Love is all you need

The last few days have been a test.  And the beauty of it is I’m not sure if I’ve passed or failed.  I keep using the expression that everything seems so close that I can’t seem to see it.  You know when someone is looking everywhere for their glasses, and you kindly smile and say they are on your head!  I have had so much happen in such a short amount of time, but somehow it feels like a year has passed.  I have four more days and then I am taking a short trip with a new friend.  I”m looking forward to getting away for a few days so that when I return for Ammas Birthday Celebration I will have a new perspective. I am quite excited to see a bit of India. 

Enough about me, lets get to the good stuff!  My notes from Satsang with Amma this Tuesday.

Question: Amma, I always pray loudly ‘may I become an effective instrument in your hands. ‘  I know I’m not able to become one. My vasanas (mental habits) become obstacles. I use these vasanas to justify the mistakes that I make. My only prayer is that in this lifetime I pray I can be an effective instrument in your hands. Can you advise me how to do this?

Amma says
If you have the true act of surrender then surrender itself will carry us to the goal. We all have a set of vasanas. But over time we will be able to exhaust them and be free of them. From our part what we can do is not create situations that will allow us to exasperate the vasanas.  For example someone with cancer has a weak immune system they will not put themselves in a situation where they will be exposed to a sickness. They will protect themselves with a mask etc. in the same way if we are Aware of a weakness within us we should try to avoid situations that will arouse these vasanas.  There may be different problems that come up which we have no control, but if we have the right understanding of surrender then God will take care of it all.  We need to keep trying over and over. Just like learning to ride a bicycle. You try over and over again. Amma says this awareness and continuous effort on our part really helps us move forward on the path.  When we fall down the attitude should be I have fallen down and will rise again.  We should not fall and then have the attitude I’m tired and i think i will lay here for awhile and fall asleep.  Amma says we should not do this.  Patience is extremely important on a spiritual path.
We have taken this birth to get rid of the notion that “I was born”. If we have the true attitudes of surrender towards God then God WILL take care of us.
When we are in an ashram it is like being in the perfect climate for the tree of spirituality. It will bear fruit.  True surrender is true acceptance with all situations in life.
We need to keep practicing chanting the mantra. Such practices are really helpful with the vasanas in the mind. They bring the mind to one point and we can slowly get rid of all the other insignificant thoughts.  We need continuous introspection to see where we’re going and this awareness will surely take us towards the goal.

We have all come here to fight the ego but we don’t want to part with it. Ego is a very strong conditioning in us. But we need to understand that the whole purpose of coming to a place like this is to get beyond the ego. We have to adjust to certain situations.  Sometimes you just have to be patient.  We should put effort to change ourselves instead of blaming others.

** Then Amma gave this beautiful story about how her children are complaining about havnig too many roommates.  Amma tried to explain to us that because of the tsunami, they are unable to build high anymore so they have less space.  She then went on to tell us that even she has 5 ROOMATES!!  2 of which are bhakti and tumbin (the ashram dogs).  Amma told us a story.

“A few nights ago I was reading letters after darshan and I wanted to stretch my legs.  I stretched my legs and hit tumbin by accident where he was hurt a few months before.  He quickly got up ready to pounce on whoever just kicked him.  The moment he realized that it was Amma who kicked him, his ears went back and he ran out of the room very upset that he had a moment of anger towards Amma. Tumbin slept outside for 3 nights! After 3 days he finally came in the room to Amma, with his ears down asking for her forgiveness.  Amma said of course she was never angry with Tumbin. She kissed him, and he took his spot back on Ammas bed.  Amma said even animals are sensitive to tight spots but love is what we need to focus on!  “

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Onam!

 

Today has been a beautiful CELEBRATIOn!  I had the blessing of being involved in the International Dance for Amma.  I was part of the “German” dance team.  Its so funny because since being here, EVERYONE keeps asking me if I’m German!  And now, after dancing for Amma as a German, I will always feel German.  My mom WAS BORN IN GERMANY, but only because my grandfather was in the service at the time.  I guess life really is a full circle.  It was so wonderful to see Amma sitting front and center watching all the 12 performances.  She laughed, and praised, and clapped for everyone of them.  To me it felt like a drive in movie, where everyone is curled up outside watching a performance.  A night under the nearly full moon is one I will surely remember.

