A letter from Mike Donner, former American DLM Director, who is serving a prison sentence, to all premies.
Dearest brothers and sisters,
First of all I'd like to thank everyone for the really special birthday card and for the wonderful letters, cards, pictures, and most of all the satsang that you have shared with me. I'd like to be able to write to everyone personally, but it seems to be impossible to find the time to be able to do that.
Satsang is truly the gas that keeps us inspired to run along the road of life. Maharaj Ji said in Australia that no car has ever been designed with a built-in oil well. We too, were not designed (in this world anyway) with totally self-contained, ever-present inspiration. That is why we can inspire each other to live together and enjoy Holy Company, so that we can inspire each other to live in the constant practice of Knowledge - thereby automatically moving out of ignorance and self-centredness. The satsang which you share with me, the experiences that you are having with Knowledge that you share with me, extend our community from the geographical place called Denver to this sometimes lonely outpost called Leavenworth.
There is so much love in the mail that I receive. So much love. Sometimes, when the guard on duty counts out 5, 6, 7 - letters at a time addressed to me in the midst of the crowd that gathers to collect our mail each day - I blush, as if I were being kissed and hugged by dear friends in front of strangers. It's not always easy for me to gracefully accept all the love that flows my way. Your love opens me up, makes me soft and tender; gentle and vulnerable. It sustains me in this hard place, but it also carries me beyond this place so fast that little ripples of fear surprise me. Our love, simple, warm, friendly, human love - natural love for each other as brothers and sisters, as children with one another - is Maharaj Ji's gift for us that prepares us to become more open and ready for the endless, infinite, supreme love which he is prepared to help us experience. We prepare each other in the same way that Durga Ji prepares Premlata for Maharaj Ji. With our love for each other, we leapfrog our way to Maharaj Ji's Feet. We are together on this path for no other purpose. Words are not adequate here to express how much I'm beginning to appreciate and accept your love for me.
I guess I'm just saying - Thank You, keep it up, love me more, love each other and accept my love too. Together we are moving towards endless love, forever love. It's beautiful, it's blissful, it's inspiring. It makes each day a day in which service to our Guru Maharaj Ji becomes easy and exciting. It makes life meaningful, natural and real!
Occasionally we forget to be quiet in our Denver ashrams, forget to encourage each other to meditate by creating a quiet environment. You'd laugh to see me sit on my pillow on a half lotus position while the other guys (almost deliberately) create noise all around me. Give me the most disciplined ashram and the simplest home-cooked vegetarian meals, a bedroom full of brothers any day, and meditation would seem like a breeze.
But obviously, every situation is perfect for us and each is a precious gift from our Master. Before I was transferred to this camp, I was 500 yards from here behind a 40 foot wall, 6 locked doors, a cell all by myself. "C block" - the isolation unit. Six days with nothing to read, no music, no service to do, no satsang to give or listen to, no exercise, I saw another person maybe 4 times a day hurrying by to drop off or pick up my meal tray. WOW! I never realised so clearly what a grace it is that Knowledge is more than formal meditation. Try as I might, I just couldn't meditate 24 hours a day. And with nothing else to do, those hours when meditation seemed impossible were very, very difficult. God, I missed service, any service, to occupy my time - to act as occupational therapy - occupying my time until meditation was easier. I missed the balanced life of the simple three-legged stool of Knowledge. Maharaj Ji's plan is so simple and so perfect. So tailored to our western life, to our fast-paced conditioning. Service makes us need and desire meditation; meditation makes service and satsang flow from us naturally. When we listen to satsang, we want to meditate and serve. On it goes, naturally, from one leg of the stool to another - a simple, beautiful foundation for our entire life.
Knowledge is more than any one of the legs of that stool. Knowledge is a full way of life that is tailored for each of us and fits us perfectly. I'm so thankful for those 6 days to be able to understand that better from a place of real experience … to see also how much more I must practise meditation, how service oriented I can become. I'm thankful to be out of there and here at the camp where your satsang comes to me, where there is service (propagation) to do - where there is a better balance for me.
Experiencing that balanced life of Knowledge fully is our service. So often I've forgotten that my service to Maharaj Ji is to experience and realise Knowledge - not the work that I do; for him. The work (service as we all call it) is definitely part of it, but truly our service is to realise the omnipresence of his love … to realise, through actual experience, our unity, our community. My physical separation from you, my family, my community, has been another grace given by our sweet Lord to help me see that. Regardless of physical proximity, we are truly one in love, in purpose, in freedom. Only our ideas and concepts put the limits around us that keep us from experiencing the universal life force that is infinite. Only our mind makes us afraid of being here and now, afraid of letting go of the people and places that give us some love, but are really only vehicles, situations and reflections of his everpresent and encompassing love and Grace.
I love you all very much and I'm very thankful that Maharaj Ji is making it so easy for me through the love of my friends, the community of our Mission, and through His Grace.
Your brother, Mike