Update on Corona Virus from Dr Peter Van Houten

October 19, 2020

Update with Dr Peter Van Houten

Statistics – last update was 2 weeks ago

Overall, there are fewer symptomatic cases out of the total people who are tested with PCR nasal testing, compared to March/April time period. There may be some false positive tests and there may be testing happening on people who have already had the virus and no longer contagious.

Nevada County (100K pop) 581 cases/ up from 543, most in the western part of the county. 8 deaths. Case Fatality Rate 1.4% Case Positivity Rate in NC: 2.7% stable; 581 cases per 100K pop

95959 zip code (Ananda Village and portion of Nevada City): 51 cases / up from 45

Other Counties:

Sierra County (3100 pop): 6 cases, CPR <1%, no deaths, no new cases; 193 cases per 100K

Yuba County (80K pop): 1250 cases / up from 1200; CPR 4.6% up from 3.2%, 10 deaths; 1566 per 100K

Placer County (400K pop): 3900 cases / up from 3600; CPR 3.6%; deaths 52 / up from 49; 970 per 100K

California (40 mil pop): 2187 cases per 100K

875K cases / up from 833K

CPR: 5.1% falling from 5.4%; deaths 17K up from 16K,

Long Haulers: rough estimates that about 10% of cases may have long term effects and disabling symptoms over a long period of time. May have 90K people who become long haulers in California.

USA (330 mil pop): 8.4mil cases / up from 7.6mil; increasing to 50 – 75,000 new cases per day; deaths 225,000 up from 215K; 68 deaths per 100K pop; deaths per day approx 300 – 900 (has dropped a bit); CPR 6.7% dropped from 6.8%; 2500 cases per 100K

Worldwide: 40mil cases up from 36mil; deaths 1.2mil up from 1.1mil; 516 per 100K

Mexico (129 mil pop): 847K cases up from 760K; deaths 86K up from 79K (about 500 per day); CPR 39%; CFR 10.2% stable; not able to effectively test

India (1.3bil pop): 7.5 mil cases up from 6.6 mil; 60 – 70K new cases per day; deaths 114K up from 103K; deaths per day 500 – 1000 range; we may never get a full estimate; CPR 8% down from 8.4%, 545 per 100K

Looking at 2 of the hardest hits states in the US and comparing to other countries:

New York (20mil pop): 184 deaths per 100K *a true medical catastrophe

New Jersey (9mil pop): 172 deaths per 100K

compare to Belgium (11mil pop): 90 per 100K

and Bolivia (11mil pop): 72 deaths per 100K

Weekly Meeting with Public Health and Providers in Nevada County

Several weeks with no new outbreaks in nursing homes

Case Positive Rate: now in yellow zone (minimal)

County is in the Orange zone (moderate) right now and may be able to move to Yellow (minimal) if numbers keep going in the right direction. Yellow zone means more options.

Main mode of spreading Covid is through droplets, but it is clear that some cases are being spread by aerosal. Virus particles floating in the air. Being in closed, poorly ventilated spaces is problematic. Must keep at least 6 feet apart in those conditions.

Possible vaccine by the end of the year. Made available in tiers, with high exposure risk first (first responders and seniors) If vaccine offered in Jan or Feb, it wouldn’t be until summer before those who want it will have it. How long until we don’t have to wear masks? 9 – 12 months after people are immunized. Maybe middle of 2022? Things may look different by then.

People who have tested positive and get retested in less than 90 days, are not considered a new infection. If it is past 90 days, then it would be considered a reinfection. Recommend a viral culture at that time.

After testing positive – after 10 days without fever; no anti fever meds; and with improving symptoms, you are allowed to go back to work safely (without retesting).

Rapid Testing Abbott ID machine (which Dr Peter’s clinic will be getting soon): results are now seen as equal to an “in laboratory” test. They can start contact tracing immediately without waiting for a confirmed test that would take much longer. Better sensitivity. Some false positives. Best for people who are symptomatic and not “peace of mind” testing.

Antigen testing: still primarily being handed out to nursing homes for rapid testing. Some false positives.

From the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Report for US) Arizona – when they had a big uptick in cases and responded with increased compliance of mask use, the case rates dramatically decreased. Used as an example of how masks are important.

There have been some cases of people getting Covid, who were wearing masks and some people are using this as data that says masks don’t work. But these were people with higher than normal exposure, such as health care workers. Self reports of wearing masks are also questionable. This is not evidence that masks do not work.