 

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Accept

There has been so much going on, but I’ve had difficulty digesting it all.  My last day of Panchakarma was yesterday, and it was 8 hours of “hell” but today I truly feel like a different person.  I feel much more grounded and clear in my intention.  That being said, the difficulty has increased since being here.  I find myself being very distracted by things that are exciting, but definitely not my original intention of being here.  My mind is going in a million directions!  I was sitting waiting for the internet cafe and there is a satsang going on below.  I was listening to exactly what I needed to hear.  “Yes, when you are a spiritual seeker it is good to notice your negativity, but it is not good to place importance on them”.  Since being here I’ve noticed so many things in myself that I never knew was there!  This is for sure a blessing, but in the moment it seems as though I’m failing a bit.  My roommate said something so helpful.  She said “Use this experience to watch how the mind works.  But also ENJOY YOURSELF!”  I’m not sure why it’s so hard for me to just enjoy what comes up.  If its not difficult, I feel guilty!  But anyhow, I’m trying my best to let go And let God for that’s the only way I will be able to get down the slide. 

 

Today I had the blessing of swimming in the rain!  I haven’t been able to swim for 10 days because of Panchakarma cleanse but today I was able to swim and I really let loose. It was so fun to be splashing around as the droplets of water were bouncing off the blue abyss. 

I wanted to post my notes from Swaminis question and answer.  Here it goes:

 

Whatever you have been given, accept it and go with the flow.  YOu give more energy to something without substance, why? 

 

Flow of meditation.  Always let whatever comes up, come up.  Let things flow back from where they came from.  Sometimes we jump further then we are.  Accept what comes to us.  Love everyone equally. Don’t expect something from someone else.  BE detached–

* Give and take will result in an EVERLASTING relationship.

How can we say we surrender when we like things our own way? Surrender usually doesn’t come the way we thnk it will.

What is spirituality?  Being a good person!  Plain and simple.  Just be aware, everything is sadhana (spiritual practice). 

To find a friendly smiling person is a rare thing.

Let the past be the past, let it drift away.  Just let it be.  Try to accept whatever comes to us.  That is the GREATEST strength we have.  Just do something good now and that will be your future.  Take one good quality from yourself, and build from that.  Gods grace comes to us in arm fulls and we let it fall through our arms. Ammas Grace is always in disguise.  Seva (self-less service) is keeping our focus on God.  There is not a God sitting in the sky.  There is God in every atom in this creation. It is not hard to see God. 

We are all beginners.  Things will never be the way we think they are. Forget about crying in bliss, LIVE IN BLISS.  It doesn’t matter what you do, but its the heart and awareness you put into it.

“Wanting” will automatically pull you out of your grasp. 

We hold onto negative qualities. Don’t worry. Just bide your time doing something good.  A flower will open naturally when all the conditions are right. You can’t force it.  Just be what you are, a little flower blossoming. 

Any healing energy isn’t coming from you but through you! Have an innocent attitude behind everything you do. 

***** Wow!  I guess it is a blessing I chose to look over my notes and type that out.  It was exactly what I needed to hear!!

 

Talk soon!

love

Uma

e-GO

I woke up this morning feeling a bit, down.  Homesick maybe?  Yes I love being around Amma. It is such a blessing.  But I’m not going to lie, it’s hard work.  I really miss having my own room, and being able to eat when I want, and of course the Indian music is lovely but it is a radio you cannot turn off.  It blasts through the windows in the morning and night, and even my head phones cannot drown out the sound.  Yes, this is a clear example of the EGO wanting to hold onto old habits, versus adapting to new ones.  But thats all good and well, but I’d love to escape, for a few moments. There is nowhere to run except deeper into myself.  Which was the whole point anyhow.

Satsang today really helped calm my nerves.  I”m grateful when Amma speaks, because she always says what we, Ok, I need to hear! =)   So the title of this post is e-Go because I would love for my Ego to leave me alone… wouldn’t we all.  I’ve never liked the word “Ego” because I feel it isn’t helping me grasp how to remove it by using the phrase “Oh, thats just Ego”.  But I can say that my experience of the word has new meaning, unfortunately. And what it takes to remove it is the last thing I want to do.

Ammas Tuesday Satsang:

Amma says we are all embodiments of pure love but we are just ignorant of it so we are not having the experience.  Once we reach the state of enlightenment you will feel complete. And the bliss of that state cannot be expressed In words. There is no longer desire for anything.

Just like when you bring light into a dark room. Light fills the room immediately it doesn’t take time it happens right away. It is the same for us. Once we reach that state our darkness of ignorance will be saturated in light which is our true self.

