Homesick for the Fellowship in Self-Realization Fellowship

We have been living with my in-laws for over three weeks. It was supposed to be a much shorter visit, but it’s hard to leave these grandparents! Being a religious woman and a member of Self-Realization Fellowshipa church that encourages discussion and questions, I always enjoy the theological discussions I have with Walter’s namesake, Grandpa Walter, a devout Catholic. Theological discussion, a documentary, the news this past month full of the Catholic Church and a conversation with Walter about the need for community for the church to truly do its work–it all made me homesick for the feeling I have whenever I am on “SRF” property. For about twenty-four hours, I even wondered if I was feeling actual distance from the church I grew up with. I asked myself, am I feeling called to convert to Catholicism?

It wasn’t a comfortable question. Converting to a religion is a big deal, and my politics don’t exactly mesh with the Catholic Church’s views on birth control, choice and who knows what else. I could ask the question, however, because SRF would still embrace me. The “Church of All Religions” teaches children at its Youth Programs that “all paths reach the mountaintop.” There is a garden that celebrates each of the world’s major religions at the beautiful Lake Shrine in California, right near the entrance. Conversion would be a very big deal for me and my family, but it would not cause any rifts.

The interior of the temple at Lake Shrine, couresty of lakeshrine.org
The interior of the temple at Lake Shrine, couresty of lakeshrine.org

Then, today, I attended Easter Mass with my in-laws, baby and husband. The homily was delivered by a priest from India, the same man who performed mass at Christmas. The only two Catholic masses I have attended in my adult life were performed by this priest. This is a bit of a divine joke, in my opinion, because the founder of SRF came from India to the United States in order to offer a spiritual path that united East and West. It makes me smile. The priest is an intelligent, devout, eloquent, passionate speaker. When he spoke today about the Resurrection, he said that the Resurrection of Christ was a reward for the life Christ had lived. This resonated with me deeply, because I believe that union with God, the Realization that our true Selves are, in fact, one with God, and that we have to work for that. The work that we have to do is to cast aside the delusion that keeps us from that knowledge, the desire for worldly achievements and things that distract us from the desire to reunite with God.

Easter Mass with Cousin Elliott and Aunt Peggy
Easter Mass with Cousin Elliott and Aunt Peggy

And therein lies my answer to the conversion question: I do not believe that the Catholic Church is the one true church. I believe in reincarnation. I may not be a member of the religion of Self-Realization Fellowship yet, not having received the meditation technique Kriya Yoga, but I am still a proud member of the church. Paramahansa Yogananda is my guru. When I pray, I sometimes choose to begin with the same beginning I have heard so many times at Sunday talks and Youth Program meditations, “Heavenly Father, Mother, Friend, Beloved God; Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahashaya, Swami Sri Yukteshwar and our Beloved Guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, Saints and Sages of All Religions, I bow to you all.” Krishna and Babaji, in particular, are too dear to my heart.

I do not want to convert to another religion. I simply long for community. When I visit my mother, in Phoenix, AZ, and see the various ways in which she can choose to be involved in the church there, I long for those same choices. Members of SRF are not holier or nicer than Catholics or anyone else. They simply share a longing that I, too, feel, to take this particular path to mountain top.

Today, I was thankful for the massive statue of Christ that hangs above the altar at the local Catholic church. Rather than Christ on the cross, it depicts Christ rising. I looked at that image and prayed another familiar prayer, deep in my heart, “May thy love shine forever on the sanctuary of my devotion.”

 

Paramahansa Yogananda, courtesy of http://www.yogananda-srf.org/
Paramahansa Yogananda, courtesy of http://www.yogananda-srf.org/

33 Comments

  1. Jane said:

    You know I’m in a tough place on my own spiritual journey, so I was sad to read this and remember how my connection to my own childhood faith is so lost right now. But I wanted to let you know that I love the openness and love and clarity in this post. I love how you talk about conversion without embarrassment or fear, and then, because you have the space to safely consider it, realize what you really long for – which is the same thing I long for. This really is an amazing post.

    April 2, 2013
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      I think the best gift my summer camp/Youth Program gave me was the push to ask, Is this my path? Our parents had “converted”–found it themselves! They were so excited! We grew up with it, so a lot of us went through the motions, some of us rebelled, some of us tried to reflect our parents’ devotion. But there’s no way to really go through the motions as an adult, because meditation is being discussed everywhere you turn. I guess I’ve been asking myself why I’m not meditating, and I finally realized the answer *while* writing this. I’m afraid to be alone with my thoughts. I’m afraid to turn inward. How many false conversions have happened through fear? The more I sit with this, the better I understand that my discomfort is a cognitive dissonance that’s moving me in a productive way. It would be a lot harder if I had grown up hearing that other paths were wrong or believing in Hell.

      April 2, 2013
      Reply
  2. Dennis G said:

    Hi, I was just looking for information for the Phoenix SRF Temple and saw your post.

    I became a Kriyabahn in Germany in 1984. I moved to Phoenix in 1985. I attended fellowships and meditations for a few years before moving to CT.

    I too long to return to the Phoenix Temple. I have many blessed memories of those brief years.