Schools in NC are doing well. Nevada Union now opening to limited in person instruction.

No cases of influenza yet in NC, but some cases in California. Good time now to get immunized.

More people getting flu shots this year. Many places doing free clinics.

CDC not recommending one vaccine over another. The “high dose” vaccine may have a better immune response for those 65 or older. Available at pharmacies. Good idea if you are exposed to public a lot, or high risk.

Oregon and Nevada getting hard hit by Covid and there is concern it will move over into California.

**Please stay home and don’t expose others if you have ANY symptoms of an infectious illness.**

Probably a good time to stock up a bit on consumable products, before the winter hits and possible uptick in cases.

Updates:

One way to look at fatalities from Covid is to look at “excess deaths” which is a technique used to compare average baseline deaths during a time period in the past with the same time period in the current year. For example: March – July of 2020 there is 20% excess deaths (225,000) over previous years in that time frame. About 2/3 of those deaths could be directly attributed to Covid, and 1/3 may be unconfirmed cases or other reasons, such as people being fearful of going to the doctor during lockdown.

How many people in the US have already contracted Covid and are recovered? Serologic testing can show antibodies. One large study with 30,000 subjects (dialysis patients who have regular blood testing). This population is high vulnerability and have higher exposure than most people. Found less than 10% had antibodies. Not enough for herd immunity.

India: Right now they are at 60 – 70K new cases per day. A bit of improvement for that country.

Superspreaders: The Sars II Corona virus has an odd way of spreading that is different from influenza. It is not evenly spread, with each person infecting one or two others. Covid is spread in a much more concentrated fashion, with just a handful of people spreading the balance of the cases.

New study showed that just 8% of the cases caused 60% of new infections. Or 7 out of 10 cases were not linked to any transmission. The more even transmission is called “deterministic” and the more random distribution is called “stochastic”.

Another reason to wear a mask and protect others, in case you are one of those who can spread the disease to many others.

Remdesiver has been shown shorten hospital stays but not change mortality. 3 days of treatment is as effective as 5 days.

Regeneron antibody treatment (President received) has emergency approval by FDA. Trying to make widely available.

Perfect storm of conditions?

Covid: hard to know how it is going to go through the winter. Fewer deaths because we are getting better at treating. But may go up because people will be inside more.

Economics: Stimulus – may have repurcussions

About 60% have gone back to work, but the 40% that is left may never return to work or business.

Political: Division, controversy

Best not to get too caught up in the news.

Jyotish and Devi: They talk with Ananda India frequently. India statistics not reliable. They are doing well.

Q: N95 masks are hard to find and expensive. K95, made in China, are reasonable alternative?

A: These are needed for health care workers, dental offices, etc. The K95 are an alternative. A face covering, cloth or surgical masks, is what is important. The difference is not so critical if you are not in high risk situations.

Don’t use the ones with exhaust valves – that defeats the purpose of the masks.

Q: Is testing at 5 days helpful for shortening quarantine?

A: Good to pay attention to the time frames because testing is not perfect. If symptomatic, test now.

If quarantining after a trip and not symptomatic, day 5 and day 11 works well.

Updates on Corona Virus from Dr Peter Van Houten

Monday October 5, 2020

Sars2 Coronovirus Pandemic Informational Update with Dr. Peter, Jyotish and Devi, from Ananda Village, in Nevada County, CA

Update #50

Our schedule will now continue on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.

Statistics – Population based per 100K. Number comparisons are based on today as compared with 2 weeks ago.

Nev. County – (as of Oct. 2) Population about 100K. NC is at 543 total cases, up from 506. Western Co. 337 cases, up from 310. Eastern Co is at 206.

Case Positive Rate (CPR) is still stable at 2.7% . In Ananda’s and Nevada City’s zip code area, we are at 45 total cases, up from 41. We have a CFR of 1.3% We’re such a small population so even one death changes the CFR goes up easily with one extra person. Nevada County has had a total of 7 deaths. 3 people are hospitalized.

Counties surrounding Nevada County

Sierra County – 3100 population. Still 6 cases total. Case positive rate is stable at 1%. No new cases recently. No deaths.

Yuba County – 80,000 population – Now close to 1200 cases, last time they were at 1100. CFR close to 3.3% ; 9 deaths total, up from 7. 4 people in hospital.