Make sure what other people do or say doesn’t effect your inner peace. Keep the witness mind.  When we really see the ego properly we see that it is not helping ourselves or anyone else to identify with the ego – When we get angry at others We may think that we have really taught the other person a lesson. But inside that person doesn’t learn from us but instead that person will think less of us and want to stay away from us.  Witness this ego and don’t interact with it.

We make a fool of ourselves when we identify ourselves with the ego.  We need to become a witness otherwise we will not be able to interact in the world properly.

When were able to sacrifice our own likes for someone else’s likes. That is when we really grow.

God is the all pervading consciousness.  We should be able to see God In everyone around us and everyone we are attracting.

Divine mother.  Someone who doesn’t do anything yet is the source of energy behind everything.

What is true renunciation ? Going beyond the ego. No longer seeing your self as the do-er.

We need to keep improving ourselves until we reach the goal.  Amma says there is so much to learn.  We need to keep moving forward.  Our senses are so strong and can easily take us towards destruction. So be mindful all the time.  As we become mature we go beyond the notion that I am the do-er and you merge into your true Self.

It matters

It matters. It all really matters. What we do, and think, and use makes a difference in this web that we call the world.  How I treat others in my gestures and moments of interaction even if for a moment, matters.  It’s such a surreal feeling being in an environment where every single thing you do matters.

How much water you use as you wash your plate, matters.
Recycling matters. Not just cans or water bottles but even down to your hair!! There is a recycling bin for strands of hair, dust, soft plastic, hard plastic, paper, and of course sanitary recycling (aka toilet paper).
And then the issue of food waste.  It is highly frowned upon to not finish everything on your plate.  Well that has never been easy for me so I’m struggling a bit. But it is teaching me to order less =)
You must put your chair back in place for the next person and make sure not to talk loudly because someone can be practicing silence or even worse meditating with eyes open.
Then there is being kind in the small ways to others.  Helping without being asked.  Making sure that another can see (there are so many people!).
Yes all of this seems like common sense but as I’m becoming more and more aware of the details of how I interact with the world I’m finding myself wanting to know,  “who am I?”  Who is this girl taking up space?
Amma has used the phrase to be a zero is to be a hero.  I’ve thought of this often while being here but there are moments when I want to say, please don’t take that from me too.  For example my roommate. She is very nice but she woke me up this morning as she was slamming her clothes clean on the counter.  I immediately felt annoyed and thought you couldn’t have waited until a bit later? I walk around in the dark for you all the time because you go to sleep so early.  But then I thought of this phrase.  What does it mean to be a zero??  In our culture we value our worth.  And we are proud to be successful in all the ways that we are.  But as I thought in this moment of being a zero, there is no reason to be angry at my roommate because she doesn’t “owe” me anything.  And then in that moment I’m a hero to myself because I’m no longer needing anything from anybody, not even courtesy.  It’s a practice I feel passionate about.
Tomorrow is Ganeshas birthday ! Woohoo.
Love
Me

Keeping us on our toes

I think temper tantrums are justified when you just really need to let it all out. Right? I know, i know- the answer is No. I was doing great until I had German dance practice and then I started to feel really tired.  I guess dancing around for an hour and a half would do that to you if your not supposed to be involved in physical activity.  The good news is I picked up the dance fast. Bad news is the 5 others are all speaking in German to one another all the time. Ha!  I do think it will be great fun once the day comes.  But after the dance practice I felt so incredibly tired and weak. I just slept for a few hours and then woke up to go to the dreaded nasya appointment.  Luckily tonight is Satsang with Amma so that should cheer me up.  I feel bad complaining but every part of my body hurts.  “They say yes that’s good, toxins are all coming out” and I smile thinking, yea easy for you to say you don’t feel like you’ve been hit by a Mac truck!  Only 5 more days, only5 more Days.  =) 

 
MeditAtion Question and answer with Amma was supposed to be in the hall because thunder and lightening started but as hundreds of us were standing waiting for Amma to arrive we suddenly got word that Amma went to the beach!!! So now hundred of us are making a mad dash to the beach with chairs on our heads.  Even the ashram dogs (Bhakti and Tumbin) who usually mediate on stage with Amma on these days were running confused.  It was a sight to see for sure.  Amma is always keeping us on our toes.  We sit down and then After we all sit Amma laughs and says, “was the running ok? Maybe we got more concentration in the last 5 minutes then in meditation.  It’s a good exercise for the body and mind! “. At least she made us all laugh =) 
 
Question: 
 
Who are you? It is a mystery that we may never understand.  You have come among us, as one of us.  Why us, why can we be drawn to your side, and others will never be drawn to you. Can you lift a couple veils to show us the bigger picture? Laughter fills the crowd, as Amma also has a giggle. 
 
