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Region 4 - 'Keep Faith and Carry On': Spiritual Journey to a Monastery

Last year, the Group 4(LOTUSS) Group from Leicester Central centre, Region 4 which consisted of children aged between 16 and 18 were fortunate to visit the local monastery. The peaceful surroundings, beautiful buildings and the spiritually uplifted individuals made the day remind us all how people are practising and following human values and love for God.

These are some of the experiences that were captured during the day from the Group 4 children.

‘On the 21st of October we set off on a spiritual journey to a monastery in Coalville, Leicestershire -the largest in all of Europe. Of the 30 residents of the monastery, we received a talk from the Abbott and the Father, who talked to us about their life at the monastery, the practices and the importance of having faith in God. One thing that particularly interested me was the similarity between the beliefs, values and practices of the monks and that of Baba's teachings. For example, their life was based around discipline, going to sleep early and waking up at 2:00am in the morning to feel the divine presence of the Lord, entailing prayers, hymns and reading of the gospels. This reminded me of Prashanthi, where we get up early for the Aumkar, Suprabhatham and Nagarsankirtan which starts at 5:20am, an auspicious time.

After prayers the monks took their breakfast. They led a vegetarian life, living self-sufficiently and without causing harm, again similar to Baba's teachings of non-violence. The monks would then read spiritual/religious literature during the day and would not speak to anyone unless it was absolutely necessary, but instead would use special hand gestures to communicate. This is because they believe that 'God can only be heard in the depths of silence'.

After having received these enlightening talks, we had a group discussion about the things we had learnt from the monks and how we could apply these for a positive change in our own lives.

Priya Joshi

"During my trip at the monastery, we had the privilege of meeting two monks. One monk was an 86 year old who had been at the monastery since the age of 21 and the other was the Abbot. I felt that we were very lucky to have an insight into their daily lives, and I was quite taken back by the fact that they were so self-sufficient. However what impacted me the most, was when the Abbot told us that a person had been made a saint on that very day, her name was Saint Katrin (or Saint Catherine). Her story about how she came into the Christian faith, her devotion and perseverance despite the fact that she had to survive years of torment and abuse from her community, allowed me to have an insight into how we can be more determined and be persevering in our own lives to achieve our goals and come closer to God."

Hiren Tailor

"The most useful thing that I picked up from the Monastery trip was that Swami's teachings not only apply to His devotees but link to other people who want to become one with God. One of the monks told us that he sees God in each and every one of us and that we are all equal, Divine beings. This also links to Swami’s teachings when he talks about who we really are. These monks have left their family and are detached from the latest technology in the world just to connect with God. It teaches us all a lesson that wealth is not all we need to succeed in life and be happy. Just by reciting God’s Name can make a difference."

Karishma Tanna

"From this Monastery trip, I have learnt many different things. One of the most important things that I learnt was perseverance. In the life story that the Father narrated about the saint, it showed me that although many people can put you down, you should never let them influence what you believe. If you believe strongly about something, you shouldn't give up just because other people think differently. This is one of the major lessons that I learnt from today's trip."

Trisha Patel

"The blissful, spiritual trip ended with a surprise which was only Swami’s Blessings which was shown through a message. As we started to leave the building and the thoughts of the talk based on ‘ Faith’ was in our minds, a lady who was also a visitor at the Monastery was wearing a t shirt with the words , 'Keep Faith and Carry On'. Then at the bottom of the T-shirt it had the words 'SAI2012'. It was truly Swami’s Way of showing He is always with us and that we must continue to have love and faith in the Lord!"