*Placer Co. 400,000 population, includes the town of Auburn – now over 3600 cases, up from 3466. Case positive rate is at 3.7% 49 total deaths, up from 41. Town of Auburn specifically – had 277 cases, up from 269.

Looking at Population based cases – in last 2 weeks, Nev. Co. 543 per 100K, Sierra Co. 193 per Placer Co. has 907 per 100K, Yuba Co. 1500 per 100K. California has 2100 cases per 100K.

*California – Population 40 million – 833K total cases up from 786K. Case positivity rate in CA continues to fall to 5.4% from 5.8%. 16K deaths from 15K.

Case fatality rate still stable at 1.9 % based on lab testing and confirmed cases.

USA as whole – 330,000,000 pop. Cases at 7.6 million, up from 7million. The daily case gain has been about 30 – 45K new cases per day. (considerably better than when we were getting 70K per day) Deaths 215K up from 204K. Average about 300 – 1000 deaths per day. CPR 6.8%. For US we are seeing 2300 per 100K population.

World Wide – we now have 36 million cases and 1.1 million deaths. Population based numbers: 450 cases per 100K people.

Mexico – Population of 129 million (less than 1/2 US) Up to 760K up from 700K cases 79K deaths up from 7000. Case Positivity Rate is still extremely high but down from 46% to 38%. Case Fatality Rate – stable and high at 10.3%. Similar to early Italy and New York.

India Population (4 x size of US) is 1.3 billion – 6.6 million cases up from 5.4 million total cases. Having 70 to 90K new cases per day. Recorded deaths is 103K up from 88K. recording about 1000 deaths per day. CPR is stable at 8.4%, Population CPR is 478 cases per 100K.

This is a good year to get a flu vaccination, even if you don’t normally get one. Even among health care providers, in previous years they haven’t all taken flu shots. This year it’s looking like about 90% of them will be getting the flu vaccine, which helps protect everyone. CDC says which flu shot you get doesn’t matter much, just get one. There is a special formula for those 65 and older – The High Potency Vaccine – it does seem to give a somewhat better immune response in those 65 and older. It has a slightly higher side effect profile, so it’s a balance. Most important is to get a flu shot, regardless of what type is available.

For everyone in the Ananda community, you can get the vaccine at the clinic, however they don’t carry the high potency vaccine. CVS and other pharmacies do have the high potency vaccine. The clinic is offering during any scheduled visit. They are also offering a Walk-in flu shot clinic: Mondays 2-3pm, and Thursdays 9 – 11am. Most insurances cover it completely. If you don’t have insurance we are offering it very inexpensively.

Public Health Department and Community Health and Primary Care Physicians.

The state has not given any special guidelines yet, on Halloween.

*Clarification: How the statistics are counted to include Covid-19 as the cause of death. In the US someone will only be counted as a death because of Coronavirus, if the Covid-19 appears as one of the causes of death on the death certificate.

People may have additional things happening, even if they have Sars2Cov. Even if Covid could be a key player in the final cause of death a person but the person’s death was, say, a heart attack, they may not be counted in the Covid-19 statistics, even though the clotting or cardiac damage may have been caused by the Covid-19 virus.

If someone was released from hospital, and died a couple weeks later, they would not be counted as a Covid death, the death cause would be stated as whatever the final system failure was. We have some examples of this sort of thing in Nevada County.

When Vaccine for Covid-19 comes available, the first group offered it will be front line health care workers and care facility staff. This will include dentists, medical assistants, etc.

We’re not clear on how a vaccine will be received. “I will not recommend a vaccine if I wasn’t willing to get it myself.”

Part of recommendation of getting a flu vaccine, it is possible to get influenza and Sars2Cov simultaneously, since they are different viruses. We don’t want to start having a “Twin-demic.”

Late Dec. Jan, and Feb, starts diminishing in March. We start getting our sentinel cases in October/November. We may have an earlier flu season than usual (this is laboratory confirmed influenza and not just viruses going around that we casually call “flu” – Lisa) It takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to become protective after you receive it.

Schools in Nevada County – are having Hybrid schooling – some in-person visits and some online. Only 1 case so far in the county. A child became symptomatic during the school day, was tested positive, and the students in the class were put into quarantine. No one became infected by them.

