This is a story of the divine. A real living breathing being, who took my heart to the moon and beyond. It is a story of experience through and with God. Experiences that changed my life into something greater than I could ever imagine. Some are simple and some are beyond words. But the lessons are clear. We are all connected. We are all one. There is no you or I. Just us. There is something greater than ourselves. We only need to reach out and touch it. I dare you to open your mind and heart and read. Remember your Self and become that in which you are….
I was born in the Midwest in the fall of 74’. I had a head of fiery red hair, which fell out after a few months and grew into a bright blinding white. I grew up with a childhood that would make me a part of who I am today. As a young child I could feel the divine. I remember I would often talk to plants, trees, and grass, as if they could truly understand me without hesitation. I remember a sense of just – being. I continuously had conversations with God in my mind as if he were a best friend of mine.
Growing up we went to a catholic church until I was around the age of 5 or 6. My parent had lost hope in the church, I suppose, I never really knew the real answer. Around 9 or 10 years I would play with friends in the neighborhood and on one occasion, I was invited to church by a friend. We went to their Sunday school. I loved every minute of it. I soon invited all my friends to come and join in. A big van would drive up on Sunday morning and carry us off to church for more fun and divine inspiration. Several months later my father put a damper on that by telling me he didn’t want me to go because it wasn’t our religion. I was dishearten, but time went by as always.
In my teen years, around 13 or 14 I had the desire to be a nun. I felt the divine pull so strongly. I truly thought that was the life for me. I just didn’t know how to accomplish this and was too embarrassed to ask questions. Who would understand? My parents? Friends? Certainly not! Somehow I grew out and grew up.
In high school one of my friends was a Jehovah’s Witness. I found her religion very interesting and beautiful. She brought me a bible and some other little things entirely free. I use to stare at that bible on occasion late at night. Most nights. It had full colored pictures and a beautiful interpretation of ‘heaven’. Oh! How I wanted to be there. I would stare and stare and dream about such a place. At one point I had honestly thought of becoming a Jehovah’s Witness I was so captured by the beauty and honesty of their religion. But it wasn’t meant to be. The passion for God was still there – still searching for that precious something that was missing.
I grew into a woman of 19 and met my ex-husband in the year of 93’. It was a good year. I was working with children, which I passionately love and had the love of my life – even if he was a bit strange. My ex would often meditate which I found so strange as I had never seen or heard of anything like it. But I accepted him for who he was and two years later we married in the spring of May 95’and he opened me up to another world.
Five months later I became pregnant with our first child. When I was six months pregnant I took leave of work to raise our little ones. Sitting on the couch a book appeared before me that my husband had bought, although not necessarily for him. The peculiar thing about it is, he bought it for no one in particular and it sat there for many months getting pushed back down to the bottom of a pile of books only to keep reappearing suspiciously on different occasions.
On this particular occasion I picked the book up out of boredom and curiosity and began to read, and as I read…. my life began to change. There was a new road ahead and all I could see was beauty winding down the path to wide open wonder. The book was Mother Mary’s Message to the World by Annie Kirkwood. It was a very simple book. Yet it set my spirit on fire. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to find more. I picked up another book The Teachings and Comparisons of Jesus and the Buddha. Again, simple, but stirring my soul into complete wonderment.
At this time things were beginning to change physically as well as in my mind and soul. I started to wonder if I could begin to change my thinking about God? Change all I had grown up with. That God wasn’t just a little old man upstairs, but a real essence that breathed and lived within every one of His creations. Would my mind change it’s way of thinking after a lifetime of imagining God as some far away being who looked down on us? How could I just believe in something else? How could I change my thinking?
Whether it was days or years I do not know. I only know that my simplemindedness changed as my eager learning for true knowledge grew. My mind, spirit and soul would expand into a mighty miracle garden of sweet bliss.
My daughter came in the fall of 96’ with a bright red head and a pair of lungs that wailed like a banshee. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on and I had never felt such bliss in my life. What else can I say?
We welcomed her home. Nurtured her with love and care, not without our first parent struggles, and enjoyed every moment of her cooings, babbles, and toddlings. How innocent and precious. It reminds me of something my Guru says: Have the innocent mind of a child. If you tell a child “There is a Goddess in that room” they will have no doubt that it is truth.
Many months went by and after many diapers and sleepless nights my search carried on into another book. It was a book that would change my life drastically, turning my world upside down and around again. It was a deeply spiritual book by an enlighten soul and full of answers that I had searched for my entire life long. It had real answers to my questions, a deeper truth to the Self and life.
The name of the book was The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi. I began to see the world totally different. I went through a dissolution from the world. I went through days of processing and loneliness. I felt apart, detached from everything. It was a smack in the face with reality. To know that real is unreal, backwards is forward, down is up, un-attachment was the goal, non-dualism (things appear distinct while not being separate. Such as self/other, mind/body, male/female, good/evil, active/passive, positive/negative, dualism/non-dualism). My world was spinning. He was of the path of Jnana yoga – the path of knowledge.
What happened to my world? What happened to real? Would I ever be the same? Why was I here? What was this deep longing I felt in my heart?
From that point forward I fluttered around like a butterfly from flower to flower touching on all the spiritual paths from Buddhism, Hinduism, Celtic, Pagan, Christian, Native American and more. I began experimenting with meditation on my husband’s Guru at the time – but ultimately I was still searching for something.