Answer: 
When we have this question about the mystery of the universe the important thing to do is to go deeper into the question: who am I?  That will in fact reveal everything to us.  The best way to understand the mystery is to get closer to understanding who we really are.  When we look at the world we may see a lot of duality but trying to change the world will not help. We have to change ourselves,  the individual and then we will see the change in the external situation.  So the important thing is how can I use this mind as a tool to understanding who am I?  There is a power that is acting behind this mind that is at play here. 
 
Story: 
There was a king who was having a walk and he stepped on a nail.  So the king went to a man and said to carpet the whole kingdom by the next day.  He thought he was dead because he could not carpet the entire kingdom. The next day the king said so, did you do it? He said no, I could not. But before you go through with your sentence I have a suggestion. Before your next walk, why don’t you wear shoes??
 
It is the Same for us.  We feel ourselves as limited or separate. Like a bubble on top of the ocean. It feels separate from the ocean, but the moment it breaks it becomes one with the ocean!! We are the same. The moment our ego breaks we become one with all of creation and understand that our true nature is the ultimate.  
 
Sometimes we question God. Why are you making some people happy and others sad?  Amma says its not God who is Doing. It is up to us. Do we want to be the type of person that helps others or not? 
 
That is why contemplating the question who am I takes us beyond the ego and into the nature of reality, Into our true self. 
 
There is one truth that has express itself in different forms.  We need to live in the moment and go deeper into ourselves.  Once we experience this truth of ourselves, all the secrets will be revealed.  
 
There is no point in analyzing this with our limiting thinking but it has to be an experience !  No point thinking what came first, the egg or the chicken?  These questions came from the ignorance of the true self.  Not Understanding who we are in realty.  While we still have the feeling I am limited , may we continue to purify ourselves through the service to the world until we see our true self.  Sometimes looking at the different situations in the world – we say everything is God.  But God is the witness.  Just like the computer. We may write many things on the computer but the computer is the witness.  Similarly God is the witness and the source of strength to everything that is happening.  Our part is to be able to see things from a distance and we will see things more clearly without letting things bind us.  Like being at a zoo. We enjoy seeing the wild animals  because we see them From a distance.  But if we got too close to a lion it would no longer be pleasurable.  Similarly of we get too close to the problems in the world.  If we get too close we lose our witness mind.   Yes every bit of help we provide helps but do not become attached.  Keep the witness the mind.

Panchakarma, Indian Style

Panchakarma, Indian style, is very interesting. It is still hot here, but since starting the cleanse, I have felt cold.  Last night as I was trying to sleep listening to the ocean waves crashing, the rain and thunder started.  I love falling asleep to the sound of rain.  The thing is, a strong breeze entered my room and my body became very cold and then began to ache.  I luckily had a sheet and put a towel on my head for warmth.  I woke up this morning feeling fine once again thanks to the Sun that is shining bright.  I’m still in disbelief on how strong this cleanse is working through 1 massage a day and some oil in your nose!

I”m feeling good today.  I went for my first Panchakarma appointment at 10am and was sitting and waiting to be called in.  As I was sitting on the balcony I suddenly noticed how all the trees are blooming with beautiful flowers.  Yellow, pink, and orange.  I truly haven’t noticed the beautiful wild life much because I’ve been so focused on “adjusting”.  I suddenly began to think about the way the mind places a veil on the beauty that is all around us when the mind is “uncomfortable”.  I have now been here for 2 weeks, and It no longer feels foreign.  I sometimes forget I am in India!

Tonight is meditation and Satsang on the beach at 5pm. I”m looking forward to this.  There are so many beautiful sunsets when Amma gives Satsang.  I will be sure to post my notes later.

Until then.
Love
Uma

Happy Birthday to me!

