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To Arpan Re: Leadership qualifications (Like water)

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  • sharani_sharani
    Dear Arpan, Thanks for sharing this selection with us. I have not read this particular book. Your post prompts a reply from me because my overwhelming reaction
    Message 1 of 57 , Mar 29 7:02 AM
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      Dear Arpan,

      Thanks for sharing this selection with us. I have not read this
      particular book. Your post prompts a reply from me because my
      overwhelming reaction to the passages from the book is that they
      apply profoundly and accurately to you. I have been until now a
      silent chorus of agreement as others have so powerfully praised you.
      Now that you are going out of town for a bit, I want to take a
      moment to say that you will be sorely missed here in this forum.
      Your function reports have been nothing less than the delight that
      you called them. I still remember gratefully your selfless offering
      for us to share the experience on Radio Sri Chinmoy as you ran 3,100
      miles. And having been inspired and energized by your project
      leadership, I know it is a fact that you already live the wisdom in
      this book that you quoted. All of us are cheering you from the
      sidelines. As a send-off, I wish to share a poem I wrote in 1997
      which appeared in the book "One Spirit: A Journey to the Heart of
      America." Its message is definitely meant for you and for all the
      other hard-working runners and support crew!


      When the weary rest
      and the pundits preach
      When the clouds hover
      with sorrow
      to teach
      You yoke sacrifice to vision
      and borrow tomorrow
      today
      You trade suffering
      for splendor
      and fly to the sky
      You serve God in man
      with Peace -
      the very iris
      of your eye

      Bon Voyage!
      Sharani


      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, arpan_deangelo
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      >
      > This post about leadership qualifications follows the thread mainly
      > about the A.M. and the discussion about self-assessment and others'
      > comments and praise. In a few recent postings I and others have
      > commented on the great job the A.M. is doing, regardless of the fact
      > that the A.M. may feel that some people are displeased.
      >
      > Instead of adding my own judgements here again, I would like to
      quote
      > from a book called 'The Tao Of Leadership" by John Heider. It is an
      > adaptation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching applied to leadership. This
      > chapter is simply called 'Water'.
      >
      > "The wise leader is like water.
      > Consider water: water cleanses and refreshes all creatures without
      > distinction and without judgement; water feely and fearlessly goes
      > deep beneath the surface of things; water is fluid and responsive;
      > water follows the law freely.
      >
      > Consider the leader: the leader works in any setting without
      > complaint, with any person or issue that comes on the floor; the
      > leader acts so that all will benefit and serves well regardless of
      the
      > rate of pay; the leader speaks simply and honestly and intervenes in
      > order to shed light and create harmony.
      >
      > From watching the movements of water, the leader has learned that in
      > action, timing is everything.
      > Like water, the leader is yielding. Because the leader does not
      push,
      > the group does not resent or resist.
      >
      > ...The wise leader settles for good work and then lets others have
      the
      > floor. The leader does not take all the credit for what happens and
      > has no need for fame.
      > A moderate ego demonstrates wisdom."
      >
      > I think we could find many parallels in this description that fit
      the
      > A.M. of this inspirational and creative website. Even though many of
      > us contribute to this website regularly, I do not think we can
      really
      > grasp the intensity and depth of the moderator's job.
      >
      > In order to progress, a certain amount of self-criticism and
      > introspection is natural and necessary. So I do not feel that you,
      > dear A.M. are really expecting a 'change in leadership.'*
      > Your humility and 'moderate ego demonstrates your wisdom.'
      > I do not think you need me to tell you that either.
      >
      > Thank you again for tolerating some of us who may make you cringe at
      > times when we try to express something sublime in an inadequate or
      > naive fashion.
      > St. Francis once said, "Words, there once was a time that I believed
      > in words." Your actions speak louder than your or our words, so keep
      > up the good work and please continue helping us to keep up the good
      > work for a better world...even if our words do not always do justice
      > to what we all have in our hearts.
      >
      > Gratefully,
      > Arpan
      >
      >
      >
      > [*Thanks, Arpan. I do not even expect a change in underwear, but
      > change sometimes happens. :-) -Assistant Moderator]
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
      > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > I have not posted in far too long....but this message really made
      me
      > > want to respond. I am prompted by the Assistant Moderator's
      comments
      > > below:
      > >
      > > > how difficult it is for me to please all posters. I do think the
      > > > Inspiration group might benefit from a change in leadership.