I started out making an Alter of my own (place of worship) with some Catholic relics I had lying around. However I never actually meditated there – it was nice to have around and although I had always written poetry it would change to something more meaningful and deeply spiritual from this point forward. I grew in spiritual discoveries and teachings as my belly grew again with our second child.
I dreamed a vision one night shortly after awakening to the divine. I walked to steps that came upon a very small and simple boat made of wood. It had a thatched roof overhead with bracelets and necklaces and other trinkets hanging from the rafters made of hemp and other naturally Earth made elements.
The boat is traveling down a river. I looked around and there were Jews, Christians, Hindu’s, Buddhist, and Native American etc. sitting on benches. At the front of the boat there is a middle aged Native American preacher woman with long black hair. She’s handing out all the little trinkets to people who wish to have them.
As we are traveling down the river they are all chanting, Amen, Om or whatever it is in their religion they would say, and as they are chanting it, it merges into the same sound. The boat then pulls off to the side of the river to an island and everyone proceeds to leave off where ever it is they are going, everyone except the Native American preacher woman.
She moves over to a large stump and is slicing up a large and spiky cactus. She is cutting it a certain way so it is easier to swallow she then takes a bite. I asked her if it hurt when she swallowed. She shook her head no and then showed me how to cut the cactus so that it wouldn’t hurt when eating. She offered me a bite and as I swallowed I could taste the cactus going down my throat. It didn’t hurt. I then woke up.
Upon waking I could still feel the taste of the cactus. I have no doubt in my mind even today that if I ever took a bite of cactus it would taste as it did in my vision. It would be many, many years before I would come to understand this great vision.
After this I had written my first deeply spiritul poem:
Behold! See the light!
It is upon me!
softly whispering of the Eternal Divine.
OH! The miracle of the light!
I have found you!!
We are one in the light!
Enter the spirit of the light!
It is beautiful!
It was around this time we had moved about two hours away from our original home due to my husband’s job. When moving into this new house I again set up an Alter for myself. This time I made a Native American Mandela to meditate on, as this was my supporting spiritual path at that time. I started to do a Native American visualization meditation. I would meditate consistently for a time and then go off for a time. I would also, after putting my daughter down for her nap, put on a CD of beautiful piano music and just pray my heart out to the moving music, for an entire hour everyday.
I had two visions about the moon, which at the time was a symbol of divinity for me. The first was of me by a park or roadside forest. I am looking up at the moon and mesmerized by her as she is giving off a certain hum, or smooth ringing. I have to stand in a certain spot or the sound will cease. I can feel vibrations coming from her. The moon is huge and full, half way up into the sky. I can feel its glow. When walking away the hum would leave and when walking back to the spot I could hear it again. After a while the moon starts to move and the spot changes and I couldn’t find it anymore.
Later a second vision would come with the moon passing right outside my window, silent and steady as she goes, big, and beautiful. Humming her sweet tune. Her message was quite clear.
At one point I wanted to find my ‘animal totem’ as sort of a spiritual guide. So I prayed for my totem to come to me, not expecting it to come anytime soon, willing to patiently wait for many months. But the same night I prayed, a dream came. It started out with an image of a seal in a doorway looking at me, behind him a white light. This was a ‘seal of approval’. The doorway symbolized an opening for new ideas, understanding and knowledge. A hawk came next with an extremely exaggerated beak, meaning he had something to say, to tell, to speak. I wasn’t listening so he began pecking at my leg and made me bleed. This was to get my attention. I can only imagine this was to wake me from deep sleep and into lucid dreaming so that I would remember the events that were occurring. The hawk is considered a messenger bird for Native Americans. Finally my totem appeared. I am petting a red fox on the belly. His fur was soft. I repeatedly stroked his belly back and forth and at the end he curled up on my head and went to sleep.
I recall another dream I had around this time where I walked into an enormous tree (tree of life) and all around there were doors, although I aware of them they never drew my interest, what drew my interest was in the center of the room there was a giant book. It was the book of life. I remember opening the book and knew everything. Simply everything. When I closed the book I had forgotten everything.
After many months later my spiritual reading continued to touched on all religions, but I felt a great need to find something to connect with at this point, something tangible and real. Something I could relate to. I needed something more. Mother Mary had always been in my life since reading that first book that set my soul to flame, even to this day. My foundation was built on Christianity and the catholic religion. It’s something I knew. Something I could relate with. She was the ‘Goddess’ to whom I prayed when praying, as well as Jesus. But at this point I had no solid foundation on who or what I was, what I would become. I had only questions and no answer. I had snippets of this or that, but nothing that connected them together, except myself. I needed a whole, a foundation, I needed real, I needed to feel that divine presence in my life. Not just to know it, but to feel it in my fiber. I was lost.
I had come to a dead stop with my meditation and I remember walking to my dusty Alter and breaking down crying out deep within my soul “Mother Mary I don’t even know if you’re dead or alive!” Meaning I couldn’t see if God were real or it was just in my head. I was disheartened. Somehow I had lost my way and my faith.
About a week later my ex and I went to take our daughter to the park. We were walking around and a woman walked up to me and handed me a pamphlet and walked away without saying a word – smiling as she went. After she left I looked down to see what she had handed me and on the cover read: “Mother Mary: Dead or Alive?” I new then…. the universe was listening. I knew then God was there. My faith was restored into a new vibrating world of beauty. God was real.
I went home to change my Alter into something that would speak to my heart. So I taught myself the entire rosary and decorated my Alter with pictures of Mother Mary and a small card of Jesus near by. I would recite the rosary day in and day out. I had never felt such peace at this time. I still remember the feeling of bliss, as if the divine were walking along the side of me and were residing in every room of my home.
