On the way to India in August of 1989, I spent ten days at our Himalayan Institute near Hamburg in West Germany. It is a center that has grown tremendously in less than ten years under the dynamic leadership of Wolfgang Bischoff. This time he had prepared 50 students to study with me, and the enjoyment of teaching was all mine.
One evening all the Ashram members – residents of the Institute – gathered at Wolfgang's house. One of the questions they asked was: "We came to live at this Institute ashram with the hope of studying, practicing meditation, and living peacefully; instead, we have to work hard day and night to keep the Institute growing. Why is that?"
I would like to share with you the answer the Guru Spirit put into my mouth at that moment:
"There is much ignorance, and no end to suffering on this planet. There are only a few saints and masters to alleviate it. Their work is at the scale of an entire planet. If it were not for them, humanity would have self-destructed long ago. In addition to what they do, do we also want them to come personally to all their offices and answer and organize beginning level classes? . . . . . . The word 'member' means a 'organ,’ a 'limb.’ It is in this sense that Christians are 'members of Christ.' We initiates are eyes, ears, hands and feet of the spiritual masters. This is as much as we can be, to share their burden; this is how we are part of their work. Their minds' strength and wisdom works through us, so we may help a few to make a start. When we view, or know, or remember, ourselves as members in the spiritual body of the masters, their life-force, their grace flows through us. Our own minds grow in that grace — only when we remember that in all our work, we are serving as ‘members,’ as 'organs,’ of that Spirit."
The next day I head that some residents of that ashram cried: "Oh how easily we forget that we are members in the spiritual body of the Guru Spirit, making a minor contribution to the Guru's planetary work!"
Did St. Peter rest? Did St. Paul retire? I sometimes wonder what the retinue of St. Francis had to say.
I cannot forget how much suffering there is all around me in the world, and how few are capable of alleviating it through wisdom.
At one time I made bricks with my own hands to build an ashram and a school in an isolated community in South America. I still make bricks – somewhat differently now. Will you join me?
May you enjoy very sound sleep every night, after tiring you body in the service of others.