Venables Valley, British Columbia
The third day of our annual retreat for the last few years has been just that- a retreat treat repeated. The bulk of this sunshine day was touring the valley, walking, visiting homes, viewing the sun artichoke crops and examining the water system which brings down good clean H2O from a snow fed stream. Water is a problem here if you want to set up permanent camp. We are looking at the driest part of Canada. “Where there is a will , there is a way”, Is the motto that keeps residents going at Saranagati and it’s their determination that sees them through such challenges.
I must say to you that nothing beats good company. As the great 15th century avatar Chaitanya stressed sadhu sanga, associate with saints. Well you get that here. For an hour session our peer group sat in a circle with a talking stick Only the person holding the stick which is a native tradition, could be an eagles feather, gets a chance to speak. A two minute timeline is allotted for saying something relevant to the topic chosen today as “connectedness to the spirit”
The method works well as it allows for the reserved- type of people to speak and disciplines those who speak in overdrive. Once the stick has passed through one revolution then it is repeated until one expires the topic. Basically the members of the group expressed their realizations and the idea is to stay on topic.
The evening program at the established ISKCON center drew residents from the valley. My dear friend from Windsor, Halasa Mayi and her husband, a muslim, taking interest in the consciousness for Krishna. And since it is October, the vedic calendar registers this time of the year for Damodar, a highly surcharged time of the year for spiritual introspection.
As the sun descends all sits well in the valley of devotees. Despite all the calmness my regular restlessness grips me for the night. I have come to accept this companion of mine, Insomnia, and take him for a walk. He always encourages me to do additional trekking.