Sunday Service: What We Can Learn from Pickle


Week of May 25 – 31, 2014

This Week’s Spiritual Talk

The story of Pickle

By Peter Kowalke

Many foods parade past my table during meal time. There are at least four courses, often six, and I am surprised everyone is not fat at the monastery. Most meals have the feel of dim sum, the Chinese brunch where an endless stream of waiters tempt you with little delicacies. The portions at the monastery are not so small, however, and the presentation is inelegant; our servers arrive at each plate and slop down a heaping scoop of whatever is in their food bucket.

Breakfast is self-serve, but lunch and dinner is a contest of negation. When a server visits your plate, you must accept or reject the offering. Then reject it a second time when they come back for seconds.

All meals start with a token sweet, usually fresh fruit, and include the Indian staples of rice, chapati and lentil soup. There’s usually a thick curry or two with potatoes, peas, carrots or other vegetables, and a heavily spiced vegetable dish with a hero such as cauliflower or spinach. Cottage cheese chunks the size of hors d’oeuvre show up sometimes as a protein in the curry, as does fried tofu. A thick curd cools down the taste buds, and a sweet but flammable chutney heats them back up again near the end of the meal. Dessert always includes a milky and deliciously sweet rice or poppy seed pudding and a traditional Indian dessert such as the syrupy deep-fried batter, jalebi.

The servers learn our preferences. One man takes rice but no chapati. Another never eats bananas. A third has his poppy seed pudding poured into the hot milk offered at dinner. The wait staff has trouble predicting my preferences, though, because they don’t stay the same. My preferences expand.

The story of pickle is a case in point.

(read more)


Teachings of the Christian MysticsBook of the Month

Teachings of the Christian Mystics

edited by Andrew Harvey

The Christian mystics remain little known among Vedantins and Christians alike, yet they explore many of the same ideas of Vedanta. This book takes selections from all eras of the Christian tradition, including Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton and others.

(get the book)

Other books we recommend can be found in our Books section. We also recommend YouTube videos, audio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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