life here with the Sri Chinmoy Centre, there have been many new initiatives spurred by this time of change, some wonderful adaptations where we see an irrepressible spirit of optimism finding new ways of expression. To mention a few, our nationwide and global torch relay, the Peace Run, has visited many towns in the North and South Islands; we’ve had public fun runs each month; humanitarian aid efforts have been initiated to support the people of Timor-Leste after their recent hurricane; we’ve had many meditation classes both online and in small permitted gatherings; and we’ve shared inspirational aphorisms on the theme of peace in over 500 retail shops and outlets nationally.
Challenges and obstacles always strengthen us and help us to grow. With the world slowly opening up again to travel, and despite our August current lockdown, we should celebrate the many positives and new possibilities that living in a difficult world bring, and enjoy our journeying onward across the uncharted seas, far from the comforting shores and the old familiars. Or to return to our seagoing imagery: ‘A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for’.