By this time my belly expanded and burst into a tiny baby girl born two weeks early. She was a little bundle of pure joy. Her big sister couldn’t wait to hold her and became the comedian for her little sibling. Always making her little sister laugh and laugh, while she carried on like the little ham she was. It was the summer of 98’.
The river of life carried us into challenge after challenge through the next few years and we pushed through each endeavor as best we could. Babies grew into toddlers. Jobs were changing and left behind as we moved back to the city we had previously left.
When the new millennia came I felt changed at midnight. I do not know why or how. It was as if I was anticipating something or waiting for something to follow. Something was going to change and it was a time when celebrations were going on all over the world. I wept into the New Year. It felt like something wonderful and joyous was taking place and I was eager to see it unfold.
I read more books and grew into more spiritual knowledge and learning. I felt myself flying from flower to flower a little too often. As the saying goes if you dig several shallow holes to find water, you’ll never find it, but if you dig deep enough, into one hole, there is a well of wealth.
I made a conscious decision to follow one true path. I dug in deep to every color of the rainbow far and wide. Searching for a religion that would sing to my soul. I came to the conclusion after my long hard search that Hinduism in its rich and vibrant culture was the one for me. It had answers to my questions, a real knowledge about God. It was wealthy, it was ancient, and it was truth to my tender beating heart.
I donated all other books I had on other religions so that I would not be distracted and refused to read any spiritual books on other religions for a very long time. I sank into my beloved Hinduism one book at a time, deeper and deeper I fell.
I wanted a Goddess influence and picked out Saraswati- The Goddess of Learning and Knowledge. I prayed for a beautiful picture to meditate on and the very next day one came in the mail on the cover of a magazine which neither my husband nor I had ordered. I immediately cut it into a frame and hung it up on my Alter. I was set!
I began to ask my husband about a female Guru in the Hindu tradition. “Why aren’t there any female Guru’s? Where are they?” He told me that they were out there, you just have to look. I didn’t go looking for her, but rather .…. she ….came looking for me.
Another magazine came by way of mail, again, neither my husband nor I ordered, with an article about Mata Amritanandamayi Ma – The Mother of Immortal Bliss or simply known as Amma or Mother. She was said to be the reincarnation of Kali. She was vibrant, real and beautiful. I went out to get as much information on her as I could put my hands on. I had bought many books and somehow mistakenly bought other books on another Amma said to be the reincarnation of Saraswati. My Goddess! I wanted HER to be my Guru. Sweet, soft spoken, lovely, Saraswati.
But…. my true Guru, who had a little more ‘kick’, pulled me by the collar and wouldn’t let go. As if to say “You need someone with a firmer hand to your back side!” By the time I figured out I had mixed them all up – I had become attached and drunk on the divine bliss of Mata Amritanandamayi. I was gone and never going to hit the ground again. The new millennia. A New Year. A new start. A new teacher to light my way.
I cut and framed pictures, lovingly placing them on my Alter. It would be the last time my Alter would change. For the next four years I meditated on Amma’s picture. She grew from Guru to God. She grew more and more into my heart – filling it with the sweet nectar of knowledge. My faith grew stronger and stronger. I had found my Guru. My peace. My rock. My truth.
Things became busy during the next handful of years. Children grew. Jobs, again, came and went and our marriage became strained with all sorts of struggles. A storm was brewing and I could feel it in my soul. I had a dream that I was on a boat that was rocking from side to side on the huge wide ocean. Water was pouring in from all sides of the boat, crashing down title wave after title wave. I was holding on for dear life – I dare not let go or be swallowed up by the angry ocean. Looking up I see a tiny cup glued to the top of the boat and from within the cup water is bubbling up spilling all over as if to tell me … ‘my cup runneth over’.
In the crazy ocean of life in the summer of 03’, the storm had arrived, the torrential waves finally caught up, we were suffocating and choking on our misery. Our marriage had taken its last thread and broken in two.
The pain was immense. Unattachment is a hard lesson to learn, mutual or not. I remember crying soulfully from the bottom of my heart. I was lying on our bed exhausted when a song popped into my head out of nowhere. It was a song I hadn’t heard in decades, a voice reaching out from the light into my darkness. “Oooo child, things are going to get easier, Oooo child things are going to get brighter”. I walked away that day knowing …I was being carried by the universe.
We went in peace. We had learned all we could from each other. It was time to journey on our own. Our paths grew into different directions, they were to lead us to the same destination, but with a different route to get there.
With great pain comes great transformation. The challenging times made me who and what I am today. I learned a new independence and freedom that would never leave me again. I was standing on my own two feet. It was sink or swim and all I could think about were my two little girls who were hanging on to me as their life raft. I could not fail them. I had to swim. No matter how much the current pulled me down, I had to fight to stay upstream.
As the years rolled by between 2000 and 2003, the physical form of Amma came and went to various cities throughout the U.S. I never once thought of going to see her. I saw her as unreachable. The top of the mountain and I without my climbing gear. It would be in my wildest dreams that I would ever see her face to face.
But in 2004 someone planted a seed within my mind that grew into a thought of going to see her. She was to come to Iowa, a city not far from where I live.
Do I dare? How would I travel? My mind began racing in thoughts. I began to feel a burning in my soul that could not be denied. A calling that would not be ignored.
