When I speak I never know how I will be received.

 Presenters of the Peace Symposium 2017. From left to right: Vikram Zutchi, Phil Goldberg, Richard Miller, Anneke Lucas, Elaine Valdez.

Presenters of the Peace Symposium 2017. From left to right: Vikram Zutchi, Phil Goldberg, Richard Miller, Anneke Lucas, Elaine Valdez.

Saying goodbye for now to Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, a new place to call home with a beautiful, loving family awaiting. When I speak I never know how I will be received. I expected I might be asked to leave or ignored afterwards, because my story and the harsh truths it reveals is often hard to swallow. In the talk I also mentioned that I was once touched inappropriately by one of the Indian gurus who is highly revered in the West. But most controversial I believed was the suggestion that we are all carry responsibility for the current chaos and upheaval in the world. Anyone who spiritually bypasses will take offense with that statement. The spiritual revolution is not complete, because we have not done our own work of balancing feeling with rationality. We don't understand psychopathy because psychopaths are very rational, and use their intelligence to justify their insanity. We can't reach full forgiveness if we look at people as monsters, including the psychopaths who run the world and murder children. They are emotional infants, and for us to recognize that, requires that we recognize all the ways in which our own younger parts reveal themselves throughout the day, in thoughts or actions that are not calm, compassionate, centered and with curiosity. With the help of our adult self or another safe person, we can allow those young parts, still frozen in time and space in the moment their life was threatened when a caregiver was abusive, neglectful, hurtful or insensitive, to move through the range of repressed feelings and thus heal - grow up. Psychopaths have no access to this work at all; they are as banned from themselves. That feeling work expands consciousness, and it simultaneously is spiritual as it brings us in, towards truth and love, instead of outward, towards the material world away from spirit. The reception of my talk was as beautiful as a flower opening its petals. The love and enthusiasm were everywhere, from the monastics, ashram residents, yoga teacher trainees, and visitors. My fellow presenters offered silent and verbal support, and throughout the week I felt blessings pouring out from the gurus. Pictured in the first group shot are, from left, organizer/presenter Vikram Zutshi, presenter Phil GoldbergRichard MillerAnneke Lucas and Elaine Valdov, and in the other group shot on left Jeffery Long. On the altar, photos from left of Swami Sivananda, Shankaracharya, and Swami Vishnudevananda, the inspiration for this peace symposium. He says: "Just look into this world; where is there peace? Why is there no peace outside? Because we don't have peace inside. That is the problem."

M Becker