Every time I go spend time with Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) it is transformative in all ways. Yet, it isn’t what most people perceive it to be, some over the top, mystical or “woo-woo” event/cult. My experience couldn’t be further away from the sense of these terms.
Sure, there are moments of transcendence and/or incredible expansiveness (I have a collection of some pretty hilarious videos taken in the wee hours of the morning to prove so). But make no mistake, my experience has never been some euphoric, cloud 9, mind-trip.
What I believe to be most important when sharing about my time spent with Amma is that it is a place where it is extremely difficult to lie to oneself. You and I both know all the little ways that we tell ourselves “stories” and get away with it. We perceive ourselves, each other, and life in error and typically our day-to-day activities don’t call us out on our B.S. Ha! Not in the presence of a being such as Amma.
When I am in her presence, the truth is always revealed. Most often this truth isn’t monumental or drastically life-altering like “MOVE TO HAWAII” or “BREAK UP WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND” or “QUIT YOUR JOB!” No no. The truth makes itself known in much more subtle ways, at least for me. Such as an overwhelming sense of a deep all-pervading love swelling within my heart. Or a profound realization of peace about a decision I am about to make. Or even a sudden increase of stamina and devotion for my own path of Yoga when I’m facing difficult times. Ya know, the “stuff” that ends up making the biggest impact in your life but can’t be bought, faked, grasped, or artificially created within.
Specifically, my experience spending time with Amma is a period of accelerated inner work. Emphasis of the word “work.” (Ugh…I’m rolling my eyes.) Being in the Guru’s presence for me – this relationship is very sacred, so I cannot speak for others – is about deeply purifying my heart and removing the residue clouding the mirror that reflects who I really am inside and the window in which I see and perceive others.
One of my soul sisters and I oftentimes joke that seeing Amma is like getting a super, deep cleansing and purifying facial, and that the process starts about 4 weeks before you see her. It is as followed:
4 weeks to go: Cleansing of the Skin
Your life requires a little more focused attention. You find yourself letting go of things with little effort or resistance, yet you sense an energy of purification starting to sweep through your life.
3 weeks and counting: Physical Exfoliation
Things start to get rough and gritty like a microdermabrasion, a heavy-duty scrub, or for all y’all men, think of sandpaper to your face. A person starts to wonder “Why am I so triggered,” hahaha and more importantly, “Why is everyone around me suddenly such assholes?!?” (lol) Like Amma has said, she puts our rough edges together so that we can smooth each other out.
2 weeks before: Chemical Peel
As if the grittiness of the scrub wasn’t enough, then comes the mask or a peel that BURNS hotter than hell itself. Whatever discomfort you thought you were in with the grittiness of the scrub, oh baby, you didn’t realize what was comin’ at ya! This is when one basically loses their mind, emotional pain arises, hurtful things are said, breaks and ending unfold, embarrassing events take place, spontaneously stupid choices are made (Speaking from experience here!) basically…whatever brings you “discomfort” in your life, expect a good dose of it. Wink!
1 week away: Extractions
Alright, so having cleansed, scrubbed and the shit burnt out of you, you’re finally ready for all your GUNK that has been brought to the surface to be extracted! While one might want to avoid this step of the journey at all costs, you really don’t have a choice with all your negative tendencies, karmas and character defects right at the surface. It’s time to purge and purify those pores with the greatest cosmic extractor!
Into Amma’s Arms:
So just imagine, now your pores have been so cleansed and purified that you’re literally wide open. You wait for hours, then finally it’s your turn and you get on your knees right in front of Amma, you’re completely depleted and exhausted by the whole damn process, that you outstretch your arms in full surrender in your body, mind and heart. Your arms are open and your “pores” even more open, Amma takes you into her arms and BLASTS you with enough shakti and love to catapult a rocket ship to another galaxy.
In that moment, the whole uncomfortable process of getting there disappears, and all that you remember is love.
And somehow, someway I always come out the other side of this experience not only a better, clearer, purer version of myself, but also 100% certain that this purification was essential in all ways. For my offerings to be more potent, my work to be more precise, my relationships to be more loving, and to continue evolving on this beautiful path of Yoga.
I once heard someone explain that taking my yoga class was equal to the experience of childbirth. While in the process of it, it’s terrible and you can’t wait for it to be over. But once you’re done, you’re first thought is, “That was fucking awesome!!! I want to do it again!” Well I haven’t pushed out a baby but this is EXACTLY how I feel about spending time with Amma.
Within the past month, I saw Amma on two different continents and also attended a 9-hour Shaktipat meditation intensive with the Siddha Yoga lineage. Which all of this just means that I’ve been sitting on my ass A LOT with my eyes closed.
Let me sum it all up for you to save you the trouble of spending countless hours in meditation. No need for the both of us to live the life of a monk.
Here’s what I felt going in:
There is a place within you, that is also within me. This is the spot in which the entire Universe rises into form and dissolves back into the infinite. When we are in this place within our own selves simultaneously, we are One. And this is Love.
As I emerged on the other side, it had simplified to:
I do not exist outside of you, yet you live within me.
Therefore…wherever you go, my love is with you always.
After completing my month of meditation, mantras and maniac moments (lol), my heart opened wide, love swelled within me up to my eyes. I swear it was pouring out of me and everywhere I looked I saw only beauty.
I wrote this poem in my head while driving home from the shaktipat intensive. After a month with my eyes closed, when I finally opened them, I had never been more clear -
“My love is with you in all ways, always.”
Wherever you are,
My love is with you...
It presents itself
In the most apparent
And unexpected ways.
Like when you stand
At the edge of the ocean,
And the expansiveness
Inspires you to deeply inhale.
That breath you take in
Is none other than my love.
Filling you with the remembrance
Of your own
Infinite and resplendent nature.
Or when you do the right thing,
You know it was right,
And it feels good inside
To have made such a choice.
Swelling within you
Is also my love.
Or when you perceive yourself to be stuck.
you feel free.
That was the work of my love
Longing to teach you
To see yourself
How I see
And know you to be.
And when the day’s sun is setting,
And for a moment
The meaning behind your existence.
My love kindles a fire inside of you
So as tomorrow
When your eyes open,
Your day appears
Your path more lit.
So sweet one,
Do you see?
You need not worry,
Or ever stop to question
My love is with you...
In all ways,