They say you do not choose your Guru, your Guru chooses you as in my case with Saraswati I learned that first hand. My Guru had already had me by the hand and wouldn’t let go. They also say, when you are fully ready to be devoted to the spiritual path, your Guru will call. My Guru was speaking loud and clear. The desire to come and see her grew until it was burning in every cell of my body and there was absolutely no way to deny it. It was as if a flurry or flake had gently tumbled down a large mountain but began rolling itself, gaining speed, into a huge boulder of snow. It was time to go.
On the ride up, I was a ball of nerves and excitement. I was going to see Amma, whom I had perceived as God for four years. I keep chanting over and over “I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this!” I wondered about all the strange people I would meet. All the strange customs I would see. Would I feel like an outsider? Would I know what to do? IS this my real Guru? What if she doesn’t give me a mantra? That means she isn’t my Guru. What will I do?
As we approached the door I became shaky and nervous. I was trembling like a leaf in the wind. The time was here. All I had to do was walk through the door.
I took off my shoes out of respect for the Guru and walk through the threshold. My body and soul immediately felt at peace. My first thought bubbled up …..I’m home. I cannot explain this thought anymore than that, infact it wasn't a thought at all, but a feeling. A feeling of being in the right place at the right time. I knew it was where I was MEANT to be. It was the first time I had ever felt such a feeling and it felt like ...home.
I was then lead up to see Amma, all I could see from this point was a flash of white. As I came up to the side my eyes rested on her face, and all I could do was weep. I sat about 2 feet away and gazed upon her for the next 6 hours without a blink. I just stared, watching her hug child after child. Her beaming smile, her radiant eyes, and her transparent heart. I felt her love, her compassion, and her divine essence in every action. I couldn’t look away for even a second. I was transfixed, mesmerized and humbled. All the while she would glance at me here or there as if to say “I know you’re here.”
The next few hours were a dance of me getting to know my physical mother. The way she moved. The way she talked. The way she laughed. The way she loved. She was beyond words. A radiant light in my darkness.
The time had come for my darshan (hug). I went into the darshan line and proceeded to follow it up to the embodiment of divine love, Amma. My first physical meeting with the woman I called mother for so, so long, but never met.
My time had come. I was gently pushed into her lap and all thought had left my mind, bliss filled my soul, and a hushed peace fell over me. My heart found home but my mind was still in a disbelieving struggle.
I became blissed out for the next few hours and went to do some seva (selfless service). As I was cutting up veggies there was a picture of Amma above on a shelf. I kept staring at it and then I became her and she became me. I felt as if I were staring at my own self in the picture. There was no her or I, just one. Like looking into a mirror image. It was unexplainable and went on for the next few hours.
After my seva I went back to the hall to find a close seat near Amma and gazed on her form for hours. It was then time for her to get up. As she was getting ready to leave I rushed up to the door where everyone lines up to see her pass by. She approaches me and started to ‘go off’ with attitude in Malayalam with her hand pointing at me up and down. It was as if to say “Daughter, it is about time you came to see me! I have waited long enough! Where have you been!” She then turned away with a mischievous smile and I heard “it’s OK” in my mind crystal clear. She was merely playing with me.
I spiraled into pure delight. I couldn’t fathom why she would talk to ME – a nobody. But there in lies the message – to her we are each individually special. We are all her children and she holds us all close to her heart. I realized I wasn’t just a nameless face in a sea of faces. She knows each and every child and no one is ever a ‘nobody’ in her eyes.
It was the next day and the time had come to find out if this would be my true Guru. I was to ask for my mantra, if she said yes, it would confirm it. I didn’t know what to expect. I feared that she would deny my heart. I had to keep breathing deeply to calm my nerves. I had to keep playing in my head over and over the two words that would decide my future – “Amma, Mantra?”
I was next. As I was thrust forward I pushed the two words out of my gut and through my lips – “Amma Mantra?” Her complete form turned, changed and lit up into a thousand radiant smiling suns. She was transformed into a Goddess. It was an awesome and humbling sight. She beamingly smiled at me as she shook her head in the affirmative and gave me a big verbal “YEEEEEES!” She new how much her yes meant to me. How long I waited. From that moment on I became ......deeply...... humbled. I was hers. She would take me under her wing and guide me to liberation whether in this lifetime or the next. She would be the one to take me to eternal freedom. It would be the only time I would see her transform into a Goddess to this day. Oh, how my heart will never forget.
Hours later as I came to sit by Amma later that night the darkness in my mind slowly began to bleed into doubt. My mind began to analyze everything she did. Why is she drinking water? Why is she coughing? Why is she scratching? Why is she doing all these very human things? This is not God! My mind was at war with my heart.
I later went to sleep overhead to the sound of bhajans (devotional music) down below, all the while my mantra chanting itself in my head. I awoke two hours later tired and sleepy. (Amma gives darshan endlessly sometimes up to fifteen hours straight). I came over to sit on the side of the railing and look down on Amma’s face. As I looked down, her eyes were ever radiant as the morning and her smile was beaming brighter than ever. Hours and hours had pasted and it was four in the morning, no sign of tiredness, never a yawn the entire few days I had watched her, no sluggishness, no nothing. She was accepting another and another and another as if it had been a fresh morning and an old dear friend she couldn’t wait to hug. Smiling and laughing and playing as if that were the only person she had to see.