      > > >
      > > but I am posting it to the group cuz I think what I say will
      resonate
      > > with a lot of readers one way or another.
      > >
      > > First, I am in unison with Niriha and many others who feel that
      our
      > > AM does a superb job. And I hope my "sermon" does not sound
      > > preachy. My intent is only to inspire. The Assistant
      Moderator's
      > > self-criticisms remind me of my own struggles. Hopefully what I
      have
      > > to say is of some inspiration to the AM and to others.
      > >
      > > I have been teaching meditation classes in my local area for some
      > > years now....and I am constantly grappling with my inadequacy in
      this
      > > role. I pretty much always feel somewhat inadequate for the
      task.
      > > Spirituality is so vast....and I am so small :-) and not a
      > > particularly eloquent orator. Or even a particularly poised
      one.
      > > Although I have received much positive feedback from friends and
      > > seekers, etc. I often feel I am not enthusiastic enough,
      organized
      > > enough, comprehensive enough, etc. I often feel that I
      am "lacking
      > > some core qualification for this job" :-) Really! But luckily
      there
      > > is enough of me that realizes that it is not just my individual
      will
      > > to serve that prompts me to teach meditation but a connection to
      > > something greater than myself and that it is only my
      responsibility
      > > to listen to the small voice within that tells me to "do it!". I
      am
      > > not responsible even for my competence or lack thereof. My job
      is
      > > just to serve with what capacity I have and not wait for what
      > > capacity I think I *should* have.
      > >
      > > I think there is a tendency for a lot of us selfless servers to
      want
      > > to "stand at the back of the room" and listen so that the people
      > > with "more capacity" can fulfill the challenging roles. But if
      we
      > > give in to this temptation, then our individual progress and the
      > > progress of the world is just that much slower. There is no one
      > > better than we ourselves to do what we can.
      > >
      > > I think Sumangali said something the other day to the effect
      that....
      > > (paraphrasing here) knowing our spiritual mission is one thing,
      and
      > > living up to it day to day is something else.
      > >
      > > So Assistant Moderator and everyone else, including me :-) we
      have to
      > > have faith in that spark of inspiration that moves us to serve,
      and
      > > serve in whatever imperfect way we can. And as we use our
      capacity,
      > > we develop the very qualities we need to fulfill our soul's
      vision.
      > >
      > > As a Service-Trees poem by Sri Chinmoy says:
      > >
      > > The outer capacity
      > > Comes from the awareness
      > > Of the inner necessity.
      > >
      > >
      > > Now as for the AM's comment about being unable to please many
      > > Inspiration Group posters. This made me think of a cute story
      that I
      > > heard at the restaurant where I waitress. An older gentleman was
      > > buying a cup of our organic French roast coffee which is priced a
      > > little on the high end for a cup of coffee - almost $2.00. As I
      told
      > > him the amount, he chuckled and told me that he is the organiser
      of
      > > sorts for the coffee club at his apartment complex. A bunch of
      > > retired residents get together every day or every week and share
      > > coffee and conversation, etc. He said they recently raised the
      price
      > > of coffee from 35 to 50 cents a cup (something like that) and
      there
      > > was a tremendous amount of griping and groaning about the
      increase.
      > > I thought that was pretty charming -- 50 cents is still pretty
      darn
      > > cheap for halfway decent coffee. And yet, it is too much for
      some
      > > people!
      > >
      > > If I haven't said enough about the brilliance of our AM's
      > > contributions and observations about spirituality on this site,
      it is
      > > only because I wish to spare him from further blushing :-)
      > >
      > > Terri
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
      > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Dear Assistant Moderator,
      > > >
      > > > The first three lines of your post #11529 are:
      > > >
      > > > "I feel embarrassed by your praise, Sumangali, knowing how much
      I
      > > > fail to get done, and how few people I manage to please. Still,
      I'm
      > > > glad that some writers have prospered here. Maybe there is a
      need
      > > for
      > > > new leadership, new dynamism, new inspiration."
      > > >
      > > > Not more than an hour after reading this, I picked up a book my
      > > > mother gave me - "The Gift" Poems by Hafiz The Great Sufi Master
      > > > (from the book's cover).
      > > >
      > > > One of the poems I read I am offering as an entreaty to you.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Stay With Us
      > > >
      > > > You
      > > > Leave
      > > > Our company when you speak
      > > > Of shame.
      > > >
      > > > And this makes
      > > > Everyone in the Tavern* sad.
