Thursday, 15 September 2022

Friday, September 9, 2022

Moundsville, West Virginia

On the Way to Betterment

The air was still and most comfortable as twelve of us were inside our Toronto ashram, when two chubby raccoons were milling around looking for food. By the time we got outside, loading our vehicle with weekend backpacks, destined for West Virginia, we saw a coyote racing down our street. He was on a similar program as the chubby ones – where is the food?

Generally, you find hungry gatherers and hunters busy in the dark but our purpose in being up so early, 4:45 am, was for yoga and a journey, a seven-hour drive to the Appalachians and then New Vrindavan; a spiritual oasis for a MANtra retreat.

Things were cool at the border and we were relieved at the lack of traffic jamming. That being so because we left early.

With our destination reached it became catch-up time. The theme “Together Again” was most appropriate due to the human separation of the last two “virus years.” The evening program was an actual sangha or gathering of the best comrades on the spiritual path. We chanted and walked up to the hill of the Palace of Gold, followed by a bonfire outside where we reflected on memories of our guru, Prabhupada.

Topics for discussion on this men’s retreat are just exhilarating and this evening’s presentation was by Venkata Bhatta on an interesting subject, “Strong and Silent: Healing toxic Masculinity in Devotional Communities.” That was powerful and addressed the disrespect often shown by males to females within the context of a devotional environment.

May the source be with you!

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