I am just now starting to land on this earth again after having spent a few days with one of my teachers, Mata Amritanandamayi (Ammachi or Amma for short). For those that don't know much about her, you can visit her website to learn about who she is and what she teaches. She is my inspirational example of complete and total Unconditional Loving of all people and a model of selfless service.
I have gone to her public Darshans before, where she hugs and loves anyone and everyone who come to her. I have received mantra from her, which I work with almost daily, and have been visiting her on her US tours since 2003. This was my first time on retreat with Amma at her US Ashram in San Ramon, CA.
I don't really know how to detail what my experience was all weekend. I hugged her (or she hugged me, however that works!), 4 blissful times. I also had the opportunity to be seated on the aisle when she entered the hall and got to brush her hand as she went by. I can't believe how a little split-second finger touch could leave my hand smelling strongly like roses for a long time afterwards!
All of her talks were infused with wisdom, stories and great humor. I really enjoyed the interplay between Amma and the Swami who was translating her talks. Many people brought questions to her, some of which were asked and answered publicly. She reminded us to do good, help each other out, take care of ourselves and one another and perhaps together we can all get through the troubling times ahead.
I was blessed with many opportunities to perform Seva, or service including the great honor of helping to distribute the blessed holy water at Devi Bhava (click here for a video about Devi Bhava). I also washed dishes, which has become a sacred service to me, and helped to manage the number signs for the darshan line at Devi Bhava.
Besides many wonderful meditations, enjoying Amma's presence and example, resting under the willows by the pond, laughing at jokes, meeting old and new friends and being fed dinner by Amma's own hands, the most important moment on this visit was when Amma blessed me by naming me a spiritual sanskrit name. I feel so honored that she 'saw' me and named me for what she sees inside of me. She blessed me with the name Jyotirmayi (Jyoti for short). Ask me and I will tell you more!
So, thank you, thank you Amma. In my devotion to you and what you bring to this world and this time......here is a video of the arati to Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi: