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Love and Light

Region 2 - Young Adults Programme: Ceiling on Desires

Region 2 reignited last month with 2014’s Young Adults Programme (YAP). The theme for YAP this year is the 9-Point Code of Conduct. Hosted by Harrow West and facilitated by Harrow East, Region 2 youth came together to discuss and consciously implement these teachings in our daily life.

The YAP programme was created to enable the youth to express, share and develop their beliefs and understanding of spirituality – something which not only benefits each of us personally, but also strengthens us as a unit and Swami’s youth as a whole. During the month of Easter, we decided to combine Swami’s points of ‘service to the community’ and ‘ceiling on desires’, allowing us to appreciate the love, sacrifice and forgiveness Jesus incorporated in his life. Jesus’ words “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” are what we as a Region strived to achieve during this time.

The first part of the session was a study circle conducted on service. Using a panel of different people within society, the floor was opened to discuss who in society we should be serving and personal opinions about which members were priorities. Featuring some controversial faces such as criminals, it was interesting and inspiring to see that regardless of personal thoughts, the youth collectively decided everyone had a right to community service. One conclusion of the day was that service should be implemented without discrimination and with no priorities, echoing Swami’s teaching “Love All, Serve All.”

This then prompted us to examine how we should serve – again met with a full house of ideas. Deep contemplation on this brought up the idea of the ‘needs’ versus the ‘wants’, and turning to both Jesus’ and Swami’s examples of a lifetime of service, with no extents or limitations, the group agreed that service should take place with the intention of satisfying the need at hand with the means required. We extensively examined time, money, energy and food – Swami’s four concerns of ceiling on desires – by splitting into groups and discussing quotes from Swami regarding each area. Linking the quotes to each other and appreciating the values and messages behind the words led to a discussion of how much we take for granted in today’s world, especially food and money, which were consistently mentioned. Ideas of people suffering the world over from poverty and hunger intensified the group’s desire to serve those in need as an individual duty, but the quote “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but give him a rod and he’ll eat for life” also brought up the notion that service should also help others to help themselves.

Most importantly, we also decided that true service should be done with a sense of selfless love. Swami’s example has shown us that this is the key to success in any service project. Altogether, the many different lessons taken from the study circle rekindled everyone’s desire to actively serve in the community – leading us to our second part of YAP.

After the deep and insightful discussion, the youth decided to put into practice all they had learned through initiating a ceiling on desires-inspired service project to provide Easter Eggs for local hospitals. Each person was encouraged to donate an Easter Egg (or the money to finance an egg) by giving up a luxury dear to our daily lives – a weekly Starbucks, a new dress etc. – with the savings incurred going towards purchasing the eggs. Announcing the scheme at the centres in the Region, allowed adults, youth and children to contribute to the cause – with the whole Region collecting over 400 Easter Eggs within two weeks!

On the Easter weekend the youth distributed the collected eggs to three of the local hospitals: West Middlesex, Hillingdon and Watford General. The doctors and nurses were very warming and welcoming – astounded by the contributions, of which the volumes had seemingly exceeded everyone’s expectations. Surpassing our original intentions to donate the eggs to each hospital’s Paediatric ward, there were enough eggs to be donated to other wards as well.

Overall, this YAP session has been a great experience and learning platform for all the youth. As a unit, the bond between the youth has become stronger, and individually we have all learned some important lessons. Donating the eggs to the hospitals, the youth realised that rather than the doers, they were merely doing what was taught unto us a long time ago for the benefit of the mankind around us. Additionally, quite a few of us realised that many of our ‘needs’ were actually just ‘wants’ – teaching us the purifying that comes with sacrifice. Jesus taught us to “love thy neighbour as thyself”, and the love that drove the project has definitely impacted every individual involved.

Thank you, Swami, for your love and blessings – may we always be instrument of thy will.

By Harrow West Sai Youth.