I am preparing to see Amma next month in MA. It will be the third time that I have gone and the experience has been mind blowing, traumatic, dramatic, lonely, and yet filled with love and compassion the likes of which I have never experienced.
Amma is considered by many to be a fully enlightened being, a saint. She does and sponsors great humanitarian efforts throughout the world. She is said to have hugged over 34 million people.
I went for the first time three years ago to get a hug. I approached the whole thing with an attitude of suspending disbelief. I was still in the process of deep emotional work, and still am most of the time. I was suspicious and reluctant to believe. I went for two days. I got a few hugs. I got a mantra which meant I accepted her as my guru even though I was not sure. And I cried. I cried through every hug and so much of the time in between. I started to think I had been through a war. I had, it was in my mind. Amma says we must declare war on our minds to achieve peace. And I did. And I slowly learned the mantra and so much more and came to use them regularly.
Last year I was more up on my game. I had done more spiritual work and was prepared for the emotional tidal wave being there and getting a hug would bring. I was more prepared. This time I got in the question line. She only takes a few. And while the others in the question line passed through quickly, she had me sit there for four hours before answering my question. A woman who works closely with her came to me and said “she is doing work on you, that is why you have to sit there.” I had figured as much and I was grateful and a little resentful – “I’m not so bad off that I need four hours of work” right to “thank God she is helping me.” Then I got more hugs and volunteered at various tasks. It was more fulfilling than the first time. And I upped my game on the spiritual work.
Brene Brown says in one of her books that once you get into the arena you can’t ever go back to the place you were before you got into the arena – no matter how much you might long to from time to time. I think of this often. But I don’t really want to go back to that place. It was lonely and miserable and I did not even know what it meant to be present or in-body. I do now. And the work FEELS miserable at times but my life is by now means miserable. Perspective has shifted. I have shifted. I am not done with the work yet. But I am oh so much closer. I have a teacher that says everything we want is guaranteed – the only thing not guaranteed is when – this lifetime or some other. But then thinking in terms of time leaves us identified with time as if there is a difference between 5 minutes and 500 lifetimes. A hard concept for my mind.
So this year I plan to go. And I am making these plans with much more peace. I know that I will know many people there and that the vibration of these people gathered together is high, so much higher than my vibration alone. I know that I will cry when I get a hug and that this is ok, even exactly as it is supposed to be. I know that I still have work to go although I have made great progress. I know that I wish everyone could experience what it is to be held in Mother’s arms and feel loved.
To all those parts before today, today, and after. Ahimsa. Compassion. From there all else flows.