Since my move to Uttaraloka, I am planning to write a short note every two weeks to my friends.
A lot has happened over the last month. I was already somewhat anxious about getting my narrowboat in order and other things sorted out before moving to Uttaraloka in Spain, but then, while visiting Prakasha four weeks ago, I heard that Maniraja had collapsed and died. Within 48 hours I was flying out to Guhyaloka and the next week was busy sorting out some of his affairs, including the cremation and ceremony, which all went very well – mainly because of the efficiency of Graeme with help from Moksananda who went to Guhyaloka from Valencia immediately on hearing the news. An Ordination course was also starting that week. Maniraja was to be on the team leading the retreat so somewhat fortunately the community were all set up for him being away and the work provided a much needed focus, because they were all deeply shocked and disturbed. A week later I flew back to the UK, sorted out my boat at it’s mooring in Ellesmere, visited the doctor for a routine check up and after a day in Bristol I drove to Plymouth to catch the ferry to Santander and a drive down though Spain to Valencia for a day with Moksananda before arriving at Uttaraloka a little over a week ago.
I’ve spent the week with the community and in settling myself into my new home – including a long drive to IKEA to get some furniture!
I have felt deeply unsettled over this last month. Partly because of the tragic loss of a friend who was at the pinnacle of his life; partly because of the responsibility that will fall on me as the only real possibility for a temporary chairman of Guhyaloka (this was not my plan for the future and the inner pressure to live a more hermit like life is clearly in conflict with the demands of a chairman); and partly because, although I am very much aware of my own death anyway, Maniraja’s death has brought it very much to the fore. So, yes deeply unsettled is how I feel; although today, in Uttaraloka’s magical shrine room, I did feel the glimmer of a more settled contentment.
I am planning to be on the three-month retreat although I will have to spend some time each week with the Guhyaloka community, deal with some financial and legal issues on the coast, and go to some meetings about my residency. However I hope to have as much of a retreat as possible.