The Golden Age
The Kingston pottery
In Hobart there are many and various opportunities for premies to experience service. One potentially large area has emerged lately with the near-completion of the Kingston Pottery complex. The large multi-chambered wood-fired kiln has been finished, and two premies, Gwyn Hannsen and John Piggot, are busy preparing pots for the kiln's initial "first-firing".
Gwyn has been a potter for about 20 years. She was working in her own pottery in France when she heard about Guru Maharaj Ji and took Knowledge. For a while the pottery became an ashram, but as it was in the country a long way from Paris - the main centre of propagation - it soon closed down. Gwyn then went to America, where she met David Lovejoy at the Millenium '73 festival and spoke to him about having had a pottery. He told her that there had been an idea to start a craft community in Australia, and so she came out and started looking for a suitable place for a pottery. Eventually, it was decided to convert some chicken sheds on a farm a few miles from the Hobart ashram.
John met Gwyn while he was doing a pottery course at the East Sydney Tech.- Gwyn, who stayed in Sydney when she first arrived from America after Millenium, was one of his lecturers. She ended up giving him satsang, and a few months later he received Knowledge. Then when Gwyn went to Tasmania to start the pottery, John decided to go too to help her to get the project off the ground.
The pottery will be producing mainly table and kitchen ware, and also some fine porcelain. The pots will mainly be for the Tasmanian market, however Gwyn plans to collect the best ones from each firing and save them for exhibitions on the mainland and overseas.
Gwyn, who has quite a reputation as a potter internationally, finds that many of her friends are interested in what she's doing now. "At first," she told the Golden Age reporter, "quite a lot of my friends regarded me as being really irresponsible because I stopped potting in France. They didn't quite realise I wanted to be in a more dedicated situation and that that was more important to me than making pots. It's so much better now because they have seen the change in me and they're asking more and more what I'm doing. It must be obvious to them that my happiness isn't dependent on my making pots, and yet I am still able to do this.
"Quite often people ask whether Knowledge has changed what we do; whether the pots we are making now are different to the pots we made before. What I am learning more and more is that maybe you won't be able to see any difference in the pots, but still a change is going on inside myself."
No. 30, June 1976
Perth Gets moving
After reading all the latest from over east in last month's Golden Age, it looks as though we premies here in Perth are experiencing pretty much the same pace. And lately that's meant moving. What we're understanding over here is that for quite a while now, we've been reving up the motor but what's happening at the moment is that we're actually changing gears.
It all started at our Easter meditation retreat. We shared meditation, satsang and service together, non-stop, for four days. That really paved the way for relating on a more personal, open level and showed us again what a close family we really are. It was a perfect way to meet Lou Scott, our new Community Director, too.
The main focus at the moment is on sharing and developing satsang. We've held about four workshops after community meetings on Sunday, so far, to share our experiences and problems and really open up to each other. From that understanding premies are already finding themselves relating to people on a much more personal and practical level when they give satsang, at work for example, and it's beginning to show at the satsang hall too.
In Perth about half our community lives either in a Community Centre, the pre-ashram or the aspirant shelter. At times in the past this caused a bit of an imbalance for the rest of the community, especially when C.C.'s were first formed. But as we see more clearly that we all have the same opportunity to experience Knowledge, it's balancing out nicely. We're discovering how natural Knowledge really is. The whole community is coming together. It's beautiful!
Premie families are getting a lot more attention lately with daytime satsang every Tuesday afternoon. It gives mums, housemothers and premies or aspirants who aren't working during the day a chance to share satsang in their own particular way. It's brought about a few badly needed changes in the nursery too! Our satellite programs have also expanded. We've got one for the north and one for the south side of the river now, twice a week.
All in all, it's been pretty intense for us lately, we've learnt a lot. Everyone seems to agree that a new wave of consciousness has swept over us. It hasn't all been easy. As we're shedding our abstract, spiritual concepts and experiencing a looser, more natural side of Knowledge, we're also seeing how much we've been playing with this Knowledge. All of a sudden, we're really seeing something. It's like Guru Maharaj Ji has opened up another door, and we're looking inside and seeing that, "Hey, this Knowledge is our life, no kidding around, we've got to really get into it and make it our life, we've got the responsibility to really practise it now and mature in it so that Maharaj Ji can finally use us in his plan. I guess that's called understanding.
Lately, responsibility for coordination of the Mission's activities has spread over a wider section of the Brisbane community. It's been happening in the form of five AMP reps and three community centres, and is having an amazing effect on our sense of community and responsibility. The place is becoming a real hive of activity with satsang, service and meditation abundently available. Recently, a night was set aside where premies and aspirants came together for dinner and satsang at the home of their respective AMP representatives. It was a night to remember, as the tone of informality and purpose gave rise to incredibly honest satsang.
The notice "plenty of service at the ashram" looks like being up for a long time to come. Recently the ashram moved to a house right on Brisbane's wide meandering river at Chelmer. As the house is unfinished and was submerged in the floods, there is loads of renovation and cleaning to be done. We're hoping there will be time for a dip in the solar heated pool though!
Each night for a week recently, a strange figure would appear at the end of satsang. Sometimes an old man, sometimes a punchy boxer, sometimes Her Majesty the Queen, all with a reminder about the jumble sale. These strange personalities turned out to be the many faces of Dr. Marty, the mastermind of the jumble.
The day came and $400 was raised, even with only half the goods sold. Plenty left for the next episode, which may be entitled, "Marzan, King of the Jumble."
Community Centre renovations
The current focus of service energy in Adelaide is our new Community Centre, where premie-power is converting two two-storey houses and a cottage into a residential complex for about 20 premies and aspirants. Divine Light Mission has taken over the purchase of the three adjoining houses in the inner suburb of Norwood, paying off a $40,000 loan from a building society over 30 years.
In-service weekends, coordinated by the AMP Committee, have seen almost every community member at one time or another busily contributing time and energy. The combination of service and Holy Name makes for high vibes, and satsang has been flowing as freely as paint, with aspirants always there eager to soak up every last drop of the one, and attentively spread the other!
Renovations include such ambitious projects as inside bathrooms and an outside shower-block connected to one of the houses by a covered walk-way. Doorways have to be created and rooms redesigned. In all it should take about three months. Although the cost ($10,000 so far) seems high, it would be about $8,000 more than that without the community's help. With the skills of the aspirants added to those of the existing community, it's not necessary for us to employ any outside contractors on the job. We're even doing the plumbing, electrical wiring and carpentry, including flooring, ourselves.
One house is already occupied by four premies and three aspirants. Eventually, all three houses will share a room spacious enough to accomodate everyone for meditation and, possibly, satsang. They'll also share a large common garden with plenty of lawn, some shady trees and a patio ideal for outdoor meals.
As the Community Centre comes together, more and more attention will be turned to another new project - this one especially for the kids. It's a four-roomed house with a back yard, one street away from the satsang hall, and it's soon to become our nursery. Initially it will be in use nightly at satsang-time, growing from there as the need arises.