Tuesday, May 6th, 2008 - Moundsville, West Virginia
It was the final day for meetings before devotional colleagues would be dispersing to their individual geographical areas of service. I decided not to go on an outdoor walk while chanting but to soak in the power of concentrated monks intensely chanting in the sanctuary or temple room together. This collective effort is potent.
Our final session involved establishing our personal Codes of Conduct during future meetings and to facilitate this session were two members of our order who were expert at team building and problem solving. Brahma Tirtha (aka Harvey Cohen from the book “Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers”) and Braja Bihari are masters at bringing out the best from group dynamics. Braja Bihari is the “Ombudsman” for our world organization. I had suggested to the group that when there is a small disagreement (or a large one) between two parties or people, that two people out of the group could act as mediators and hence, establish an “Om Buddy System”. I wasn’t being factitious. It was well taken.
In the evening I was slotted to speak about pilgrim walking to resident and visiting folds at the New Vrndavana community. Some people became inspired to aspire for the more simple mode of life. In fact one chap from Illinois, Matthew, decided to cut off his dreadlocks and shave up after the talk. This was an unofficial gesture and involved no ritual, but he did come one step closer to monk-hood.
The fellow who shaved him, Lotus, had secured a new pet. A local cat chased a possum and during the ordeal, dropped a baby from the litter. Lotus now holds her as a pet. At least for now he is keeping her in the ashram, perhaps until the ashram authorities find out. We inspected the baby rodent and as far as we could tell, it’s a girl. I suggested we name her “Laksmi” which means “the goddess of fortune”.