Yesterday, Sat October 1st, we concluded the farm supper season at Ananda, with a final hurrah, a four course farm feast. A mixture of roots (turnips, beets, carrots, potatoes, leeks), leafs (Kale and Basil), Flowers (in the form of brocolli fritters), and fruits (tomatoes, apples, pumpkins, and cucumbers). It’s always fun to welcome friends and newcomers to the farm, and especially to feed them.
The supper yesterday was especially sweet, as the seasonal transition forced us to reinvent the backyard summer suppers into the cozy confines of Haven House, candle lit, with about 35 guests and 10 or more farm residents and friends.
Paean serenaded us with her violin, and then the rest of the farmily joined her for a song to the Source – Door of My Heart. We even had the joy of the birthday song and pie, for our own Swami Hrimananda. I couldn’t help but notice as the hour passed 7, the typical departure time, nary a visitor did lift from their seat. These were each exceptional moments, all contributing to a communal warmth and feeling of harmony.
In between down pours, the sky even parted for the arrival of guests around 330, and then again around 6 for a fresh-air farm walk prior to the apple and pumpkin pie presentation. It’s during these walks that we often have the opportunity to share and experience the farm, some of it’s philosophy and practices.
Earlier this week, in preparing for a class, I opened Autobiography of a Yogi (as many a devotee has been known to do), hoping that in my search the Master himself would grant the perfect seed thought to sow in class that night. Well, it didn’t work quite like that, but it did drop a seed for another day. And that seed now helps me to see something beautiful growing in the gardens of Ananda farm.
In the story I opened to, Yogananda tells of the life-long blessing he receives after serving at his first winter solstice festival with his Guru, Sri Yukteswar Giri. Though subtle in revealing his own role in preparing for the event, he does share Sri Yukteswar’s sentiment afterwards, when he tells his disciple: “Tonight you have conquered the fear of fatigue and hardwork; you shall never be bothered by them in the future.” An incredible blessing, indeed
With this thought already percolating, it had many opportunities to resurface in the observation of a subtle and unspoken harmony which seemed to permeate the environment at the farm leading up to our own final ‘festival’ of the season. I noticed how every resident, and every friend who joined to help, remained joyfully focused throughout preparations, during the event, and to put back the pieces! How fluidly each and all communicated and worked with each other – without the need for excessive meetings and discussions, how each person could simply take on different aspects of what needed to be done, and see it through. This is, in fact, an incredible, regularly occurring phenomenon at the farm, be it for the bi-weekly prana mix, or the willingness to head to the market and mingle. The willingness to serve together, and strive to all do our best to help Ananda Farm grow.
In reflecting on Sri Yukteswar’s statement to Yogananda, I feel how those same blessings grow in the time and space of this farm. How when we choose to work together, without fear or concern for what could go wrong, or all that I might have to do, we can in fact experience our own moments of conquering the great delusions of fatigue and fear of hardwork.
More so than any awareness (or lack) of fear or fatigue yesterday, is the awareness of an intrinsic harmony in the people and life, that live and serve and grow here. Everyone contributed in a significant way, and did so with joy. This is both notable and inspiring, in a world that often feels to be spiraling into greater disharmony with each passing season.
When we take the farm walks, one of the greatest opportunities for each person is to feel harmony with the activities of the farm and life around us. So often in our busy lives, in cities, and superstores, we forget our connection to life, and don’t feel our inner harmony with it, much less with each other.
Gandhi’s first principal of natural farming states “Harmonious coexistence for mutual benefit.”
Sri Yukteswar told Yogananda, “God is Harmony.”
Yesterday, as I experienced the smiles, comradery, and service of the farm family, I felt the greatest harvest of the farm to date: Harmony.
May peace and harmony grow within us all!