      > > >
      > > > Stay with us
      > > > As we do the hardest work of rarely
      > > > Laying down
      > > > That pick and
      > > > Shovel
      > > >
      > > > That will keep
      > > > Revealing our deeper kinship
      > > > With
      > > > God.
      > > >
      > > > That will keep revealing
      > > > Our own divine
      > > > Worth.
      > > >
      > > > You leave the company of the Beloved's friends
      > > > Whenever you speak of
      > > > Guilt.
      > > >
      > > > And this makes
      > > > Everyone in the Tavern
      > > > Very sad.
      > > >
      > > > Stay with us tonight
      > > > As we weave love.
      > > >
      > > > And reveal ourselves,
      > > > Reveal ourselves
      > > >
      > > > As His precious
      > > > Garments.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > *Tavern was used in Sufi poetry to represent the Sufi school.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > How I wish you could hear the conversations that I have been
      privy
      > > to
      > > > in which comments are made such as, "The Inspiration Site helps
      me
      > > so
      > > > much." "Yes, I should really contribute to the Inspiration
      Site
      > > and
      > > > I will but right now I sure am enjoying reading it." "That
      > > Assistant
      > > > Moderator is brilliant!" "The Assistant Moderator is truly
      > > spiritual
      > > > and he is definitely an inspiration to me!" These are quotes
      that
      > > I
      > > > just happen to remember off hand - there are dozens more like
      these!
      > > >
      > > > I am sure at times you must feel as though you are trying to
      budge
      > > an
      > > > elephant in attempting to move this site along. Especially
      > > difficult
      > > > is the task of trying to make it understood how all of us can
      make
      > > > the site worthy of its name - make it a place where the reader
      is
      > > > being inspired to the point that he or she feels disappointed
      when
      > > > they have read the last post for the day wishing that there was
      > > just
      > > > one more.
      > > >
      > > > My feeling is that the Inspiration Site has accomplished this
      often
      > > > and will continue to do so primarily because of your inimitable
      > > > leadership and I do mean inimitable! Your patience in teaching
      > > your
      > > > vision of what this site can be coupled with your wisdom, humor
      and
      > > > deep concern for all is deeply felt and appreciated! Niriha
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > [Dear Niriha, thank you for your very kind comments. I'm sure
      others
      > > > could list all the ways in which I have failed them! I don't
      like to
      > > > publish unalloyed praise when I know how difficult it is for me
      to
      > > > please all posters. I do think the Inspiration group might
      benefit
      > > > from a change in leadership. Maybe this would help bring in more
      > > > people under the tent. Please forgive me, but at times you seem
      to
      > > > have faith that I can do no wrong. In reality, I have many
      flaws and
      > > > make many mistakes. I lack some core qualifications for this
      job.
      > > > :-) In the field of spirituality, I'm really more of a talker
      than a
      > > > doer. It's hard for me to give all the members as much support
      as
      > > > they would like, to keep up with all the correspondence, etc.
      The
      > > > best I can say is that what appears online is often interesting,
      > > > entertaining, and shows great variety. But 99% of the thanks for
      > > > that should go to the contributors! -Assistant Moderator]
    • sushmitam_r
      I must start with an apology! I am at the airport, on my way to New York and have had an incredibly hectic time and am rather tired, so I apologise in advance
      Message 57 of 57 , Mar 31 5:20 PM
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        I must start with an apology! I am at the airport, on my way to New
        York and have had an incredibly hectic time and am rather tired, so I
        apologise in advance if what I say makes little sense! Firstly
        Sharani, your post reminded me of a school exercise book I still have
        from when I was 5 years old. I had to make up a sentence for a
        spelling test, to demonstrate I could spell a particular word. I
        can't remember off hand what the word was, but what I wrote is-:
        "When I grow up I want to be a nurse. If I were a man, I would be a
        doctor." !!
        I too was born in 1960, into a world where women's place for the most
        part was at the centre of family life. My family was a family of
        scientists, and Marie Curie was presented to me as a role model when
        I was young, but she seemed far removed from anything I knew - my
        Mum, who trained as a bacteriologist did not work following her
        marriage, but devoted her time to raising her family. For this, I
        have to say, I am extremely grateful, but at the same time,
        rolemodels of women taking a part in public life were few and far
        between.
        How different things are now for me! I echo Sharani's thoughts on how
        Sri Chinmoy's encourages women to participate at all levels.