It was then.... that it all clicked in my soul. It was then.... that it fell into my mind and heart.... completely. It was then that I realized absolutely without a doubt………..this………..was God. It was pure and simple. Yet it went ever so deep within me, where there was no depth to speak of. It was THE turning point, in which, I would put all my faith in her fully. It was then… that I would lay myself down and surrender to her completely. It was in that small moment in time…that my life…would never….be the same. I… would never be the same. All I could do was relinquish everything to her as silent tears wept down my checks.
My life long searching had ended. It was then she looked up at me with a beaming smile of pure grace and love.
I prayed for you and you came.
You drew me in like a moth to a flame.
With your beautiful way of bizarre
You were every beat of my heart.
With every stroke, dash, and prose,
You became the poet of my soul,
You spoke of truth and love divine,
And in my heart became enshrined.
I with no mind to debut,
Thoughts of ever meeting were few.
Three summers came to pass,
And on the fourth we meet alas.
There was a burning in my soul,
A blaze that burned out of control,
Day by day intensifying,
Your provoking there’s no denying.
On a journey to your door,
As I set out to explore
What it was in our meeting that I’d find
Driving on as the world falls behind me.
Thoughts were stretched across my mind
Bout’ how our lives would become entwined,
I arrived - walked through the door,
Before the hall, shoes on the floor
Into the entrance hall - stepped through,
Finally making my debut,
“Your home” my heart melts,
With all the serenity I felt.
All tranquility seeps in,
As my journey to you begins,
And I creep up to your chair,
Setting eyes upon on you there.
Tears roll down my face,
As I watch you embrace,
Child after child like your own,
And suddenly my heart cries “You're home!”
Emotion keep rushing through,
After hours of watching you,
And I - with eagle eyes,
Try to glimpse at your disguise.
A gesture here, a flourish there,
A drink, a cough, a laugh – beware,
My mind kicked, screamed and fought,
As I became very deep in thought“
“This is not God! This is all wrong!
How long will this go on?!”
My mind immersed in erratic doubt,
Trying to figure out what you were all about.
My heart it understood,
That you were pure hearted and good,
My mind was reluctant to agree,
And I went in search of a place just to be.
I went to sleep a few hours that night,
Up above you, out of sight,
Bhajans playing loudly down below,
As I drifted off to sleep ever so.
When I awoke two hours hence,
I came to sit along the fence,
Down below you still embraced another child,
And your face looked up at me – a gleaming smile.
It was then my mind and heart,
Latched onto all that you impart,
As tears sprawled down my face and sleepy cheek,
Not a single word for me to speak.
You took my voice and thoughts away,
Who could sit there like that all day?
No break, no rest or yawn for me to see,
It was then my mind and heart did believed.
God in a white robed disguise,
A guru all-knowing and wise,
I was born again on this very day,
The moment that you looked my very way!
Something simple bout’ you there,
With your wild Kali hair,
Strewn around your face all aglow,
As you embrace each and every tiny soul.
How I behold all you impart,
From any other – set apart,
With all the love and compassion you imbue,
There could never be another just like you.
You’re a special gift to all those who see,
How you’ve conquered the world’s seven seas,
Our million hearts and minds in awe of you,
As you show us to the way of Eternal Truth.
Our first meeting was coming to and end. My heart was in total grief. I cried out over and over again “Don’t leave me Mother! I can’t live without you! How can you leave this daughter behind! Please let me come to see you every year! Don’t let this be the end!” I cried out from the agonizing pain of separation. I felt that I couldn’t bare to be away from her. I didn’t want to live in the real world anymore. There was nothing for me there. I thought of no one but her. I was in utterly deep sorrow. I cried over and over again. It was a grief I had never experienced in my life. I felt lost. A child without her mother. I was sinking in sorrow.
I was then in line for my last hug. Constantly in grief and chanting “How can you leave this daughter?” I felt helpless, like a baby. I gently fell into her lap, she gave me a big hug then let go and gazed into my eyes with a smile, pulled me down again, and gave me a squeeze with a big ‘humph’. She knew. There was reassurance. I still went to cry away my sorrows, but knew that somehow things would work out given time, for now, this is how it had to be.
I sat gazing silently at my new found Mother whom I finally met after waiting many, many lifetimes to feel her warm embrace. She then left through the crowd, and brushed my hand as she passed, a silent goodbye.
An unexplainable experience that changed me in such deep ways, no words could ever truly explain my meeting of the divine. A rare and precious gift, that will never be forgotten, in the life or the next. I was a lonely daughter waiting for the next time I could set eyes upon my Mother. She was all I could ever think about. All I cried for. I had no desire for anything else. Everything reminded me of her, a smile, a child, a rain cloud, or a song.
Then I saw her face
Now I'm a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I'm in love
I'm a believer
I couldn't leave her if I tried
I was in a blissful state for the next three months afterwards. Singing devotional music, meditating, chanting my new mantra where and when I could. My bond and faith grew to enormous heights. They would never waver again. I had a new foundation to firmly plant my feet on. A happiness and bliss that would permeate into everyone and everything I touched.
Eventually, of course, reality slapped back into life. I came out of my blissful state to brave the ever rushing current of life once again. Work my nine to five job, raising my two girls on pennies and struggling to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Oh, yes, life would go on, but, this time, I had a raft to hang on to myself. One that wouldn’t let go, even if I did.
It is said once a Guru has you, like a head in the lion’s mouth, they will not let go. They will keep reincarnating until you have reached final liberation. I have yet to tell you otherwise and have found myself to stray from the path, from time to time only to have Mother come screaming at me like a wild banshee from somewhere beyond.
