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There is not a single difficulty
That is not followed
By relief-hands.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 21, 2001.

Talk and act
From the heart
Of your generosity.
Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 83, 1984.

I fell in love with Japan when I visited there a few years ago and my thoughts and prayers are there now as the world responds to the Japan Honshu Earthquake, Tsunami and the nuclear reactor crisis.

While people from many nations valiantly struggle to assist in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, the whole world also comes together in unity and sympathy with prayers for survivors and those who perished.

One place to virtually “gather” to say a prayer and light a candle for Japan is located at the website Gratefulness.org. Over 11 million candles have been lit there since it began ten years ago and right now there is a group where candles are being lit for the people of Japan.

Sri Chinmoy (my meditation teacher) wrote many books on spirituality which include poems, essays and questions and answers offering insight into the quest for solace in times of hardship and suffering.

In an interview with someone from the Russian Tass News Agency in 1999, Sri Chinmoy discussed the impact of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and part of his answer follows:

Your country has suffered tremendously, and it breaks my heart because, as I said before, I am a seeker. As a seeker, I pray not only for myself but also for all of humanity. On the strength of my oneness with all human beings, I suffer. I am an Indian; I come from Bengal. But for me there is only one country, and that country is the country of our heart. In my heart-country, you are there, she is there, everybody is there—each and every human being. When I say you are my brother, I mean it. When I say she is my sister, I mean it. The heart is oneness. The mind is division. As soon as I think of you, my mind tells me that you come from another country. But in my heart you are absolutely, inseparably one with me.

God is our Father, God is our Mother, God is everything to us. If we claim the Creator as our own, very own, we are bound to claim the creation—which includes each one of us—as our own, very own.

I wish to tell you not to look behind. Let us look forward. The destination is right in front of us, not behind. The past has not given us satisfaction. Anything that has not given us satisfaction, anything that has not fulfilled us, is not the answer. The answer comes from our inner awakening, inner illumination, inner perfection. Once we get inner illumination and inner perfection, then our outer life becomes a life of satisfaction.

Suffering there is. But if we think all the time of how much we have suffered, it is not going to serve any purpose. We have to look for light, we have to look for love and the feeling of oneness so that we do not make the same mistake and we do not suffer again.

Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 18, Agni Press, 1999.

To pursue that “inner awakening, inner illumination, inner perfection” of which Sri Chinmoy speaks to as the foundation of our existence that resides outside of joy and suffering, I try to deepen my meditations.  I have been drawn inward to intensify my spiritual life and have increased the time I spend in meditation each day.

My goal since the earthquake has been to meditate seven times a day but I have yet to actually reach that number quite yet. To this end I have been watching video footage of Sri Chinmoy meditating and giving a concert in Japan which can be found at a website called SriChinmoy.TV. I find a poignant relevance in watching video footage of  Sri Chinmoy meditating and performing in a peace concert in Japan while my thoughts are currently focused in this part of the world.

Source: Sri Chinmoy TV

Last but not least, I revisit Sri Chinmoy’s poems about hope quoted by New York Governor Paterson at a 9/11 memorial last September.  They beckon as a candle in the darkness whatever the circumstances.

Knows no fear.

Hope dares to blossom
Even inside the abysmal abyss.

Hope secretly feeds
And strengthens

-Sri Chinmoy