        Oh dear my half hour internet card is running out and my plane is
        about to leave...
        I also want to say I read the "Tao of Leadership" - whoever
        recommended that thanks so much! I have just spent 2 weeks in a
        managerial position, which to date at work I have avoided - I figured
        running a meditation Centre was enough management! The book was
        invaluable.
        Must go !
        See many of you soon
        Sushmitam








        --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        >
        > Now that the Assistant Moderator has turned our attention to them, I
        > have read some of the archived postings on the topic of women and
        > wish to add some belated words to this topic. I happen to feel that
        > the equality of men and women in the Sri Chinmoy Centre worldwide
        > community will someday be remembered as a most significant moment in
        > the timeline of women's spiritual evolution, and therefore of all
        > humanity. Whether past or present, I know of no other Eastern
        > spiritual path or master that has offered women such a central and
        > equal place alongside men when the purpose of the path is as lofty
        > and intense in its outlook as ours is.
        >
        > Looking back through history, many Eastern spiritual masters did not
        > accept women students. Realistically, it must have been an almost
        > impossible task to entertain focusing with one-pointed concentration
        > on the goal of complete union with God inside oneself at the same
        > time as serving and nurturing a husband and children.
        >
        > The reason I say this will be remembered as an historic juncture is
        > that the constellation of circumstances making possible a new form
        > of spiritual evolution for women is itself unprecedented. The first
        > ingredient is the evolution of technology which greatly reduced the
        > highly labor-intensive nature of running a household, labor done
        > mostly by women.
        >
        > Secondly, only in the last thirty to forty years in Western society
        > has the notion of women not existing solely as helpmate to man and
        > mother to children even existed – granted not including that there
        > has always been a small minority of women who chose spiritual
        > practise (perhaps as a nun), career or intellectual development,
        > most likely with the privilege of wealth making it feasible.
        >
        > The feminist movement, while replete with flaws as many socio-
        > political movements inevitably are, has made this second reality
        > possible. The role of wife and mother is a now a choice a woman can
        > consider rather than being the only viable role to play in society.
        > I was born in 1960. My mother's generation never even questioned the
        > notion that marriage and children was the only choice (see the film
        > "Mona Lisa Smile" for a depiction of this). Then in a single
        > generation as her daughter, I was raised to believe that this was
        > not the only choice. And that context helped lead me to where I am
        > today. Financially self-supporting, unmarried, childless and
        > consciously striving towards the eventual and lofty goal of
        > God-realization.
        >
        > Thus, I find myself one of many female students of Sri Chinmoy who
        > are flourishing and pioneering something rather special and new. And
        > flourish is indeed the operative word. I find that the Sri Chinmoy
        > Centre is an extraordinary opportunity for women to pursue the
        > highest spiritual goals without actually living a completely
        > cloistered lifestyle. Within the group, the atmosphere of purity
        > allows one to progress without the distraction of feeling that men
        > in the group are seeing you primarily as a potential romantic
        > interest. And I have never ever felt that Sri Chinmoy views anybody
        > as a gendered being first and foremost. He teaches that the soul is
        > beyond male and female and down to the minutest details that
        > perspective informs all aspects of our lifestyle.
        >
        > Many women are in positions of authority as centre leaders in the
        > worldwide chapters of our group. Women often choose to participate
        > in sporting events that defy the mind's imagination such as the feat
        > of ultra-marathon running and multi-day running events. Women are
        > playing key roles as divine enterprise business owners, managers and
        > dedicated volunteers in our various humanitarian efforts. The idea
        > of stereotype or restricted roles simply does not exist. Here we
        > have an atmosphere that helps women come forward who might
        > ordinarily be overshadowed by men who have been socialized to more
        > easily assert themselves in public.
        >
        > Sri Chinmoy has written countless poems and songs to the feminine
        > aspect of the Divine. And all of this respect for women as far as I
        > can tell is never at the expense of men. I think it is impossible
        > for Sri Chinmoy to view either men or women as anything less than
        > the branches of the tree, of which the trunk is the Absolute
        > Supreme.
        >
        > If you haven't guessed already, I was a staunch feminist before I
        > became Sri Chinmoy's student. In my opinion, the oppression of women
        > is the most complex of all injustices because of their exceedingly
        > intimate relationship with their oppressor. Following this spiritual
        > path paves a road that envisions a world where that complex and
        > painful dynamic need not exist. If those viewing our path from
        > outside imagine that women are unsafe, restricted or repressed in
        > this environment, I ask history itself to speak for me and know in
        > the depths of my heart that someday all women will remember this
        > juncture in their evolution as staggering in its significance.
