By Sister Anandra George

Frankly, it surprises me sometimes that many spiritual gatherings and ashrams are full of only those wise elders who already have a full head of grey hair.

Why don’t more young people choose the infinite abundance of the spiritual life, instead of the rat race of chasing after material things?

When I reflect on why I feel most at home in ashram life, though I’m only 40 years old and in the prime of my life, certainly it was only God’s grace that led me to the inward path. I was first commanded to come to Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram when I was 18 through a series of mystical inner events. It totally clarified the direction my life must take towards embodied enlightenment, and receiving the sight, the touch, and the words of my Sadguru sealed my fate to prioritize my spiritual path above all else. No matter how many experiences I’ve had in this big, glorious world – both exalting in service and rebelling in all of the typical ways of the aspirant on the journey – it’s clear that the inner infinite heart is my home, and all lovers of God anywhere, are my family.

Over the past 22 years I’ve lived in and observed many different spiritual communities around the world, and I’ve also had the opportunity to live through many rich experiences — from collaborating with Fortune 500 company executives, to solo trekking in the Montana wilderness, to sacred pilgrimage to the Great Pyramids in Egypt, to dancing all night on a beach in Hawaii under shooting stars, and more.

If I attempt to distill the lessons learned from these diverse experiences, it’s this:

I noticed a sense of endless grasping for temporary pleasures in the “normal” world, which turned me off. I also noticed a sense of endless grasping for external forms in “spiritual” communities, which also struck me as deeply discordant. Rarely did I find anyone who could model the integrity, balance, and radiance that I knew was possible.

So really, I had no choice but to look within, in order to fall in love with Love and live in abundant joy!

Keeping a balance between “worldly” and “spiritual” requires constant introspection with sharp discrimination. There are two things which I often remind myself of:

  1. There’s no difference between a worldly life and a spiritual life, except where you put your attention. (Ashram life can be just as distracting for the mind as worldly life; it can be just as full of politics, dramas and desires.)
  2. Actions motivated by celebration of the inner fullness and joy are very different from actions motivated by the desire to get inner fullness and joy from some external person, place, or thing (including a guru).

There’s no difference between a worldly life and a spiritual life, except where you put your attention.

When I really took to heart the message that; “My joy is God’s food”, I realized I had a sacred duty to follow my innermost heart, to follow it’s bliss. That inner voice has never led me astray. Whether I’m engaging in duties in the world or engaging in the ashram routines, my only regrets are when I act from my mind and not my heart.

To summarize, the spiritual life is FUN when I try to live my life simply from my heart! It’s a pleasure to be out of the box of religious, cultural, or organizational dogma and having a great time making my spiritual life my number one priority. The power of love is much, much too big to confine!

Now, a little love note about Mudennahalli…

The place has its share of every type of person, as all communities do, but there is a large pool of ignited souls that I feel true resonance with. Everyone has his/her own relationship with the drama being staged here, but personally that variety has always amused me rather than distracted me from the precious opportunity of being in satsang with soul family. We are all, in our own ways, transforming ourselves by diving deeper and deeper into doing the Divine work. The joy of service is palpable here, and it’s spreading like wildfire!

What I focus on is how deeply nourishing it is to be around a global community of changemakers who are surrendered to the subtle form that Love takes, however varied that expression might be. To me, this movement of Love as it expresses through each and every one of us, is nothing less than the dawn of the golden age.

Bring it on!