The thing about being back in Toronto, home-base, is that you are in the universe. The other day someone said it's a "corporate city" implying it has that kind of feel. Yet when you walk through the various neighbourhoods of Toronto which means "the meeting place" you will find a place that has many kinds of "feels". Being a highly multi-cultural urban place you can roam to College Street and feel Italian. Go to Danforth area and there's a Greek feel. Stroll near Dundas and Spadina and you're in China. Trek along a stretch of Eglinton and you're touching Israel. Keep going west and you're in the West Indies. There are areas of yuppies, boomers, zoomers and then there's Kensignton, a whole alternative community of the free-spirited. There are places of young executive singles, male and female and neighbourhoods of family friendly density. Such variegatedness! It's rather fun.
I would agree that anywhere you go in this city, like any urban monster, that there's a high degree if secular sensation and that the spiritual component could be more enhanced. On Sundays steepled buildings get visited and on the Sabbath, synagogues fill up while mosques get frequented on Fridays. Near our temple the First Nations Friendship Centre organizes its Pow Wows at various times. Again, it's rather fun. Unfortunately, the buzz of maya (illusion) tends to hum. It's dominant. It's just that these minor spurts of spiritual expression don't do enough to drown the domineering materialism. And it's the materialism, the "me" culture that takes a damaging toll on all of us. Just what can be done with the greed consumption all around us? Well, how about increasing the spiritual practices?
In one enclave of the GTA (the Greater Toronto Area) rests a group of Punjabi folks, who invited me down for kirtan chanting and also to inform them of the progress of the cross-nation walking. This we did. Such joy was felt! Such serenity!
Now, if city life, wherever it might be, could have an increased presence of spiritual practices, we could see healthy changes. In fact you won't have to feel like you're in the city, the country, or comfort zone but in a free experience. Kirtan, in particular, transports us to a world of liberation. We must increase this.