“My religion is Love.”—Amma
Everyone’s heard of The Dalai Lama, but have you ever heard of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi? She is better known to the world as Amma (mother), “The Hugging Saint.” Amma has given darshan—a deep loving hug—to more than thirty million people… think about that! During three days last week here in New York City, she must’ve hugged another couple thousand. In sessions that last 15 hours (or more) straight, Amma doesn’t get up, or eat, or drink. She just gives beautiful deep hugs. Long hugs, longer hugs, one at a time, two at a time. And to hug Amma is like hugging an Ocean of Love. Hard to get your arms around, but built for hugging. She is without a doubt the best hugger there has ever been.
It’s difficult in our culture to give one’s self over so completely to love as a strategy for living. To make love itself the single overarching motivation for everything we do. Some might touch on it dedicating themselves to their families and friends (with great success), but usually we have more important things to do that seem to require something more than acting solely out of love; something that seems more practical.
But that particular idea isn’t really true… it only feels that way. Love is actually the most practical power there is.
At any and every moment we have a simple choice between two directions in our lives—towards ego gratification in one form or another, or towards love, compassion, and the simple practical path of personal growth and the path towards love. This choice appears in every aspect of our lives, from the smallest decision—like what to watch on TV or what soap to buy, to the largest—like how to raise your kids or how to go about earning a living.
Here’s where the practical (almost unbelievable) power comes in: If you put love in the centre of every decision you need to make, your intuitive intelligence will kick in and direct you as clearly as if someone were speaking in your ear. You can gain an almost immediate understanding of what Buddhists call the Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Occupation, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration… that’s eight, isn’t it? It’s a recipe for a spiritual growth and a very satisfying life to boot.
So you’ll become a humanitarian (I know you are already); you’ll stop allowing yourself awful thoughts; you’ll stop gossiping and criticizing people and institutions, and instead do what you can to help make things better as much as you can—that includes finding work that somehow contributes to our collective welfare (or at least doesn’t hurt it) and actively trying to be of service somehow… any how; you’ll find you get more clarity—that your thinking is less cluttered and more productive; and then you’ll find yourself more attracted to the joys and rewards of serene contemplation and meditation. You’ll get all this direction right from your heart, and straight into your head.
I’m not the kind of guy that this type of thing usually works on, but I tell ya, it’s crazy how well it does work. Using love as a benchmark has helped me measure every aspect of life more accurately and realistically. If you’re anything like me at all, you’ll feel you’ve become a link in a chain of love; and experience an inner strength, unity, and freedom that comes from making right decisions and from acting ethically… and I thought you’d never hear me say that… much less do it.
“We are all beads strung together on the same chain of love.”—Amma
Could it really be so simple that just the act of holding love in your heart as the focus of your life can “do it all?” Connect you, guide you, and provide for you? Well, all the great wisdom of humankind tells us it is so.
In The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says: “…when one’s faith is completely unified, they gain the object of their devotion. In this way, every desire is fulfilled by me.” And the Bible puts it this way: “As a man [person] thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
So it sez-eth… so if you’re thinking about love, you’re becoming love, and you will be carried by love—the most practical power in the world. I like to say that love is the large, the small, and the medium of life.
And Amma again: “In the end, love is the only medicine that can heal the wounds of the world. In this universe, it is love that binds everything together. As this awareness dawns within us, all disharmony will cease.”
My cat Max (currently on his tenth life) just came in to register his agreement.
Please visit Amma’s site