The largest high school in Nevada County will split the student population in half, having half the school population come for in-person classes Mon/Tues, and the other half Thurs/Fri, with video conferencing for the rest.

Difficulties of Keeping Medical Offices Open – many support staff in medical offices have children at home doing schooling, or have become ill. Our clinic has ongoing employment available, if anyone is interested. It’s a great place to work and we follow very good safety procedure. Always happy to have people from the Village working there.

How Sars2Cov Spreads – Super Spreaders and Super Spreading Events

Is a learning experience- the dynamics on how it spreads is different than influenza. They are both respiratory viruses. Wearing masks protects everyone from both.

How influenza spreads person to person is more predictable, and how likely they are to pass it to someone else.

Sars2 Coronavirus is more capricious. It’s a bit more random. “Super-spreaders.” refers to how it can be spread more robustly by a handful of individuals, than by everyone who is infected. It explains why we have circumstances such as Lombardy Italy, where one region was extremely hard hit and other places weren’t nearly as hard hit.

A number of cases worldwide where there have been high concentrations and high levels of fatalities, like NY, Lombardy Italy, Spain, Wuhan China, Quito Ecuador – where people were dying in front of the hospitals because they were so overwhelmed.

Then we look at how we are experiencing it in CA. We’ve had a significant outbreak in CA, but hospitals have not been overwhelmed.

Super-spreader individuals and events – There are individuals who are more likely to pass the virus for reasons we don’t understand. Super spreading events seem to happen in crowded conditions, especially a poorly ventilated indoor space where people are not wearing masks, or very few are.

For perspective, let’s take an example of an influenza – say with an RO of 2. If 10 people had seasonal flu, R0 of 2, each of the 10 people would likely infect 2 other people. This means we end up with 20 new cases. It’s a homogenous transmission.

With Sars2Cov, we have an RO of 2. For the example – 10 people have it. 8 people don’t end up spreading to anyone else. 2 of those individuals give it 10 people each. We still end up with 20 people infected. The RO is the same, but these two viruses have very different characteristics. With many “super-spreaders”, it can spread it to so many more people.

Contract Tracing – our technique has been designed for Influenza. We go back 48 hours only, to identify everyone the newly infected person has had contact with. These contacts go into quarantine and monitor them for illness.

Tracing for super-spreader Sars2Cov infection – they are contagious 5 days before they became symptomatic. It changes how we ought to be doing our contact tracing. We need to look at how this person originally contracted the virus, because they may have contacted it through a superspreader themselves. South Korea is trying to work backwards to see where someone was first exposed, rather than going back only 48 hours. We ought to be doing this.

Super-spreader Cluster focused on an event at the White House – Presidential Debate and a large outdoor function at the White House in the Rose Garden where many participants were not wearing masks or paying much attention to physical distancing. That could have been a superspreader event. We’re now at the high 20’s for positive tests by those attending, including the president, his wife, senators, reporters, press secretary. It shows how a single event can behave this way. We’re early in understanding what happened in this.

It’s also possible the super-spreading event was during the prep for the presidential debate, and then they went to the White House event.

President Trump – I noticed during the debate the President’s face was perspiring – he may have been having symptoms already. Peter noticed it but thought it was probably the stress of the stressful situation. Sweating is a common early symptom of having a virus.

The President’s Treatments – Having only the news reports that are being released, we can be unsure about what is really being done to treat the President. It’s difficult to get accurate information.

He is over age 70 – a risk factor, and he’s somewhat overweight, both higher risk factors. He doesn’t have high blood pressure, coronary artery or pulmonary disease. He had some fever, some shortness of breath, and O2 saturation had fallen a couple times after hospitalization. This puts him in the mild to moderate level of the Covid-19 illness.

He was treated with Vitamin D, Zinc – helpful in blocking the Bradykinin cascade, gave Melatonin which has found to be helpful, Famodatine (Pepsid) for stomach acidity, nasal cannula O2 as a supplement, and additional Polyclonal antibody made by Regeneron.

They produce antibodies for viruses – they identify the antibodies that appear to be neutralizing to a specific virus, and are able to manufacture them and make a combination cocktail that can be infused by IV. Similar to using Convalescent Plasma.

The Regeneron cocktail is just Covid antibodies so it’s specifically targeted for Sars2Cov. It is given as a single infusion and is good for several weeks and the antibodies stick around for quite a while. This would be very expensive.