I was dirt poor at this point in my life and my entire trip was donated by a group of Amma devotees. The gratitude in which I owe them will be forever in my debt. God had moved mountains for me. I saw her as unreachable and after meeting her I now know that anything in life can be attain just by reaching out for it. Never accept what life gives you, get what you deserve out of life. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. How true those words are and how far they have taken me with my own journey.
I would meet Amma again in the summer of 05’. This time I would take my daughters with me. It was not the same ‘humble’ experience I had the first time. I knew what to expect at this point and knew she was a little more approachable than I had imagined the first time.
My girls were able to sit with Amma during meditation, which is a rare treat. Small children are the only ones allowed to do this. Oh how I wish I were a small child!
Having darshan that year was an unexplainable experience. I was pulled in for a hug while she was getting ready to bless our family with a hand full of flower petals, I thought she was giving me a heresy kiss, which is what she traditionally does, but she knew, she dropped the petals, picked up a kiss and handed it to me. She gave me a kiss and pulls me back in for another hug and I looked deep into her eyes, there was something there that I couldn’t explain. She was showing me a jewel in her treasure, a part of who or what she was, her divinity, her bliss, that she wasn’t just a human form, but something more, she was only acting, like a character in a play and she had the staring roll.
When this trip ended I was left with pure energy. Everyone that came in contact with me kept noticing how much energy I had. That something was there but they couldn’t quite put their finger on. I cleaned, I worked, I couldn’t sit down.
During this meeting with Amma my experience was not what it was the first time I met her. I felt neglected and disappointed in myself for lack of spiritual progress. I had no one to blame but myself. When reaching home I remember thinking “How will I ever reach my goal? It’s too hard Amma! I can’t do it! What do I do? Where do I go from here? Is it even real?” Sometimes my mind felt as though Amma were a dream and that I would wake up and find her peace and solitude gone from my grasp.
The next morning still feeling quite lonely and as if I’d never reach my goal, I inexplicably pick up an Amma book, flipped to a page and began reading. ‘Do not think, "How is it possible to reach that state? I can never attain Liberation. Through our prayers and sadhana (spiritual practices), we can slowly reach the goal. Always remember that the transitory happiness is wrapped in sorrow. Through self-control the mind is purified and becomes powerful enough to realize God. Child through cultivation of good character, good thoughts and through the company of saints and sages we can remove three quarters of our negative tendencies. Yet it is only after the attainment of realization that all negative tendencies will be destroyed. Therefore, without being afraid, dejected or in a brooding mood, proceed towards the goal.’
Well, if that didn’t slap me in the face and scream “HELLOOOOOOOOO I’M RIIIIIIIIIGHT HEREEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Quit being such a big baby!!!!!”
She had answered me from this book as if she were sitting in my very own living room. “I’m here, Don’t be lonely. Here is how. Stop brooding, Keep going!”
I would vow with my new strong determination, unlimited energy and Amma’s guidance and grace I would make more progress in the coming year.
I had learned that even though my Mother was miles and miles away in physical form her divinity was ever circling and ready to slap me in the face at any given moment! Throughout the year I would make good on my promise and Mother would reward me beyond belief at our next meeting.
In January of 06’ we invited one of the Swamis to come and teach us a meditation that Amma had developed when she was younger. It was said to be like a rocketship to liberation. After many years of this meditation I feel as if Amma sits and resides in my heart minute by minute.
The next several months went by in a fast fury of blurs, life went on as it would, hardships and all and soon it was time to see her once again in the summer of 06. This would be an experience to last a million lifetimes.
I went to Dallas this particular year so that I could be alone for half of the trip and then gather up my girls and take them to see Amma in Iowa. It was a blessing. I felt I could completely absorb into her and the divine experience of it all with the distraction of little people.
She walked in and a smile brightened my face that couldn’t be wiped away. Tears rolled down my face as I watched devotees wash her divine feet at the door. “Oh Mother, its been a year since we’ve seen each other” I thought.
Later that day the time for my darshan had come, as she pulled me in for a hug I had the most unexplainable darshan I had had up to date. It put me in a strange state of mind or perhaps a better word would be….. mindlessness. At first all I could do was cry and cry and cry. It was beautiful. It was deep. It was an intense burning for Amma. I felt as if I were in an abyss of longing. There was no depth to where I went. I had no idea there were that many layers to the soul. All I could do was cry over and over “Ammaaa.. Ammaaa.. Ammaaa.” Crying deep, deep within my soul. I remember my mind fighting not to cry out loud. But it was almost beyond my control. There was a moment I almost let the gut wrenching utterance fly free and then I awoke and it was gone.
The next day was Devi Bhava (the embodiment of the divine goddess). Devotees dress her up in a beautiful Sari and crown. Before arriving here at the program I had been praying to Amma to see her in a red sari. It was my favorite color and I had imaged dressing her in red on countless occasions through out the previous year. On this night some devotees and I were in our hotel room and as we left I told them “If Amma wears a red sari it will be an answer to this child’s prayers”.
We took our seats on the floor and I told the people next to us my longing wish to see her in red. As soon as she appeared, the two ladies and my friend looked at me saying “Wow!” Another friend, who was far way, was frantically looking for me in the crowd to see my face. Of course…I didn’t really expect her to fulfill my wishes…. but…there she was…. so radiant…so beautiful…. so red…I bowed my head in humility to the divine mothers grace. How she must love us so much to answer each and every tiny sincere prayer. She spoils us so.