        >
        > In conclusion, the song Bread and Roses wafts through my head as I
        > write this because of the line, "the rising of the women, means the
        > rising of us all." If you are not familiar with it, here are the
        > lyrics below. And you can catch your breath now because I'm finally
        > jumping off my soapbox and sending this chatterbox outside for
        > recess :-)
        >
        > Sharani
        >
        >
        > BREAD AND ROSES
        > By Caroline Kohsleet and James Oppenheim
        >
        > As we go marching, marching in the beauty of the day
        > A million darkened kitchens, a thousand millofts gray
        > Are touched by all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
        > For the people hear us singing, bread and roses, bread and roses!
        >
        > As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men
        > For they are women's brothers and we'll march with them again
        > Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes
        > Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread but give us roses
        >
        > As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
        > Go crying through our singing our ancient cry for bread
        > Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirit knew
        > Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
        >
        > As we go marching, marching, we stand together tall
        > The rising of the women, means the rising of us all
        > No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil while one reposes
        > But a sharing of life's glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.
        >
        >
        >
        > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com,
        srichinmoyinspiration
        > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > Subject: Re: Leadership Qualifications & Memory Lane
        > >
        > > Thanks Arpan and Terri! People can have very mixed feelings about
        > > the word "leadership." Here I am only acting in a very limited way
        > > as an administrator. I may have some skills which help me do the
        > > job, but I am far from a spiritual role model. I am not anyone's
        > > guru or therapist. As I often say, I'm just the bouncer. I may
        lack
        > > the Tao of leadership, but I've learned that if you ignore a
        problem
        > > for long enough, it will sometimes go away. ;-)
        > >
        > > I don't want to turn this into a non-stop referendum on whether or
        > > not I'm doing a good job. I think some people have legitimate
        > > complaints. If I suggest that new leadership would bring new
        > > dynamism and new inspiration, this doesn't mean I'm negating the
        > > value of the past year. I've had a wonderful opportunity to try
        out
        > > my ideas, and I'm happy that some solid good has been
        accomplished.
        > > Maybe the right person could bring more people in under the tent
        and
        > > help them feel at home. Some of the qualifications I lack do seem
        > > pretty important. :-)
        > >
        > > It may also be a question of taking the temperature of the world
        > > situation, and seeing how much harassment and intolerance is still
        > > out there. If the situation has improved, then maybe someone more
        > > relaxed and laid back would do a better job here. Admittedly, the
        > > problem of harassment of spiritual groups who are harmless,
        benign,
        > > and have no history of abuse is something that concerns me. Such
        > > harassment often stems from nativism and xenophobia, so I have
        been
        > > eager to see articles from people who communicate well in English,
        > > and who know how to share spirituality with a "light touch" (as
        > > Adhiratha aptly put it).
        > >
        > > I don't see the Inspiration Group so much as a "camp activity" as
        an
        > > opportunity to introduce Sri Chinmoy Centre to the general public.
        > > It's good to do this with wisdom and gentleness, since there are
        > > full time opponents of spiritual groups who consciously and
        > > intentionally try and misrepresent Sri Chinmoy's life and
        teachings.
        > > See message #4413 - shortcut below:
        > >
        > > http://tinyurl.com/2z72h/4413
        > >
        > > I admit I dislike the way that spiritual seekers are unfairly
        > > stereotyped and ridiculed. Maybe I'm too sensitive about this. I
        > > think that anyone who reads the postings here would see that those
        > > who study with Sri Chinmoy are people of great sincerity, warmth,
        > > and breadth of human experience. I agree with Sharani (message
        > > #11611) that just because they're hooked into something positive
        > > that works for them, they can get sometimes get a bit zealous.
        But I
        > > think that like many spiritual groups, Sri Chinmoy Cente is
        making a
        > > good faith effort to get along well with secular society, to
        present
        > > an honest picture of itself, and to clear up any
        misunderstandings.