He also received Remdesivir – needs to be given daily, and seems to speed recovery but doesn’t have affect on mortality. $3000 for a course or more. He has also received steroids (Dexamethasone) which is only good for people who’ve had shortness of breath and O2 level changes. Steroids are given for inflammation, and given in tapering doses over many days until discontinued.

He probably did not get Hydroxychloroquine, it would have been too late for it to be helpful. No mention of using Ivermectin. Peter will be watching to see what all they use, as time goes by.

We don’t know exactly when the president had his first symptoms. This would tell us a lot about where he may have acquired it. It’s usually a week before someone shows their first symptoms and become hospitalized. There can be a few days where people begins to feel better, then they can move into getting very sick.

Jyotish and Devi – No more new cases in Vrindavan at the Yogananda Home, and everyone seems to be asymptomatic. Ended at 9am. Next broadcast in 2 weeks.

 

What You Can Do During the Spread of the Coronavirus — A Letter from Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi

A Letter to Ananda Sangha

Dear Friends,

We send our loving thoughts and prayers that you are finding strength and inner guidance to deal with the challenges that are facing us now with the spread of the coronavirus. In times like these, the greatest gifts from our Masters are the inner peace of meditation, their guidance about right attitudes, and their grace to protect us.

Yoganandaji said: “The world will always have turmoil and trouble. What are you worried about? Go where the Masters have gone, to the shelter of God, whence they are watching and helping the world. You shall have safety forever, not only for yourself, but for all those loved ones who have been entrusted to your care by our Lord and Father.”

We also want to let you know about all the things Ananda Worldwide is doing both to serve and protect our members.

What Ananda Is Doing

1. All of our temples, teaching centers, and meditation groups in the United States are now closed, as are The Expanding Light Retreat and the Ananda Meditation Retreat.

2. This is also true in Assisi, Italy, and in most of our centers in India.

3. We are offering all scheduled events such as Sunday services and classes online. We are also adding many new satsangs and offerings daily to support you and sharing a comprehensive list of events from around the world. Please check Ananda.org or the website in your local area.

4. We will be opening up a new online community, free of charge, to anyone interested in joining. Here you will be able to find daily inspirational and practical tips from our members around the world. Look for more information soon in your email or on Ananda.org.

5. On Thursday, March 26, Ananda will launch a worldwide campaign for global healing called “Be a Warrior for the Light.” Each Thursday from then on at 8:00 a.m. PDT, 4:00 p.m. in Italy, and 8:30 p.m. in India, there will be a shared 20-minute broadcast that includes an opening prayer, brief discourse, meditation, group affirmation, visualization, and closing prayer. It will be led by Ananda leaders from around the world.

6. Through our Virtual Community, we will be posting a selection of chants you can listen to during this time.

What You Can Do

1. Be informed about the nature of the spread of this virus, and take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones. We encourage you to watch a video with Dr. Peter Van Houten , in which he gives a thorough explanation of these points. He recommends such things as social distancing, “sheltering in place” if you are 65 or older, wearing gloves and masks in public if you have them, and canceling all nonessential local trips or travel. This disease is very easily spread, and the countries who have put strong sequestering in place have contained it.

2. Keep your meditation practice strong and keep to a regular schedule if possible.

3. Reach out remotely to support others in need, through phone calls, Skypes, etc. Swami Kriyananda once said, “The best thing to do in troubled times is to learn to love heroically.”

4. Join Ananda’s Healing Prayer Council and pray for others daily.

5. Pray for the world to find healing and unity.

6. Join us for our weekly worldwide prayer sessions mentioned above on Thursdays starting March 26. Here is the prayer/affirmation we will be using together. Practice it on your own as well:

  • God’s light is within me and around me. With the sword of faith in my hand, with the love of God in my heart, I am a warrior of light. I join my brothers and sisters everywhere to overcome fear with faith, hatred with love, and disease with health. Let us fill the world with God’s light.

7. Finally, deepen your connection with God and Guru. They are the source of our strength, and it is through their grace that humanity will go forward into a time of peace, harmony, well-being, and higher consciousness.

Many blessings to you in this challenging time. Our prayers are with you.

In divine friendship,
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi

From Surendra and Ananda; How We Are Moving Ahead In This Time Of Change

Dear Gurubhais and Friends…

We want you to know how we, as a community and sangha, are addressing the coronavirus and its spectrum of issues and precautions. Included in this letter are the policies we are adhering to, services we are offering, and where you can access daily updates and information regarding this entire situation.

