Thoughts after our visit with the Jain Swamiji:
All this inclusion and exclusion – at the core it is the primal need for food, clothing and shelter. The dread of not having enough. And especially in the U.S., in a culture so invested in individuality, we have lost our trust in the community to care for us. That is why a trip like this can bond people so deeply. We return to the community, the group that circles the wagons and takes care of its own. We are sharing everything, freely and with great generosity. The motivation is care of each other in this foreign land. Joselito gets bites on his arm. We all learn of it very quickly and we immediately all search among our luggage to see who has the ointment that will soothe and cure. One place we visit brings up deep emotions for one if us. We all notice, and somehow just the right person responds, goes to be with that one to listen and care. We pass the word among us later that that one is now feeling better and maybe at the next meal someone offers a cookie, someone else again offers a silent hug. We care for each other. We are acutely aware of each others health, emotions and needs for food, clothing, shelter and care.
This is the love that rests at the core of all our religions – the Good News that we are loved and cared for. The teaching is there in all faiths: love one another as you love yourself.
Love and blessings to all at PSR from all of us here in Mangalore.
– Michael, participant