Monday, April 13, 2009

Amma 2009: Part 1


I visited with my Eternal Mother several weeks ago for three wonderful days under a spectacular Northern California sun. It is Spring, and a time for new awakenings, budding ideas, growth, and expansive gestures. Things once buried, our “nuts” so to speak, are now recovered and urged to grow to potential. That sun has burned me in the past, scorched me readily, firing away karmic layer after layer, along with layers of skin, leaving me bright red and sore for days after. This time the burn was minimal and the karmic reconstruction not outwardly obvious. I also had enough sense to wear a hat.

It’s been five long years since I’ve spent any time greater than a half day with Amma. The year 2005 was a major turning point in my spirituality and emotional healing, as well as a wonderful visit, full of lessons in self-worth and confidence. An introductory focus on sloughing off dead baggage from the past like an unnecessary layer of skin was immediately followed by the unveiling of new horizons that would continue taking shape and form as they were affirmed, and continue to be affirmed, in real time. In 2006, we were moving from California to Connecticut and missed Amma, literally, on both ends of the United States. The years 2007 and 2008 were only one half day visits each in New York City. There were moments in that lovely church in Manhattan when she smiled at me, and I know she recognized me. “You need a good job,” she said, “I will help you,” and I was secretly relieved she didn’t forget me. I didn’t see Ammachi at all when I was on the East Coast. My spiritual tanks were drained in such a way that makes me believe our time in Connecticut wasn’t just about emotional baggage, or spending time with my grandmother. It was also about relying on one’s inner resources.

The weeks prior to this visit were heavy with animal symbolism. A tarot card reading I received from intuitive web-friend, Avia Venifica, highlighted this to me in succinct ways that continue to resonate even now. This makes sense as symbolism is Avia’s forte’. Other symbolic markers came up between Avia and I confirming she was a link in Mother’s chain this time around. You can read more on my card reading here. However, squirrel symbolism is highlighted first and foremost, particularly at spring time, encouraging me to recover those nuts I’ve put aside to focus on my new job.

In real time, we’ve had one little nut hoarder scurrying industriously around our yard since we’ve moved in here, leaving little holes dug up here and there. It had a run in with our Boston Terrier, Daizy, one evening a few weeks ago that brought Elizabeth into the house huffing and puffing about a doggie/squirrel stand off at the base of the palm tree, and did I know that squirrels can growl? Despite that direct message, it never occurred to me to think about what it was saying. Not until now, that is. We finally named the squirrel Nutmeg, and you might be interested to know that Nutmeg has recently found a companion. Now there are two of them racing around like Red Bull lunatics.

But this particular nut wasn’t just waiting to be taken out. It was waiting to be turned out! And riding the wave of Amma’s abundant energy, I launched my artwork publicly on Cafepress and RedBubble. This was a leap of my faith for me, and an indication that my confidence continues to develop. I have my friends to thank for encouraging and embracing this.

Amma knows how much I need to be needed, and like she did in the 2005 program, she connected me immediately with the local group of volunteers, and put me to work. First, it was in a small poster making party, at an ashram in San Francisco, which was like stepping back into the 70’s when my Aunt Edwina lived in an ashram in New Haven. We sat there, in the main room, folding and folding and talking. There was another devotee with us, a woman that I’ve seen in many photographs, and who is frequently pictured following Amma closely. I’ve seen her in programs crying many tears, as well. She stood out to me then, but on this day something was different. In the course of conversation, she described taking her first trip to India recently. I think perhaps the trip changed her. She was confident, purposeful, and navigating around people she didn’t know with relative ease. I believe that for some of Amma’s children, navigating around strangers is most challenging due to sensitivities and empathies. I didn’t say anything, but the transformation was notable. The message I received was notable, as well, yanking the knowledge from a generalized intellectual awareness and plopping it right down into personal acknowledgement. We are all God’s children. The Divine Mother considers each and every one of us her babies. And when She sees fit, She knows what cosmic carrot to dangle before our hungry eyes. She knows what motivation will bring us along the path to our personal evolution. She did it to me a few years ago and in a way that is still working it’s magic. Now I understand that devotion or bhakti can change even the meekest or angriest of Amma’s babies. Bhakti holds the power to change the universe.

Amma’s divine love is life changing, true, but the purposeful and anticipatory love of her devotees is an amazing and palpable thing. Their focus is so intense, no matter how attached you may or may not be to Her, it is hard not to get caught up in it. One never knows what they do outside of their work for Amma either. Some of them are householders, Indian families who live in the West, but are devout Hindu’s who give both their time and money from the heart. Others are Western devotees whose lives, jobs or careers provide them with the funding they need to follow Amma from one end of creation to the next. Given the way I feel when She’s around, I can’t say that I begrudge them that opportunity, although at this time I don’t feel the need to physically follow myself. I often wonder if doing so is in my future. Some Western devotees wear traditional Indian attire, and are immersed in the Hindu faith. I noticed people from Ammachi’s camp, as well, wondering what all the hub bub is about. Others, people who simply saw a poster and grew intrigued, are drawn to Her for inexplicable reasons. When everyone is together, we’re all one group of Her children, and to my surprise, I am at ease with them.