Two very helpful resources come from Ananda Village with Jyotish and Devi and Dr Peter Van Houten, M.D.:

Dr Peter video about the Corona Virus:  https://www.ananda.org/video/informative-talk-on-covid-19-with-dr-peter-van-houten/

Warriors of Light Video with Jyotish and Devi and Peter Van Houten, M.D.:https://www.ananda.org/video/facing-world-challenges-as-warriors-of-light/  

Online socializing – via cell phone, Skype, Zoom, Facetime or Google Hangouts – is what we are recommending for “getting together” in the days ahead. As you have probably heard by now, all group gatherings within the community have been cancelled until further notice, most likely for at least the next few weeks, and this includes community meals, group meditations, kirtans, and direct socializing other than with live-in family, caregivers, or other essential people in your life.

Likewise, the Ananda Portland Temple and Living Wisdom School are closed to all activity and classes. Sunday Service has been, and will continue to be, conducted via webcam and video-recording, available on the Ananda Portland website, YouTube, and in our sangha-wide enewsletter, which is sent to you via email every Monday morning. Please open this each week for other possible updates too.

By now you are surely familiar with the basics of proper hygiene to combat the spread of this virus, but beyond the basics are subtleties that are equally important to know about and implement. Once again, we want to emphasize the importance of listening to Dr. Peter’s daily updates.

With love and concern, we ask for your full cooperation in meeting the protective necessities that will keep this virus at bay. Reach out to us as you need to. Tune in to the countless postings of inspiration on Ananda.org and the websites of all Ananda colonies. Meditate. Pray. And above all, let this be a time of inward joy and gratitude for the countless blessings we share.

Affirmation for health:
“Heavenly Father, Thou art present in every atom, every cell, every corpuscle, every particle of nerve, brain, and tissue. I am well, for Thou art in all my body parts.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda

In divine friendship,

Surendra, Pavani, Vajra, Lorna, Rose, Hanuman, Mari, and Madhavi

Facing World Challenges as Warriors of Light

Watch this inspiring message by Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi, the spiritual directors of Ananda, and Dr. Peter Van Houten, MD, the medical director of Sierra Medical Family Clinic near Nevada City since 40 years, as they share the best practical and spiritual practices during the corona virus pandemic. Practice this powerful affirmation by Yogananda with Nayaswami Devi (from his book “Scientific Healing Affirmations”):

Ananda Portland and COVID-19

Dear friends,

In Autobiography of a Yogi it is said, “God is simple, everything else is complex.” The complexities of these times are certainly challenging! The reality of  COVID-19 is affecting every part of our lives and we must deal with it while also clinging to the deeper reality of God’s eternal presence.

It is our hope that we can slow the progress of this virus by following the guidelines being put forth by experts and limiting social contact and supporting efforts to keep everyone as safe as possible. Dr Peter Van Houten, along with the leadership team of Ananda Village and the leaders of all the Ananda colonies worldwide are taking steps to minimize interaction and continue serving their sanghas by utilizing online venues. Ananda Portland will do the same.

Ananda Portland Temple is closed to group events until it is clear that it is appropriate to resume a normal schedule.

All yoga classes, meditation classes, drop-in meditations and events are cancelled for the near future.

9 am Fire Ceremony and Purification will not be done until further notice.

10 am Sunday Services will be offered in abbreviated form via recording or live stream with no live audience in the temple.

Sunday, March 15 – service will be recorded and posted on our website and YouTube the Monday after as usual.
Sunday, March 22 and beyond – we hope to offer a live stream of service at 10 am so you can enjoy the inspiration from home.

Surendra and Lorna will continue to be available to answer questions and to support our spiritual family here in Portland in any way we can. Please feel free to call us at 503-626-3403. Our ministry team will be working together on a daily basis to keep you informed and we will be in daily contact with Ananda Village and the leaders of Ananda around the world. 

We encourage you to keep in touch with Ananda as your source of inspiration. Use the tremendous online resources that are found on Ananda.org and all of the colony websites, as well as the Ananda apps that are available, Radio Ananda and the books and materials you have at home.

