Bodhinatha and Senthilnathaswami spent a day and a half in San Francisco on their way to Houston.
With a free morning, they visited beautiful Golden Gate Park to visit the Dahlia Garden, which is in glorious full bloom this time of year, to walk a few trails and find some other surprises as well.
The purpose of our visit to San Francisco, of course, was not just to look at flowers and take a walk in the park! If only life were so slow… Quite the contrary. A year ago Bodhinatha urged the monks in the Ganapati Kulam to offload the care of the monastery's information systems to professionals, so that we could remain focused on what we do best as monks--conceiving and creating educational content. We did just that by hiring Joe Russell (center), who was an independent Apple-certified IT consultant at the time. After telecommuting to the monastery's network for a year from his home in The City to help us with everything from server software installations to installing printer drivers on new computers, Joe is now part of a growing firm called Rocket Science Consulting. Now we don't just have an IT consultant, but an entire, professional IT department to draw upon and call our own!
Since our flight was passing through San Francisco on the way to Houston, we stopped to spend a day there to meet with our new IT staff at Rocket and discuss a restructuring of our relationship with them, some new ways in which they will be supporting us, new services they are offering us, and some of the many ways we will be working together more in the future. On the left is Aaron, our Flight Leader, who will handle the overview of our relationship with Rocket and check in with us periodically to ensure that our needs are being met. In the middle is Joe, who will now take the roll they call Mission Specialist, consulting with us on major IT innovations and projects, not just the weekly maintenance and troubleshooting tasks that need to be done. Those will now be in the hands of their team of Mission Engineers.
This is Bruce, the Help Desk Engineer, on call whenever the monks have a problem with their computer systems and need a helping hand. We're so glad to have you on our team, Bruce! And thanks to all of you at Rocket for helping take care of the monastery’s computer systems, which are such an integral part of every area of our service.
The letter "Ya" in the Panchakshara Mantra, Namasivaya, stands for the soul. Bodhinatha uses the Panchakshara Mantra to show how the soul is initially drawn by Siva's veiling grace, which leads the soul to maturity through experience in the world. Then comes Siva's revealing grace. When we've had enough of the world, Siva's grace pulls us toward God. The mantra also has the simple, two-syllable form. Si- Reflecting on God the Transcendent Absolute, Va-God as the All Pervading Consciousness