Article – ‘Reflections on the Gift that is The Sangha’ – The Bede Griffiths Sangha Newsletter Summer 2020
My article ‘Reflections on the Gift that is the Sangha’ features in ‘The Bede Griffiths Sangha Newsletter’ – Summer 2020.
Also featured is an image I drew whilst sitting on the step of Father Bede’s hut during my visit to Saccindananda Ashram – Shantivanam, India, in February this year.
Sitting on the gently rippling edge of the shore I see the sun resting upon the horizon.
Its white light rippling out across the sea, the waves, the blue-green swells to reach me.
Rippling deep into my heart, white-bright.
Reenergising, revitalising, illuminating, loving, warm, nurturing breath.
Filling my lungs, my body, my heart, my mind.
Expanding me beyond my borders.
I breathe out my love, towards the sun, across the rippling sea,
sending all of me with it;
a gift to the beloved light.
The movement of the inbreath and outbreath,
our essence in time,
held delicately upon the lapping silence of the shore.
One heart to another within the silence.
That place, that silent space, that pause in movement,
holding the motion of the cycling love,
the cycling breath,
is the cradling shore.
This place of unfurling acceptance,
lapped by the motion of the ocean,
holds us as this love-light breath swoops and eddies within and beyond the expanse of the forming and reforming waves.
The silent sand-nest holds us in our merging with the horizon.
It is upon that shore that we are illuminated, expand, connect, grow, and are held in the silence of love. It is a safe place to ‘be’. And that shore, that silent place of nurturing, alone or side by side, is the precious essence of the Sangha. Beyond definition and articulation. That space on the sand to come, go, and ‘be’ at One; together and alone. Without identification, or label, there is belonging in the non-belonging. A togetherness in the non-identification with the togetherness. Without articulation of what it is, you sense and immerse yourself in the loving presence of what it truly Is…
The Sangha, in its simplicity, is the sandy shore upon which we sit, which gently holds the space for the eternal presence. The sand to sit upon and rest a while, to be nourished by the flow, the inbreath and outbreath of being, over and through the ocean, from the sun.
It is the same gentle holding of space which I experienced earlier in the year during my precious visit to Shantivanam.
Shantivanam, a place that gently holds us in that same bright eternal presence, allowing the inbreath outbreath flow of Love to warm and nourish us.
A place to stop for a while.
Together and alone.
It is not about clinging to the space, owning, labelling, or holding on to it.
They both are shores we can swim out from and return to, whilst growing in our own ways from the warmth of the sun.
Neither try to own or dictate the swells of the sea, the movement of the winds in the sky, or the caressing of the sun. Both are places of stillness; for everyone.
The presence of love radiating at the centre of the Sangha, the centre of Shantivanam, the centre of our hearts, is the same.
It is the gentle radiating Love of what ‘Is’. Pure, naked, and divine…
The Sangha, Shantivanam and our hearts are the shores upon which we sit and smile into the sunshine. Through friendship and relationship, by belonging without belonging, within silent alone togetherness, we are unified in the Love-light presence within and beyond them all.
A shore needs only to be a shore.
We, and God, will do the rest…