Two things we would like to share:

A Corona Virus Update #1 article by Peter Van Houten, M.D.
https://anandaportland.org/coronavirus-update/

A  Corona Virus Update #2 article by Peter Van Houten, M.D.   https://anandaportland.org/corona-virus-update-2-peter-van-houten-m-d/

In divine friendship and joy,
Surendra and Lorna for Ananda Portland

 

“I accept with calm impartiality whatever comes my way. Free in my heart, I am not conditioned by any outward circumstance.”

Let Us Lift Up Our Hearts

As I write this, I have just downloaded the boarding pass for my flight to California, and — barring any new decisions by our government or my airline — I’ll be on my way tomorrow (Thursday). And, when you read this (Monday), I expect to be on my way back home.

We all know about plans, however. “Man plans, God laughs” and all that. The fact is, plans aren’t carved in stone. They’re subject to disruption (“course correction”) at any time…it’s the universe’s way of keeping us on our toes. The opportunities to practice staying open to whatever comes, even welcoming it, are just so abundant!

Sometimes, the disruption turns out to be just a blip. For instance, on my last flight to California, the plane was packed with people and pets, as per usual. At about 10,000 feet altitude, as it was readying to complete its descent to the airport, the pilot got on the P.A. system and announced that we couldn’t land yet because of an “extensive” earthquake that was taking place down below. In sync, all of us craned our necks to look out the windows and many of us (not me) pulled out their cell phones to contact people on the ground. The woman next to me, a California native, said that in all the years she’d been flying she’d never experienced something like this. And what the heck did “extensive” mean? We couldn’t see any evidence of damage from our perspective; even more perplexing, however, was that we had no further information about what was going on. So we all sat in the plane while it circled, striking up conversations with fellow passengers and — for some of us, myself included — holding private conversations internally.

Finally, the pilot came back on the P.A. system. He informed us that now the runway had to be examined before we could land; we still were given no information regarding what we would encounter when we landed. Before long, however, he’d been given the go-ahead, and everyone cheered as the wheels hit the tarmac.

Happy ending this time. But here’s the thing: that earthquake got no media coverage, there was absolutely no damage to be seen, and no one I spoke with on the ground even knew it had happened. Was this all a dream? Whether it was or not, the experience provided a wonderful opportunity to examine my own faith and think about how I could best handle a disruption, of any magnitude.

Will there be any blips in my next travel experience? These days I’d say it’s likely. What form will they take? It’s anyone’s guess. Can I be ok, or — even better– be of service, even if it’s just to smile or hold a hand, if the disruption is greater than expected? I hope so. The first line of Swami Kriyananda’s Festival of Light begins, “Let us lift up our hearts.” That is my goal, no matter what comes.

This week, our inspiration comes from Swamiji himself, about overcoming and transcending the obstacles that we have placed in the path between our souls and God. I hope that you will find it – and all the other offerings that are available to you — uplifting to your heart.

Blessings,

Margery

 

 

 

C-c-c-c-control (with apologies to Bowie)

(In case you’re wondering: This week’s title was inspired by two of David Bowie’s most famous songs, “Changes” and “Space Oddity.”)

It’s only been a few weeks since my last trip, yet I’m due to fly to California again later this week for my second visit with family this year. This time, an additional family member is also flying in, and together we hope to increase the effectiveness of our assistance to our loved ones in need. The plans were made before we became inundated with news of the Covid-19 virus, so naturally, our fingers are crossed that our plans are not scuttled at the last minute. However, if they are, then we’ll deal with it. We’ll take the appropriate precautions and be mindful of our hygiene….That’s the God-centered aspect of my mind talking.

The anxiety-centered aspect of my mind has also been talking. The questions seem to usually take the form of “What if such-and-such occurs?” So many possibilities to worry about! My imagination can conjure up some pretty unpleasant scenarios– not only regarding my health, but that of my more fragile family members and all the others around us. These are the times that remind me of how little control I really have over the course that life’s circumstances may take (see, I still think I may have even a little control—it’s a hard habit to break).

So what can I control? My commitment to finding inner freedom. My choice to remain on the path of Self-realization. The continuation of my efforts to increase my attunement to my Guru (in particular, with meditation). My decision to keep moving toward the light, even when the darkness of fear seems ready to swallow me up.