        > >
        > > In this regard, I'm very grateful to the women who participated in
        > > an in-depth discussion of their lives, in the long thread called
        > > "Question for the Women." For those who missed it, the first two
        > > parts were archived and reposted as messages #3731 and #3732 -
        > > shortcuts below:
        > >
        > > Question for the Women - Part A
        > > http://tinyurl.com/2z72h/3731
        > >
        > > Question for the Women - Part B
        > > http://tinyurl.com/2z72h/3732
        > >
        > > Later on, I tried to tie together some of what I learned from that
        > > discussion (along with some ideas about art) in a piece called "Of
        > > Artists, Heroines and Heroes" - shortcut below:
        > >
        > > http://tinyurl.com/2z72h/4189
        > >
        > > Anyway, I'm painfully aware that spirituality is not about what
        > > people say, but about what they do. In Sri Chinmoy, we have found
        a
        > > teacher whose daily life has always been in perfect harmony with
        his
        > > teachings. But in my own life I often struggle with the issue of
        > > sincerity. I know others also worry that they are speaking beyond
        > > their experience, that they're trying too hard to project a
        > > spiritual image of themselves, and not hard enough to actually
        *be*
        > > a spiritual person.
        > >
        > > Despite some insincerity (of which I am as guilty as the next
        > > person), I think we're learning to speak honestly about our own
        > > experiences with our own voices. Sometimes what comes out is not
        > > quite right, but I think we've improved over the days when too
        many
        > > messages sounded like this:
        > >
        > > "I feel supremely fortunate that my spiritual brothers and sisters
        > > in the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-World Family have continued their
        > > Manifestation-Glow during the excessively soulful month of
        > > February..."
        > >
        > > I've tried to discourage organizational jargon, and not all
        posters
        > > are happy about that. But I'm glad more and more people seem to be
        > > "getting it" that one can be a spiritual seeker, and yet
        communicate
        > > with the general reader using universal language. I applaud the
        > > efforts of Mahatapa and others who are working to make progress in
        > > this area.
        > >
        > > There is an aura of holy silence which often accompanies advanced
        > > seekers. This is something which I totally lack. A text-based
        forum
        > > like ours tends to favor the chatterboxes! One student wrote:
        > > "Sometimes I think this group is the exclusive and closed language
        > > club for those who just love - I suppose so - to talk, not very
        > > wisely, really." I hope it's not that bad! Still, compared to that
        > > holy silence, all our chattering may seem like folly. In his
        classic
        > > piece, "God The Supreme Musician," Sri Chinmoy calls silence "the
        > > eloquent expression of the inexpressible":
        > >
        > > http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/god-supreme-musician/1.html
        > >
        > > And as Ed discussed in message #11010, chattering on needlessly
        can
        > > be a problem in the spiritual life. In trying to make the
        > > Inspiration group a fun place to turn for conversation, I admit I
        > > may be sacrificing some spiritual height. Those who are the best
        > > chatterers are not necessarily the most spiritual people (mea
        > > culpa!). Yet I feel that it all somehow works, that those who are
        > > chatting on the surface are also providing a kind of invitation to
        > > get involved more deeply with spirituality, to learn meditation
        and
        > > so forth.
        > >
        > > Maybe this has to do with a spiritual paradox: the Sound is
        > > incomplete without the Silence; but the Silence is incomplete
        > > without the Sound. The ocean has unsounded depths, but it also has
        > > shallows where people splash and play. That's kinda what we're
        doing
        > > here.
        > >
        > > Here when we talk about who is a good writer, we're talking about
        > > who has found a way to take Sri Chinmoy's spiritual philosophy,
        > > which is so pure, so sublime, and express it in a way that's very
        > > easy for the average person to understand. We're talking about who
        > > is a good mediator between Sri Chinmoy's lofty spiritual height
        and
        > > the secular world. We're talking about articles that bring
        > > spirituality down to the level of everyday human-sized experience,
        > > and so build a bridge of understanding between spiritual groups
        and
        > > the secular world.
        > >
        > > There are thousands and thousands of pages of Sri Chinmoy's
        writings
        > > on the Internet for those who want to go directly to the source
        > > (highly recommended!); and we often quote them here as well. For
        > > those who like to feel a living human presence and the warmth of
        > > conversation, we also have this Inspiration group. It does not
        have
        > > the same spiritual height as Sri Chinmoy's unadulterated writings,
        > > music, and artwork, but it helps provide a connecting link. And
        so I
        > > once again thank all the contributors. We are sometimes
        > > chatterboxes, but I think it's mostly harmless fun, and beneath
        the
        > > surface I do believe there is a tremendous force of love and
        > > inspiration at work here. As I wrote in message #10936:
        > >
        > > "It seems we are gathered together under a brightly coloured
        banner,
        > > talking and joking, sharing bits of poetry - our own or other
        > > people's - but always returning to the theme of Sri Chinmoy. He
        is a
        > > beautiful theme running through our lives, and this deeply good
        and
        > > virtuous soul is like the light by which we see the beauty in all
        > > other things. It is this inner spiritual light which brings the
        > > crowning glory to the beauty of a swan or of a rainbow...