    I see God in all Religions and all paths do indeed lead to God. Master showed me how to be in the present with God. I see Her everywhere.

    I like your post, send me more.

    Blessings from our Guru keep you always.

    May 23, 2014
    Reply
  3. I found your blog when I was searching for some other thoughts on SRF. We could be sisters with your writing! I am looking forward to reading more from you, and following you on Twitter/FB. Thanks.

    September 11, 2015
    Reply
  4. Quality articles is the secret to invite the people to visit the website, that’s what this site is providing.

    April 6, 2016
    Reply
  5. Hey very cool web site!! Guy .. Excelllent .. Amazing ..
    I will bookmark your web site and taake the feeds also? I’m satisfied to find so many useful information right here within the put up, we’d like work out extra strategies in this regard,
    thanks for sharing. . . . . .

    April 30, 2016
    Reply
  6. adu q online said:

    Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to
    get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance.

    I must say that you’ve done a amazing job with this.
    Additionally, the blog loads very quick for me on Internet explorer.

    Superb Blog!

    May 15, 2016
    Reply
  7. It also validates the newest paths a superhero movie can shoot, while Deadpool is going to wildly further the aspirations of the very machine it lampooned.

    June 1, 2016
    Reply
  8. payday loan said:

    Good information. Lucky me I recently found your
    site by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve saved it for later!

    June 5, 2016
    Reply
  9. What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this website on a regular basis, this site is actually nice and the visitors are in fact sharing good
    thoughts.

    June 26, 2016
    Reply
  10. test said:

    Hello, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am too delighted to share
    my knowledge here with colleagues.

    June 28, 2016
    Reply
  11. What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this website regularly, this website is truly good and the viewers are actually sharing pleasant thoughts.

    July 1, 2016
    Reply
  12. I do not know if it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems with your site.

    It appears as if some of the text on your posts are running off the screen.
    Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to
    them as well? This might be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Cheers

    July 23, 2016
    Reply
  13. Greetings, I ƅelieve ʏour web site could be havіng web browser compatibility issues.
    Ԝhenever І taҝe a lоοk ɑt yoᥙr site in Safari, it loߋks
    fine hοwever, ᴡhen opening in IE, іt hɑs some overlapping issues.
    Ⅰ just wanted to provide ʏoᥙ ԝith а quick heads up!

    Вesides that, excellent blog!

    July 26, 2016
    Reply
  14. arrocera said:

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the web the simplest thing to be
    aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while
    people consider worries that they just don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects ,
    people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more.
    Thanks

    August 18, 2016
    Reply
  15. satta matka said:

    Hurrah! In the end I got a web site from where I be able to really obtain useful data concerning my study and knowledge.

    September 13, 2016
    Reply
  16. Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. Nevertheless think about if you added some
    great graphics or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this website
    could certainly be one of the best in its niche. Superb blog!

    September 16, 2016
    Reply
  17. What’s up Dear, are you really visiting this web page regularly, if so after that you will definitely
    take pleasant knowledge.

    September 16, 2016
    Reply
  18. Kandy said:

    I have had so much trouble finding information about accredited
    online internet marketing degree, lucky I came across this though…very practical
    Added a link on my Facebook, hope thats okay

    October 13, 2016
    Reply
  19. After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now
    on whenever a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.
    There has to be a way you are able to remove mee from that
    service? Kudos!

    October 23, 2016
    Reply
  20. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am no longer certain whether this submit is written by means of him as no one else understand such
    specified about my trouble. You are incredible!

    Thank you!

    December 7, 2016
    Reply
  21. Just desire to say your article is as astonishing.

    The clearness in your post is simply excellent and i
    can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with
    your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

    December 10, 2016
    Reply
  22. No matter if some one searches for his required thing,
    thus he/she wants to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

    December 12, 2016
    Reply
  23. This is my first time visit at here and i am genuinely impressed to read everthing at one place.

    December 12, 2016
    Reply
  24. I vіsited multiple web pages however the auԁio quality for audіo songs current аt this webѕіte is actually marvelous.

    January 3, 2017
    Reply
  25. But keep in mind that the model I tested hаs the smаller sizedd 300 mAh battery – tҺe bigger 1 mаy laset mucһ
    ⅼonger.

    June 11, 2017
    Reply
  26. I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of good
    information, saved to bookmarks (:.

    June 19, 2017
    Reply
  27. Barney said:

    I was recommended this blog by way of my cousin. I’m not
    sure whether this submit is written via him as nobody else know such particular about my trouble.
    You are incredible! Thank you!

    June 29, 2017
    Reply
  28. random said:

    Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware
    of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people
    consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side
    effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to
    get more. Thanks

    July 10, 2017
    Reply
  29. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a blog site that
    I’ve checked out with real worth or worth. Well going back to the
    topic I’m really looking for sources concerning BPO Industry and also nice to see one that
    actually placed an initiative in investigating as well as
    creating a good piece of details.

    July 11, 2017
    Reply
  30. If you would like to get a great deal from this article then you have to apply such techniques
    to your won web site.

    July 17, 2017
    Reply

Leave a Reply to Jeanne Grunert Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.