At one point during this program I had my vedic astrology chart read. One of the things he told me is that I was in fear of the lion and I needed to become the lion! I remember asking myself “How do I become that?” Amma answered by “By leading with your heart!”
At the end of Devi Bhava Amma showers blessings on everyone by tossing flower petals on everyone’s heads. By this point we have all been awake for two days straight. I was falling asleep while standing up and I thought I’d fall to the gound at any moment. My legs were, literally, barely holding up my frame. Amma of course leaves with a radiant smile on her face as always. Only God can do that!
In Iowa with my girls darshans came and went and the end was fast approaching. I kept wanting to go back to bed for the long trip home but children who belonged to a friend of mine kept insisting I stay as if my life depended on it. I finally broke down and sat back on the floor. Fine!
It was at this time that one of the Swami’s came over the intercom and announced that we would be celebrating Guru Poornima!!! My heart was spinning in a thousand different directions! Since the year 2000 I have so longed to experience Guru Poornima with my Guru! It was a chance for me to give thanks to Amma for being my Guru and for her leading me to my goal of eternal liberation. Oh Amma, Amma, you are too much for this child, who knows nothing of devotion. Why do I come to know of such blessings? How did I become a lucky one with you? What did I do to deserve such an experience?
We sang bhajans from midnight on about the Guru.
After that…..it became very humbling….
All of the staff who toured with Amma received darshan. One lady sitting next to me pointed out that the lady who prepared Amma’s meals, who never received darshan was being embraced. Next all the Swamis came up to Amma’s right side, garlanding and prostrating at her feet, while also being embraced, one by one. All the garlands were exceptionally beautiful and to see her accept them with such grace was beyond words. She had to keep taking them off as there were so many and they were so heavy.
I became even more deeply humbled at seeing such things and my mind and heart turned inward. I started to cry and give my own thanks to Amma. For being in my life. For being my Guru. For having the compassion to take human form, to show us love and true selflessness.
There were no words to interpret this unexplainable experience of worshiping the Guru. The humbleness it brings. The realization of what she does for each of us came up in my mind effortlessly. It felt like the divinity within came to help me understand the true meaning of what was taking place in front of me and the meaning of Guru, Saint, and God. Humbleness does not come close to expression. No words can.
Big Swami then washed Mother’s feet so tenderly as Amma looked out into the crowd so lovingly. The divine love was radiating from her eyes, smile and entire face as I had never seen it before. She was so ………Divine….Divine.
She has said to her disciples that if we were to really see her true form it would be overwhelming and that we couldn't bear it so she covers herself in a thick layer of illusion. On Devi Bhava she removes a layer or two but on Guru Purnima she must have removed a thousand...
We then proceeded to chant the 1008 names of the Divine Mother. Big Swami did this with the utmost devotion as he clutched the petals into his hand, pulled them up to his great big heart, and showered them on Mother’s feet.
What words next? What are words? Words have no meaning. Love, love, love. Love for Big Swami. Love for Amma. Amma is love. Love is love.
Is there a name when love meets love?
Words are hindrances. Not even the word
LOVE can utter meaning!
Looking at you, looking at me and my heart is
blooming into a hundred blossoms entirely for you.
My velvet petals falling slowly one by one, offerings
at your feet. The sun rises in your face and sets
in my heart.
Looking at you looking at me, a new era is
reaching shore and devotion crashes down on my heart
like a ferocious waterfall. Where are the lyrical
words that depict your love? What can I do but
wordlessly love the echo of your silence?
After this we were showered with more flower petals. She even threw flowers at a computer screen for her beloved children back in India. As she went to change from Devi Bhava to Amma Mama in her typical white sari, she started to call people back who were already leaving. “Come back, don’t leave” she said in English. We all came running up quickly to Mother as she told us she had prasad (blessed food) to give us. She handed this out to hundreds if not closer to a thousand people in under five minutes. “Quickly, quickly, hurry, fast, fast,” she says in English. When she was finished. She took some prasad for herself and said in English “For my children who are not here, I eat prasad”. She then goes up and down turning around in place and says “Feeding child, feeding child, feeding ALL my children in the world”. Rest assured that every soul on earth was being fed by the Divine Mother at that moment. She did not forget a single child.
As my friend and I were leaving, another unexpected blessing came my way. Amma’s pada puja water was being handed out. Pada puja is worshiping the Guru’s feet. It is said to bestow great blessings on anyone who drinks from it. I scrambled to get my share. It was to taste of sweet nectar and bliss.
It was beyond my comprehension. How lucky I am to have Amma come in such a loving way year after year after year to so patiently take me to my goal. I again felt as altered as I had the first year I met her. It went beyond intellect. Oh, how I couldn’t wait to be rid of this silly creature called ego.
Every year my experience continued to grow into something more beautiful than the next. Mother’s teachings lead me deeper and deeper within, tearing away dark doors and exploring deep down where there is no measure of depth. My journey still continues for eternal freedom but my search for the divine has been fulfilled. Whether I will reach my destination in this lifetime or the next only Amma knows.
Lessons would continue to follow me through out life. One day after driving home from work there was a lady on the corner by the roadside, normally I would never stop, but on this particular occasion I was drawn to the side of the road almost without control. All around me were crumbling buildings. The neighborhood was desolate. I drove this way to work every day since our work moved to the big city.
