Although I am greatly missing connecting with some of you outside of the Ashram, I am now clear on where my attention needs to be for a little bit. I know my friends/family will understand…and will always be there. I have not always known this, inside.
4:45a – My alarm goes off. I quickly shut it off so I don’t wake up any of the other people in my room. I slowly wake up by checking my email on my phone. I’m up and in the bathroom by 5a to brush my teeth and wash my face.
5:15a – Arcana begins. This begins by chanting the 108 names of Amma and then we chant the 1000 names and aspects of the Divine Mother. “Doing this brings prosperity to the family and peace to the world. It will remove the effects of past mistakes. We will get the strength to understand Truth and live according to it. We will get long life and wealth. The atmosphere gets purified. The energy in every nerve of our body will be awakened.” ~Taken from Amma’s Arcana book
6:45a – 7:45a – My own mediation practice (which includes reading a few minutes from A Course in Miracles…the book I consider to be my Bible). The spot I go to every morning to meditate is outside, below our deck. The house I’m in sits on a hill. So the deck is just above the tree-line. We have a few hummingbird feeders there. So, where I sit each morning, I get to hear 100’s of hummingbirds all around me. They sound like little motorcycles. It made me think of the book I read as a child, Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. Hummingbirds make my heart smile. I am also visited by a family of deer several times per week. I LOVE animals. This makes my heart smile too.
7:45a – 8:20a – Breakfast
8:30a – 4:30p/5p – Seva (Selfless service). The Seva I signed up for before coming here is helping with the AIMS project. Amma’s AIMS project supplies FREE advanced level care in hospitals and clinics in India. The warehouse I’m in here in California receives medical supplies and equipment as donations. We have to sort through it all by date and pack it up in boxes according to what they need/want. The stuff they don’t want, we give to a couple of other smaller organizations here in the states. You wouldn’t believe how much stuff is in this warehouse…everything from needles to wound care supplies, orthopedic equipment to advanced surgery supplies. It’s incredible!
My first day at Seva, my supervisor was showing me around. At one point she wanted me to help take apart some surgical kits, dividing up what we could use elsewhere and throwing away everything else. I couldn’t do it! This was all perfectly good equipment and supplies in their original packaging. The only reason they were doing this was because the government in India was getting stricter. They would no longer allow AIMS to accept expired goods. I found out that much of this stuff used to not even have an expiration date. The only reason they do now is so the companies could continue to make big money, of course! Boo! I said to my supervisor, “There has to be someone that will take this stuff! I am sure there are places in Africa, for example that would be happy to have expired stuff rather than nothing!” She agreed and felt like her hands were tied. That didn’t stop me. I began my research. She made it my project and allowed me to spend a couple of afternoons seeing what I could find out. After countless internet searches and phone calls, I am happy to report I have found a couple of places that will take and use this stuff…I’m talking about 100’s of thousands of dollars worth of stuff! One of the places is an organization that is sending supplies to Africa to help with the Ebola crisis that is currently going on there. My fellow Seva colleagues often give me a hard time because I’m the one you will find digging in the trash exclaiming, “I’m sure someone can use THIS!!” 😉
5:15- 6p – My time. I usually take a shower and meditate. My first week here, this time was spent talking on the phone.
6p – 7p – Dinner
7p – 9p – Bhajans – Spiritual singing.
My first time attending this was very challenging for me. First of all, they were worshiping a woman, Amma, as if she were God. As most of you know, I have just recently been really building my relationship with God. I was at a place where that was the only Being I was comfortable worshiping like that. It didn’t feel “right”! There are many people here that have been following Amma for 20 plus years. So, I started asking questions. What I have come to understand is that Amma is a living Saint. God is working through and with her. Many view God as our Father and Amma as our Mother. Given what I felt while I was in her arms and some of the things I have experienced here, this made sense to me. It resonates. I still don’t quite know how to explain it to y’all. I’m not sure how to put it into words. I think you just need to experience it for yourself. I would encourage you to see her and be hugged by her when you get a chance. She goes on tour in the USA every year.
Secondly, all of their singing is done in Sanskrit. The writing and sound of the songs reminded me of the Middle East. This made me uncomfortable. I sat with it…
During my mediation the following morning, I got present to the fact that my uncomfortableness was from all that I had heard or was told. In this country, anything I have heard pertaining to the Middle East has definitely not been positive. As I sat with that, I discovered a Truth for me. That is really unfair to think poorly of everyone in the Middle East. I equate it to other countries not liking me because of some of the decisions our government has made. They don’t know me. I don’t know them. And, as a Teacher of God and Global Shift Leader, I am working towards my response always coming from a place of Love not fear, no matter who you are. I AM LOVE.
My experience of their words and music is no longer the same as that first night.
9:00p – Get ready for bed
Because I share a room with several other people, I don’t always get to go to sleep as early as I would like. 😉
Sundays are my only day off. I catch a ride with someone to town so I can do my laundry and get a few groceries. Then, I spend the rest of my time connecting with a few of my new friends here, reading, meditating, etc.
By the end of my first week here, I was in tears. There is no way I could sustain this type of schedule. I am NOT a type A person. I discovered several years ago, I need more down time than many people. I need to be able to go inward. Not only do I need time to connect with people throughout the day, but also with myself and God.
After having a few conversations, I discovered I get to choose what I participate in here. Not only did I think it was kind of required to attend everything, the perfectionist side of me thought I needed to attend everything so I would get whatever it is I am here to get. Silly me. God/Amma will make sure I get whatever I am supposed to get, even if I only attend something for 5 minutes! 😉
I now only attend Bhajans a couple of times per week. As much as I love music, Arcana has been resonating with me more. I can feel my vibration/energy rise during this chanting process each morning. Between that and my own practice, my mornings are quite lovely! Since I don’t attend Bhajans every night anymore, my evenings are more relaxed. I get to unwind with friends and/or more meditation and reading. This makes me happy. 🙂
Weeks 2 and 3 here ended up being the most intense weeks I have experienced in a long time…maybe in my life! That story will have to wait until next time. As you now know, Sundays have become quite sacred for me. It’s time for lunch and then laundry…
Sending SO much Love out to all of you!