        > >
        > > "In meditation, we go back, back, back further, until all is
        silence
        > > within, and we remember that light which made the world, and which
        > > is at the core of all things - beautiful, simple and complete.
        There
        > > is nothing that could be added to it, and even our praises fall
        > > short, so we laugh, joke, tell each other stories - but always our
        > > thoughts turn back to he who has given us the message of divine
        > > love, he who has awakened in our hearts a longing to know this
        light
        > > not only as it appears veiled among our cupboard loves, but as it
        > > appears in the highest plane of consciousness."
        > >
        > > Arpan and Terri, a lot of this has nothing to do with your
        original
        > > comments. I just used what you wrote as a springboard for a Joe
        > > Frankin-like trip down Memory Lane.* Thanks again.
        > >
        > > Assistant Moderator
        > > who may settle for good work and let others have the floor
        > > (provided they don't make a mess - no papier mâché
        > orangutans!)
        > >
        > >
        > > *Pandit Joe Frankin, longtime radio and TV host with a fondness
        for
        > > nostalgia.
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, arpan_deangelo
        > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > This post about leadership qualifications follows the thread
        > mainly
        > > > about the A.M. and the discussion about self-assessment and
        > others'
        > > > comments and praise. In a few recent postings I and others have
        > > > commented on the great job the A.M. is doing, regardless of the
        > fact
        > > > that the A.M. may feel that some people are displeased.
        > > >
        > > > Instead of adding my own judgements here again, I would like to
        > quote
        > > > from a book called 'The Tao Of Leadership" by John Heider. It is
        > an
        > > > adaptation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching applied to leadership. This
        > > > chapter is simply called 'Water'.
        > > >
        > > > "The wise leader is like water.
        > > > Consider water: water cleanses and refreshes all creatures
        without
        > > > distinction and without judgement; water feely and fearlessly
        goes
        > > > deep beneath the surface of things; water is fluid and
        responsive;
        > > > water follows the law freely.
        > > >
        > > > Consider the leader: the leader works in any setting without
        > > > complaint, with any person or issue that comes on the floor; the
        > > > leader acts so that all will benefit and serves well regardless
        > of the
        > > > rate of pay; the leader speaks simply and honestly and
        intervenes
        > in
        > > > order to shed light and create harmony.
        > > >
        > > > From watching the movements of water, the leader has learned
        that
        > in
        > > > action, timing is everything.
        > > > Like water, the leader is yielding. Because the leader does not
        > push,
        > > > the group does not resent or resist.
        > > >
        > > > ...The wise leader settles for good work and then lets others
        > have the
        > > > floor. The leader does not take all the credit for what happens
        > and
        > > > has no need for fame.
        > > > A moderate ego demonstrates wisdom."
        > > >
        > > > I think we could find many parallels in this description that
        fit
        > the
        > > > A.M. of this inspirational and creative website. Even though
        many
        > of
        > > > us contribute to this website regularly, I do not think we can
        > really
        > > > grasp the intensity and depth of the moderator's job.
        > > >
        > > > In order to progress, a certain amount of self-criticism and
        > > > introspection is natural and necessary. So I do not feel that
        you,
        > > > dear A.M. are really expecting a 'change in leadership.'*
        > > > Your humility and 'moderate ego demonstrates your wisdom.'
        > > > I do not think you need me to tell you that either.
        > > >
        > > > Thank you again for tolerating some of us who may make you
        cringe
        > at
        > > > times when we try to express something sublime in an inadequate
        or
        > > > naive fashion.
        > > > St. Francis once said, "Words, there once was a time that I
        > believed
        > > > in words." Your actions speak louder than your or our words, so
        > keep
        > > > up the good work and please continue helping us to keep up the
        > good
        > > > work for a better world...even if our words do not always do
        > justice
        > > > to what we all have in our hearts.
