I haven’t visited SRSG since the pandemic began. It feels like such a long time ago, but also like I never left. While I haven’t been able to gaze at your face, or touch your hand, you and our Tradition have been a source of guidance, love and support every day.

I don’t really understand a lot of what happens in my own life, let alone the machinations of our complex world. I have learned through the Tradition that these circumstances and the difficulties I have with them directly accord with my karma and capacity. And I can rest in this knowledge when seemingly impossible challenges arise. The Tradition has also given me the tools of the eight limbs and the wisdom, experience, presence, examples, and companionship of all of you to help me live a meaningful life. I make lots of mistakes and get many, many things wrong, but the Tradition and our community never fail me.

One of the truly beautiful things to come from this pandemic and the isolation it has imposed is a heart lifting digital community. It has been a revelation how far our Tradition extends. I have started to see its branches and connections and the rich reservoirs of knowledge and guidance that they offer. I get to see you and hear you from all over the world. Just like when spending time at SRSG, meaningful connections occur, when we all have the time and exposure to deepen our practices together.

Knowing you, stories from far away have become much more important to me because they affect you and your home. I marvel over the photos and stories you share on online and read books and watch movies set in your country, because I think you are wonderful and interesting, and I want to understand you and your life more. In this way I learn more of the beauty and details of your life. It has also made me a devoted consumer of international news.

I guess news, by its nature, is negative and I learn of desperate situations, the pandemic, turmoil, war, climate change, natural disasters and the brutality and ignorance of humanity. I know that there are lies and propaganda that I don’t understand and know that I will never know the truth of these situations. I also realise that there are so many layers, and such complexity to these troubles, that maybe there is no possibility of truth. But I also know that you are there. I know that you live in these places and just like me you are living your karma and practicing to the best of your capacity. You are working the eight limbs; using the yamas and niyamas to guide you.

I am content and cosy here in our Tradition with you. But sometimes in pursuing the tenets of our Tradition I rub up against other traditions both within the teachings of our Tradition and in my daily life as I endeavour to grow my spirituality in my physical home far away from the heartland. I can begin to see the value and beauty of other Traditions and how they help and guide their adherents.  I realise how similar the foundations of their teachings are to ours. I know that in their lives, in their places, they are also practicing their Traditions’ versions of the eight limbs and, just like me, relying on their cohort for love, guidance and community.

So, while I have missed SRSG and the beautiful souls who live and visit there. I have learned a lot in my time away. Our Tradition and you, my kalyana mitras, are all still here and everywhere. A source of joy and richness in my life, and a blessed place of refuge and succour during life’s storms. With this new perspective, my mind’s eye conjures a vast web of souls guided by spiritual traditions plodding away striving for good and diminishing evil, increasing in influence whilst growing and strengthening the kindness, love, and compassion of the mindfield.

May the force be with us my dears 😉

Editor’s Note:

Joanne Moran from Australia is an initiate and a level-2 HYT-TTP student.