Letters from Ananda members, Part 28

Trust the Heart
Elizabeth Mason McConner

I planned to move to Ananda right at the time of the Bertolucci lawsuit. I knew very little of the details and background so landing in Ananda village just after the verdict came down I had a great deal of questioning going on. What I heard and read from the court case made me very uneasy. I wanted to be thorough and fair. I also wanted to live Yogananda’s teaching daily. After much searching and meditation, I made the decision to live there and completed my Ananda training. What I saw in the people who lived at the village made its own positive statement strongly enough that I decided to postpone my evaluation of Swami Kriyananda until I had met him personally. The loving calmness with which the Ananda residents handled the challenges that faced them was a testimony to what I hoped I could achieve in my own life. Clearly they were not buffeted about by what to me would have been devastating news, in fact they always looked for the lesson and the gift in each situation; I never heard a negative thing about any situation or any person, even those who persecuted them. They lived Master’s teaching that joy is within, not in external situations.

My training at Ananda helped me grow more than any personal growth program I have ever done—and believe me I had done many in my search for truth. Haunted by the words from the court case, confronted by the ardent appreciation of Swami Kriyananda by those who walked such a high road, I was forced to keep an open mind. It was nearly two years before I would meet Swami Kriyananda.

When I was about to meet Swami, I decided that I would go with my own heart’s feeling that I was beginning to trust after all the meditation I was doing. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular that he might say or do. What put my doubting Thomas mind at ease was the feeling of love he radiated and his deferring to Master as the real teacher. His words even about SRF were kind and uplifting. He was focused on a higher level of thinking than one would expect from the man described by the court case and by the Ananda Awareness Network. I decided that whether he had made mistakes or whether he had not—that was not the issue. He did not claim to be enlightened, yet there was no mistake about it—I COULD LEARN A GREAT DEAL FROM SWAMI KRIYANANDA. Already I had gained much through my association with this Ananda community that had been created and guided by Kriyananda’s sincere efforts and love for Master and the dedication of these devotees of Yogananda.

This opportunity to practice Master’s teachings on a daily basis was not available to me through SRF. Nor did I feel the warm and joy in my association with SRF. I am most grateful for Swami Kriyananda’s work in creating world brotherhood communities.

Elizabeth, a retired educator, lived at Ananda Village for nearly three years before marrying and moving to Tucson, where she teaches meditation and hosts an Ananda Meditation group.