My mind was blank and couldn’t think at first but I wondered what she needed. I thought perhaps she needed a ride. As I pulled the window down she then asked for money to buy kerosene to light her home. I immediately became angry and pulled off. I was berating myself for pulling over in the first place in such a neighborhood.
The next day she was there again. And again I passed by without a thought in my head. Speeding off as I became angry once more at her begging. I tried to let it go but there was something there I couldn’t put my finger on. As if some unforeseen force had erased something from my mind.
It was then we went on a small mid west tour with one of the Swami’s to different locations. He was giving a speech about beggars. It hit me. Like a ton of bricks. What had I done! What was I thinking!! My God! What a fool I was! It was Amma! She was the beggar woman. I then remembered the feeling of her divine presences as I approached the corner! I remember the radiant face and plea of the beggar woman. I had failed the test. Upon returning home afterwards I would look for this beggar for many weeks never to see here again. But I would never forget her or the lesson that lied within.
I had another sad story that would stay in my heart. It was down the same road in the dead of winter on one of the coldest nights you could imagine. A woman was sitting on a doorstep with no coat or blanket. The first day I passed thinking “My god is that her home? Where is her coat? Isn’t she cold?” The second day again I passed and she was sitting there with the frozen snow all around her. “Does she live there? Does she need a blanket?” On the third night, on the steps, the wind was blowing fast and furious, snow all around, while the woman still sat. I burst into pure compassionate tears, crying out to Amma “Please, please, find her somewhere warm. If that is her home let her have a blanket and heat, if not lead her somewhere that she’ll never be cold. Oh Amma can you imagine how horribly cold she must be! What kind of Mother would leave her child in this?”
After that night, I never saw her again.
I then put into poetry four very powerful experiences that changed me in someway, Amma, the lady that handed me the pamphlet of Mother Mary, the lady that needed kerosene for her home, and the lady sitting on stairs in the white snow.
Out of Ash and Brick
My night eyes they slumbered
And dreamt of moon and stars
Voice and hands reached out
A window of wisdom imparted.
A unicorn strolled in my garden
Moon-walked down my way
Conveyed scripts of insight
Smiled and turned away.
A dragon at the village bend
Out of ash and brick she called
To light her castle halls.
Outside a fallen angel
On heavenly white stairs
Winter night had fallen
So I sent her home with prayers.
Four times you came to tutor
From ships and stormy seas
You’re master of the voyage
So I’ll let my sails fly free.
After traveling with Swami and being in the presence of pure divine energy for many days it’s almost incomprehensible to adjust back into ‘worldliness’. As it is when leaving Amma’s programs every year. When the small tour was over, my heart was deep in sorrow. I wanted to go home to Amma. So again, I put into poetry what my heart cried out….
Amma, I am but a spec of dust in this vast universe,
How will you ever find me?
Who will pick me up out of this world of illusion.
It has taken me by the feet and won't let go.
How do I grow wings to fly?
Oh, Amma, How do I grow wings?
I am so blind in this darkness,
I can't find my way to see even the smallest hint of light.
This world is not my home,
I only find peace when I am near you.
How can I keep my mind on you,
When there is so much to take it away?
I am wandering, my Amma, I am so lost without you.
On another divine intervention I was in sorrow on how to ease the pain for me and my ex-husband’s animosity. How did it come to this? How can I bring peace? Are you proud of me? How can you be? How can you look at this child and accept me as I am? Show me that you are with me.
In the next moment a flash of Amma appeared before my mind. A commercial came on and a song played: Because I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. Your true colors ……..are beautiful…….like a rainbow. I don’t remember what the commercial was about but the message was clear.
Life has spiraled my girls and I into many different directions, far from where I started. They have started growing towards their teen years and have developed a love for Amma just as much as I have.
My younger daughter had made a simple blue string necklace for Amma during in the spring of this year and gave it to Amma who wore it for the rest of the night. It was a rarity that pulled my heart strings to know how much love she must have offered it with, for Amma to keep it on, as she often takes things off right away.
My older daughter still hams it up pretty good, she’s not quite a child, but not quite a grown up. She’s trying to see who she is and I see so much of me in this child its undeniable. She tells me she often talks to God in her head and has conversations as well. When she hit puberty she had her first dream of Amma. Amma was walking with her around her school just talking with her, then took her to the ocean to walk along the beach. Amma had no shoes and wore her white sari. She said they sat down and talked in Malayalam and she completely understood Amma. She didn't understand how that was possible, I told her "In your dreams anything is possible, and when Amma is around just look out!"
They both join me frequently at satsangs, singing devotional music and playing tambourines. Asking more and more questions as they grow older. My younger daughter radiates such love and joy everywhere she goes. She offers to help whenever she can and hugs people endlessly with such unabashed innocence. What blessings I have had borrowing these precious gifts from God.
As a decade approaches since first meeting Amma, I feel a new shift coming. Something changing, yet again. Something I can’t quite put my finger on and only time will unravel its secrets. I cannot possibly count all the blessings in my life since she has come into it. The universe is spinning and I have no idea where it will take me next, but I have Amma to steer my vessel, so I’ll let my sails fly free.
My Mother, My Guru, My God, I prostrate ever at your holy feet. I bow to you in loving devotion and deep appreciation. Jai Ma! Jai Ma! Jai Ma!
Your lotus feet
upon my heart,
here or there,
over and under,
dance and stomp
a lyrical beat.,
climb and creep
through heart valve
flatten and sow
in your wandering
and I am left with
far and wide.
Oh, how I can’t wait to be rid of this silly creature called ego…