By Kevin Maloney, Ashram Business Manager
We had our Grand Opening at Lokananda, our renovated 130-year-old building, on September 12th. The event went very well, with a steady flow of traffic through the day. Some people who had a lot of yoga experience came in, and some came in with no yoga experience. People who were what I would call “seekers” came in, and people who said they had no idea why they stopped in just decided to open the door and enter. It was certainly an event of community and diversity.
During the event, one woman said she suffered from PTSD. Swamiji sat with her and told her what a great accomplishment it is that she simply survived the first 35 years of her life. And then Swamiji indicated that perhaps there is a better way moving forward. As I observed all this, tears came to my eyes. These were not tears of sadness. While I could see the pain this woman was feeling, what touched me was the beauty of what was happening. Pain walked in the door and it found some relief and sanctuary at Downingtown Yoga. She became the first person to enroll in our new monthly membership.
As I drove home after the event, I thought about all you yoga and meditation teachers we train spread out over a large geographic area. I could see people in pain, or people who just know something is missing in their lives, walking in to find true relief from suffering. The experience I witnessed is a microcosm of a much larger effect that Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram has worldwide. There are many organizations that offer much needed relief including food, shelter, clothing, medicine, etc. That help is so important, yet it is temporary. What SVA provides is an opening for true transformation. By deeply looking within one can alter everything about their existence.
Being on the administrative staff at SVA is a challenge. Each staff member gets stretched to their limits. I have been in operational management for a couple decades, yet being the SVA Business Manager is certainly the most challenging position I have held. However, through the day-to-day flurry of activity, deadlines, staff issues, technical issues and the like, a gentle light keeps peeking through the chaos exposing the underlying current of Grace that flows through all we do. Many times it is hard to see that gentle light amidst the activity. Nevertheless, it is always there.
I personally feel very fortunate to spend my working hours at SVA. I came on board almost a half year ago. At that time I could have easily followed the money trail but I chose instead to jump on board here. Or it may be more appropriate to say that I was guided here and I simply allowed it to happen. If you are still and really look, usually you can see that what has brought you to the current moment has had meaning, no matter how it looked when it was actually happening!
The last thing I would like to mention is potential. The staff and DYMC now operate out of the beautiful first floor of the Lokanada building. I am amazed at how the efforts and generosity of so many have made this a reality, from nothing to reality in such a short time. As I look at the rest of this structure, the other levels of this building, all I see is potential. We do so much at SVA with the local community and with the Svaroopa® community at large. This building has the potential to serve the needs of students and teachers in so many ways. The rallying cry has gone out to realize the full potential of this building. I look forward to guiding the logistics and mechanics of the process. I look forward to helping realize the potential here.
So I join my voice to that of the SVA Board. Please give generously to our Capital Campaign to support the costs of refurbishing the building and to complete the renovations of the upper floors. You will be an instrument of Grace in creating comprehensive sacred space for so many others as well as for yourself as you participate in trainings, programs and retreats going forward. Donate as guided by your heartfelt desire to spread the transformative teachings and practices of Svaroopa® Sciences and the Grace they carry worldwide.