 

 Well today has been a great day here in India.  I didn’t wake up my roommates screaming its my birthday! Like I wanted to…. But I did have a strange feeling as I went for prayers.  I tried to connect with the idea that a birthday is another step closer to a death day. Not to be a downer but it was just a thought and experience I was having.  What is the celebration of birth but another year that passes.  It brought awareness to the enlightened point there is no time to waste! I then went to start  my Panchakarma – which is a cleanse of the body through The use of Indian medicine.  It is said to cleanse the body from a cellular level!  Today I had a massage with sesame oil which was amazing because after I was given a bucket of Hot water!!!! The best birthday present ever!  And the greatest part about it is my hair was soft after my bucket shower. My hair has been so strange here but I now realize its the cold showers~ Anyhow great birthday gift.  Oh how the little things become big things here in India.  I love that aspect.
 The next part of my cleanse today was Nasia- oil nasal cleaning. I went into a little cloth hut and was steamed to nearly death (ha!) and then I was told to Lay on my back with head slightly off table and they pored a bit of oil in my Nose. And then I was to sit and spend the next 10 minutes spitting it out. Amazing experience. And then my senses came alive. Everything sounded more intense and my eyes were tired. And now I have to wear a head shawl because I can’t expose my head to cold.  Only 7 more days of this =).  But I do feel something intense happening in my body, that’s for sure.
India has been getting hotter believe it or not and im adjusting well.  It’s an adventure in itself to see how the body adapts to people places and things so quickly.
We have had quite a few beautiful satsangs in the last couple of days.  Ammas energy and endurance to this schedule is mind boggling to watch. She just doesn’t stop helping all of us.  Here I am exhausted most of the time, but then I see Ammas smile despite the fact that she has been hugging men women children and animals For the last 12 hours makes all my tiredness disappear.
We had the blessing of having Satsang with Amma yesterday in the hall followed by Prasad (Amma giving us our lunch to eat!). It was so much food and I knew I had to finish every grain of rice because its blessed food!  But this time it was nearly impossible for me to finish.  I thought my stomach was going to explode.  Luckily I had a friend kindly encouraging me to continue because I didn’t have a choice.  Lets just say I may not over eat for awhile.
I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to blog the next couple of days but I will try my best.
Here are some of my notes from Satsang on the beach this Monday!
Question and answer with Amma on the beach
Question.
Should a spiritual aspirant not take being cheated? How do we act if we are being cheated or treated poorly?  Action versus acceptance?
What hope is for healing from childhood wounds? When is it time to act up? Thank you for your patience for this child’s ignorance but this child has a strong desire for healing.
Amma says…
How we are reacting or responding to them depends on the situation. Sometimes we have to understand that some people don’t have scriptural understanding and they have a big ego and are just acting out of ignorance.  We have to understand the level of understanding the person we are dealing with and act accordingly.  For example if we are at a police station we would not act out because we know we would get in trouble.  Also with our boss we may be very angry and yet when we are in front our boss we will not express the anger because we know we will get fired and have to go home and clean vessels for the rest of our life.
Amma stressed that we must understand the nature of the world and how to interact. We have to adjust  ourselves due to the level of the person we are dealing with.  But from our part we have to act with patience and love.
For example people kissing.  In India you would not do this but in the west it is quite common.  Also with the Malyalam language. Some words in the north and south mean different things.
Many times other people do not understand our heart and we have to understand that.  There is a world happening in each and every person and everyone is trying to fix mistakes etc.   sometimes it takes some people a long time to come out of there conditionings.  Like babies being born immature.  Many people here are like premature babies.  Many of Ammas Children are beginners or like rusted iron pieces. And Amma is trying to transform these rusted iron pieces into gold.  Amma only sees the gold in us.  Amma only sees us as a garden but sometimes the garden is infested with worms which can ruin the whole garden so Amma is working to remove these worms.    Amma has to be very loving towards her children and act accordingly.
We have to be patient with people.
Amma said maybe you were having problems with brahmacharins and sitting close to them.
We need to understand the differences. Like westerners who come here and want to invite more spiritual values despite all the pleasures available in west.  But many would like to come to understand the Indian culture in a deeper way.  Amma says she is really happy to see her children from the west coming here to try and sacrifice to get a deeper spiritual practice.
We also have to live in the values that we read and not just read the scriptures etc but put into a practice.
We have to have patience.
Like taking medicine for cancer – we need it to kill the good and the bad.
Amma says although we may not have any hatred inside of ourselves, If the person is getting angry at me and i am getting angry back we have to see it as a chance what is this emotion rising up in me.  Let me not allow the anger to take over instead see the maturity of the person and let me respond in the right way.
****** side note. Patience has been one of my greatest teachings since being here in India. Nothing goes the way it’s “supposed to” but there is something incredibly liberating about that.  The mind can’t tell you what’s going to happen next because nobody knows! Haha.  But my strong tendency is to think, how can no one know?  I quickly realize that this type of desire to control limits the potential for new possibilities. Easy to say, hard to practice. But I’m continuing to practice all day long!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I think this is going to be a very special year!
Love
Uma