This week, when I find myself going down the path of worry and fear, I will remember that my Guru’s love and the power of meditation will bring me back to the path of faith and joy. I will also read these words from Paramhansa Yogananda:

“Don’t take life so seriously. This world is a terrible place, there is no safety here. But what are we to do? We must stop taking life so seriously. Delusion can be overcome by holding steadfastly to one philosophy: everything here is nothing more than God’s motion picture. Don’t make a fuss about anything. Whenever you worry, remember, you are deepening the cosmic delusion within you. It is your own dreams that frighten you. In every form of sense experience you must remind yourself, ‘IT IS A DREAM!’ So don’t be attached to the passing dreams of life. Live for God and God alone.”

Blessings,

Margery

Read All About It

By now it’s likely that you have heard or read at least something about the new virus, COVID 19, making its way around the world. There is certainly plenty of talk out there. And, if you’re like most of us, you realize it’s very important to have trustworthy sources to guide your decision-making in matters of, well, everything!

Particularly in matters of health and healing, Ananda is blessed with two esteemed members, both ministers at Ananda Village, who have dedicated their lives to bringing the teachings of Yogananda and Swami Kriyananda into their vocations. This week we feature two articles to help us understand the science and use our teachings to be most effective during this challenging time. The first is Coronavirus Update by Peter Van Houten, M.D., founder and Medical Director of the acclaimed Sierra Family Medical Clinic. Following that is Prayers for Healing the World of a Viral Crisis by Mary Kretzmann, Director of the Ananda Sangha Worldwide Healing Prayer Ministry.

In addition to the articles, however, we’ve got plenty more to share with you. First up is a new affirmation for our wonderful Living Wisdom School. There’s a beautiful new building that is yet to be completed, and many more young souls to be given a start at life that we “oldsters” could only dream of. Help us manifest the expansion of the school, and of Education for Life in the next generation.

In two Sundays (March 15), we look forward to the annual visit from Nayaswamis Pranaba and Jyoti, along with Mai Lee and Anna Preston, who will share all that Ananda is doing globally to uplift souls and consciousness on nearly every continent. Be prepared to be inspired and energized!

Keep reading and you’ll learn about our next Learn to Meditate class series beginning tomorrow, and the choir’s visit to our sister sangha in Seattle at the end of the month to sing Swami’s Christ Lives Oratorio. There will be some non-choristers traveling there also—the more the merrier! And don’t forget our video of Sunday’s service featuring guest ministers – and former Portlanders – Dambara and Manisha.

Wishing you a blessed week.

Home Improvement

Laugh if you must: my spiritual “aha” this week came from an online house-for-sale posting in my neighborhood. No, I’m not in the real estate market; the post caught my eye because something about the house looked vaguely familiar. Then, as I read the address, it hit me: I used to live there.

But oh, what a few changes can do to the look and feel of a place! Thanks to the numerous photos included in the post, I could see that the house had received extensive renovations since I had, for a short time, called it home. Clearly it had changed ownership, perhaps multiple times. Over the years, the owners had installed new roofing, siding, and yard treatments– and that was just the exterior. The inside had also been completely updated, from floor to ceiling and throughout every room. The transformation that had taken place at this address was nothing short of miraculous.

Yet, what really changed here? The consciousness. Someone had made the decision to invest time, thought, money, and talent to improve this residence, bringing in more light, making it structurally more sound and visually more appealing, and ultimately, making it more valuable in market terms.

I thought about the process involved. This was more than just a few coats of paint and new kitchen counters; it was a complete overhaul. It most likely didn’t happen all at once, but in stages. It probably included some “oops” moments along the way, maybe even had some moments of the owner thinking, “I had something different in mind.” It probably required more time, talent and money than originally planned. And, the finished product — nice as it is — likely will require further maintenance and repairs over time in order to remain functional, comfortable, appealing, and valuable.

Perhaps we too are like this house. Maybe our “owner” (guess Who?) created the blueprint for our lives in such a way that to make true progress on our spiritual journey would require paying attention to what needed an overhaul and becoming willing to make the investment of our resources to achieve that transformation. Our journeys are incremental, and probably involve a lot more effort than we’d expected (as well as numerous stumbles along the way). Even the finished product – our life — may look different than what we’d originally planned– and it’s not really even the finished product. Still, if we have been diligent, sincere, and willing, the improvements we have made will have resulted in more soundness of character, more appealing (magnetic) energy, and more joy expressed in the world.

Unlike the house, however, our market value is infinite.

 

Blessings,

Margery