"Serious Daring" – Spring Message from the BMCM


Dear Friend,

The arrival of spring has a unique resonance this year, falling near the one-year anniversary of the pandemic.

While the losses and longings of the past year have been their own dark winter for people everywhere, the news has also brought the warmth and light of stories of selflessness. In our “internal news” — within Eknath Easwaran’s worldwide community — there has been much new growth and cause for inspiration as well. As one friend put it, “For so many of us, it has been a year that facilitated a lot of inner work, whether you felt ready for it or not! While my heart continues to grieve for all the losses, I’m also grateful for the transformation that came out of this year — not just for me, but for many.”

So as our daffodils and rhododendrons tell us spring is here, in many ways it feels like it has been both spring and winter all year long.

As we reflect on the last twelve extraordinary months, we thank you for your extraordinary support in response to them. We're deeply grateful for your daily efforts to add peace and kindness to the world, for your help in making our new online programs so rich and meaningful, for all your financial contributions, and for your prayers and mantrams. What a tremendous difference it has all made.

To mark the passing of a different kind of year, we have a different kind of message this time — and a little longer too. I’d like to share with you glimpses of how some of Easwaran’s students around the world have met the challenges of the pandemic, and then say a few words about how the BMCM is moving forward.

Serious Daring

“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.” — Eudora Welty

When this quote appeared in Sri Easwaran’s “Thought for the Day” years ago, who knew it would be brought to life by so many in the midst of a global health crisis? Over the past year, his readers shared with us how they were facing the tests of the times by turning to his wisdom:  

  • In the pandemic’s early days, a friend was dealing with a range of work and personal challenges, while learning how to do her job alone from home. “It reminds me of Easwaran’s description of weathering a stormy voyage across the sea to the U.S. The mantram can feel like the one solid thing you can cling to. I feel blessed because Easwaran is helping me get through a new challenge every day through the mantram, and then I can give even a tiny bit back to the world through being positive, helpful, kind, and peaceful.”
  • “I found the courage to face the extent of the environmental crisis and change several of my habits,” says a reader of our BMCM journal. “I finally watched some documentaries I’d been meaning to see, and they shocked me. The mantram is transforming grief and fear into positive action. In little change after little change, I find that trading in momentary convenience in exchange for the long-term good is surprisingly healing, freeing, and even joyful.”
  • “The pandemic actually helped me go inwards and realize the importance of a spiritual practice,” writes a friend from India on his way to the UK for graduate studies. For others who had been thinking about starting a practice for years and then suddenly found themselves with abundant free time, meditating felt “now or never.” A gentleman in his seventies who was able to establish a regular practice writes, “I'm so excited to start my journey.”
  • “COVID taught me that we really have become one world in many ways. It also showed me in unmistakable terms how parts of my community were affected very differently,” says a friend. “It pushed our eyes open and broke our hearts open, and Easwaran’s words on the unity of life were right there, reverberating in a new and very personal way for me.”

From longtime meditator Kevin (r.) in Japan: The pandemic has taken a toll on his business, but it also gave him a precious opportunity, when his college-age kids returned home. “Though business may be difficult, having this opportunity to slow down and spend more time with the family have been blessings,” he says. “I feel fortunate to have found Sri Easwaran 21 years ago, and every day there is inspiration in his messages and books. The benefits of meditation and the allied disciplines have been huge factors in helping me cope and in turn assist others both at home and in the office.”

  • When lockdown intensified the “rubbing off of angles and corners” in her multi-family household, a longtime meditator responded with humility, a sense of humor, and the security of her own good intentions. During a household meeting,“Feelings were running high,” she says. “I was calm but my usual approach to peacemaking was apparently not helpful.” After getting negative feedback from one person, she invited the rest of the household to share theirs. Two other people echoed the same feedback. “I took that in and thought, ‘Huh, I guess this is something I need to work on!’” she remembers with a laugh. “Ten years ago I probably would have had a different response.” Her open efforts to change her approach helped diffuse the tension. “Ultimately, thanks to everyone’s efforts, it worked out well.”
  • “A dear friend passed away in a care home, and I couldn’t visit her to say goodbye,” writes a longtime student of Easwaran's. “I’ll be forever grateful that I had the mantram to hold on to and send my love to her, spirit to spirit. Instead of my mind churning continuously on something I couldn’t change, I found some comfort and peace. I hope my mantrams helped her. I know they helped me.”
  • Before the pandemic, a passionate elementary school principal in the Midwest was in a period of discernment, wondering how to change her life to make the greatest possible contribution. Then came a year like no other, which kept her turning to Easwaran and drawing deeper than ever on her meditation practice. “Now I know,” she says, "I'm exactly where I need to be.”
  • In a California emergency room, a nurse meets an intensified need for moment-to-moment vigilance by drawing on decades of training her attention. While concentrating in meditation has felt especially challenging this year, she experiences the daily benefits nonetheless. “I think the words of the passages have penetrated me, as I do ‘feel others’ sorrow as my own.’ That’s a huge thing in my line of work.” During intense times at the hospital, she says, the most helpful passage was “Unshakable Faith.” “I’d just repeat it to myself over and over before shifts, when I didn’t know what I was going to encounter that night. I’d get to the part about being ‘cheerful, peaceful, and blissful’ — and it was pretty hard sometimes to feel that! But that’s your gift to the people around you.” Easwaran’s teachings are a lifeline for her, helping her be part of a lifeline for others. “My heart is full of joy when I think of you and our beloved teacher. I’m so grateful for BMCM Satsang Live,” she says, “It has been my light every week.”

Moving Forward

Throughout this year, we’ve been blessed by the continuing daily presence of Christine, and by all the wisdom she has gained over 100 winters and 99 springs. Here she is last week, smiling at you from her front porch, holding Easwaran’s favorite daffodils.

Her unfailing commitment to her meditation practice, to Easwaran’s work, and to everyone who responds to him is a guiding light of Ramagiri Ashram and the BMCM. In the midst of tumultuous times, our spiritual schedule hasn’t skipped a beat, and neither has she. We’re thrilled that she is still going strong to celebrate this 60th anniversary year of the organization she helped found.

As the BMCM navigates these uncertain times, we remain firmly rooted — in Easwaran’s timeless wisdom, the enduring foundational principles that Christine has established, and a deep commitment to fulfill our mission while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Our decisions and pathway forward will also be guided by our strategic choices to continue to “simplify, get sustainable, and go deep.”

Every day, we are full of gratitude to everyone who is saving lives by helping to control COVID-19’s spread and severity. We have well-founded hope that things will change soon, yet we are not naive enough to think that “winter” is over. Global crises are with us. But what a beautiful, powerful spring. We can all keep it going together.

And it will always be the season for serious daring. “Mastering the mind is an adventure that should appeal to anyone with daring who wants to make a contribution to life,” says Easwaran. Thank you for being part of that adventure, and for all your contributions to a brighter world. They have never felt more important.

With all our mantrams and best wishes,

David Bishop