        > > >
        > > > Gratefully,
        > > > Arpan
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > [*Thanks, Arpan. I do not even expect a change in underwear, but
        > > > change sometimes happens. :-) -Assistant Moderator]
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
        > > > <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > I have not posted in far too long....but this message really
        > made me
        > > > > want to respond. I am prompted by the Assistant Moderator's
        > comments
        > > > > below:
        > > > >
        > > > > > how difficult it is for me to please all posters. I do think
        > the
        > > > > > Inspiration group might benefit from a change in
        leadership.
        > > > > >
        > > > > but I am posting it to the group cuz I think what I say will
        > resonate
        > > > > with a lot of readers one way or another.
        > > > >
        > > > > First, I am in unison with Niriha and many others who feel
        that
        > our
        > > > > AM does a superb job. And I hope my "sermon" does not sound
        > > > > preachy. My intent is only to inspire. The Assistant
        > Moderator's
        > > > > self-criticisms remind me of my own struggles. Hopefully
        what I
        > have
        > > > > to say is of some inspiration to the AM and to others.
        > > > >
        > > > > I have been teaching meditation classes in my local area for
        > some
        > > > > years now....and I am constantly grappling with my inadequacy
        in
        > this
        > > > > role. I pretty much always feel somewhat inadequate for the
        > task.
        > > > > Spirituality is so vast....and I am so small :-) and not a
        > > > > particularly eloquent orator. Or even a particularly poised
        > one.
        > > > > Although I have received much positive feedback from friends
        > and
        > > > > seekers, etc. I often feel I am not enthusiastic enough,
        > organized
        > > > > enough, comprehensive enough, etc. I often feel that I am
        > "lacking
        > > > > some core qualification for this job" :-) Really! But
        luckily
        > there
        > > > > is enough of me that realizes that it is not just my
        individual
        > will
        > > > > to serve that prompts me to teach meditation but a connection
        > to
        > > > > something greater than myself and that it is only my
        > responsibility
        > > > > to listen to the small voice within that tells me to "do
        it!".
        > I am
        > > > > not responsible even for my competence or lack thereof. My
        job
        > is
        > > > > just to serve with what capacity I have and not wait for what
        > > > > capacity I think I *should* have.
        > > > >
        > > > > I think there is a tendency for a lot of us selfless servers
        to
        > want
        > > > > to "stand at the back of the room" and listen so that the
        > people
        > > > > with "more capacity" can fulfill the challenging roles. But
        if
        > we
        > > > > give in to this temptation, then our individual progress and
        > the
        > > > > progress of the world is just that much slower. There is no
        > one
        > > > > better than we ourselves to do what we can.
        > > > >
        > > > > I think Sumangali said something the other day to the effect
        > that....
        > > > > (paraphrasing here) knowing our spiritual mission is one
        thing,
        > and
        > > > > living up to it day to day is something else.
        > > > >
        > > > > So Assistant Moderator and everyone else, including me :-) we
        > have to
        > > > > have faith in that spark of inspiration that moves us to
        serve,
        > and
        > > > > serve in whatever imperfect way we can. And as we use our
        > capacity,
        > > > > we develop the very qualities we need to fulfill our soul's
        > vision.
        > > > >
        > > > > As a Service-Trees poem by Sri Chinmoy says:
        > > > >
        > > > > The outer capacity
        > > > > Comes from the awareness
        > > > > Of the inner necessity.
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > Now as for the AM's comment about being unable to please many
        > > > > Inspiration Group posters. This made me think of a cute story
        > that I
        > > > > heard at the restaurant where I waitress. An older gentleman
        > was
        > > > > buying a cup of our organic French roast coffee which is
        priced
        > a
        > > > > little on the high end for a cup of coffee - almost $2.00.
        As I
        > told
        > > > > him the amount, he chuckled and told me that he is the
        > organiser of
        > > > > sorts for the coffee club at his apartment complex. A bunch
        of
        > > > > retired residents get together every day or every week and
        > share
        > > > > coffee and conversation, etc. He said they recently raised
        the
        > price
        > > > > of coffee from 35 to 50 cents a cup (something like that) and
        > there
        > > > > was a tremendous amount of griping and groaning about the
        > increase.
        > > > > I thought that was pretty charming -- 50 cents is still pretty
        > darn
        > > > > cheap for halfway decent coffee. And yet, it is too much for
        > some
        > > > > people!
        > > > >
        > > > > If I haven't said enough about the brilliance of our AM's
        > > > > contributions and observations about spirituality on this
        site,
        > it is
        > > > > only because I wish to spare him from further blushing :-)
        > > > >
        > > > > Terri
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