In anticipation of these visits, there are different things going on in my head. Conscious worries are thought bubbles you might picture in the forefront of my cranium. In the rear, are the less conscious thoughts I touch upon now and again, things I don’t think about too much, but which are present none the less. There are visits when I have something quite specific on my mind; for example, 2007 in Manhattan when I needed a job. But at other visits, like this one, my immediate needs and those of my family are well met, and I’m without worry. I look forward to being with my mother until my heart is fully bloomed like a lotus flower, and I’ve achieved a state of complete childlike openness. Only then, when my defenses are completely down, am I truly in the moment and being myself for myself. Then, the pure love of Mother’s divine energy permeates every fiber, every cell, of my being, and whatever cellular and karmic restructure She wills can occur.

The tightest group of Amma’s volunteers are all warm and welcoming people who asked Leslie and I to the host’s home to receive Her. I was so excited about it! Amma ran so late, Leslie and I had to leave to get Elizabeth at school. In the past, I’ve been in conflict between the love and needs of my family, versus my desire put everything, even them on hold, when Amma is in town. This trip highlighted how I’ve grown to better understand this dynamic, which is in essence an extension of understanding my boundaries at work and home, as well, all most pertinent lessons. So, when dealing with the volunteers, who tried to pull me in deeply because I am a very organized and task oriented person, I heeded my boundaries, to successfully balance the love of my spiritual mother with that of my family. Having to leave early, although disappointing, was part of that lesson.

Finally, after all the anticipation and preparation, I saw Amma as she arrived at the church in Palo Alto for the first night’s program. She was positively radiant in a pink sari as she reflected back the love of her children who worked so hard to make her visit possible. The color of Ma’s sari is always significant to me. At times it offers a hint to Her mood. Will she be the warm and understanding mother, full of cookies and acknowledgement? Or will she be the stern and serious mother, with intense and at times frightening expectations and little time for goofing around. I’ve seen both. She was draped in pink, which, like the color of rose quartz, is indicative of love and fertility, all appropriate to Spring. Fertility isn’t just about making babies. It frequently refers to a ripening of purpose, activity, creativity or ideas, as well as countless other circumstances which quicken in manifestation.

Her sari couldn’t be more appropriate, I thought standing there watching Her, and feeling wonderful. She is the embodiment of Spring time, as well as the living incarnation of the Goddess.

Thus far, and even though I’d seen Her for only a moment, Amma’s visit was an affirmation. Between the spring time symbolism, the squirrels and the nuts, I heard Her loud and clear. I had an entire day of individual blessings ahead of me and then the homa, or vedic fire ceremony, which is one of my favorite parts. What I heard the loudest, however, even beyond my own persona lessons, was that in Her eyes, we are all the same. Beneath the often disruptive layers of our personality, that which is simply our nature, we are all Her children. And in that, we are worthy of love.

Each and every one of us is a keeper of the most precious god/goddess force, which resides, at times forgotten, in our hearts.

Note: The photograph above is owned by SMVA Trust.

1 comment:

A.Venefica said...

If I may reciprocate by pointing out some delicious highlights in this post that really spoke to me...

"Divine Mother....knowing what cosmic carrot to dangle before our hungry eyes."Holy Vegetation! That's rich and poignant.

"my heart is fully bloomed like a lotus flower, and I’ve achieved a state of complete childlike openness."I, like many others, can really relate to this statement.

"It [the concept of fertility] frequently refers to a ripening of purpose, activity, creativity or ideas, as well as countless other circumstances which quicken in manifestation."This statment sizzles. Outstanding.

Mostly, I love the theme of acceptance in your post.

Amma's eyes reflect that total acceptance for the whole of each person, and that's such a rare gift to receive...indeed, I wonder if enough folks can even detect that glimmery cue....that accepting glow radiating from one such as Amma - one who is genuinely "hooked in" to the Source as Human/Divine connections are designed to be.

I also appreciate the growth and milestones you share. I love being reminded of our progress...even when, in the midst of it, it seems there is no growth.

Progress is never truly linear, so it can be hard to measure...I like how you confirm that, indeed, we're all moving and evolving on our Paths (even if it seems we're sometimes standing still).

I want to know more about the devotee of Amma you mention specifically...the one you'd seen only in photographs, but detected a remarkable change in. I'm curious about her metamorphosis, and how that came about. Perhaps it came from being in the presence of her Spiritual Mother. Or, perhaps, as you said, her transformation was due to her trip to India. I'd like to know more. Maybe you'll share in the next installment.

In anticipation & gratitude for the gifts you share,

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