Friday, December 26, 2014

Divine Hug

Dear Friends,

By a wonderful synchronicity, I was holding satsangs in Stockton, CA when Amma the Hugging Saint visited Her ashram in Castro Valley. Diane, a lady who had hosted one of my satsangs near Oakland, allowed me to stay at her apartment, so I could conveniently attend the public program and retreat. The first day, I arrived at the temple late, and the seats were filled. I filed into a line and sat on the floor. Suddenly, people on the floor were guided up onto stage to sit near Amma. I was surprised to find myself only about 15 feet away, basking in the powerful Shakti of Her Presence. How did it happen? Later on, I obtained a token to receive a hug also known as a darshan.

Each day, I found myself doing different service tasks. These times were the most fun because I felt like I was really supporting the event. I washed dishes, served out food, cut vegetables, carried heavy things, and guarded the door at the temple. During seva, it was an opportunity to interact with others and make friends. One morning, I arrived early to hear the Swami, and they told me to turn around and go fill up my van with people from the hotel before I was allowed to park. This was unexpected and rather disappointing. Every morning after that, I waited in line at the nearby hotel to create my carpool.

The last night, there were long lines to get a darshan token. Thousands of people waited hours to finally enter the temple. Almost half of the main hall was filled before I entered. A woman came up to me and two women, and she asked if we would like to sit closer to the front. Immediately we followed and were led to the second row. After a while, the whole temple was filled, and people were led into the dining hall building where they could see her by television. Then suddenly we were moved into the very center of the row where we sat in a "reserved" chair only a few feet away from Amma. The program began. It was rare to receive a seat so near the Great Guru. The Energy was thick and powerful. The tall Swami guided a meditation, breathing in Om, breathing out Ma. They distributed the small plastic containers of holy water. After receiving a hug that night, I shuttled people up and down the muddy road between the temple and parking lot, and then headed back "home" to Stockton.

During the Amma retreat, I had been hard on myself for not serving enough, so this was a time to learn compassion. The mind has certain ideas about how to be a good person which is not easy to live up to. I was letting go of the this harshness through the healing Grace of Amma. Thank you, Amma!

With love,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Perfect Storm

Dear Friend,
My good friend invited me to stay at Joy's health clinic in a town north of San Francisco. Two nights in a row, they invited me to visit their home for dinner and a chant. Joy's parents lived there too.

The first night, we chanted together, laughed together, and connected to the Energy while the parents stayed in their room. The second night, we chanted the Hare Krishna mantra with the harmonium while Joy's daughter played her ukelele. It sounded beautiful and felt blissful. Suddenly the father came into the room and began to yell about the noise, directing his anger primarily at me. He shouted in Chinese, stating that they couldn't sleep. I didn't understand the words he was saying. Furthermore, my mind was flooded with such a happy energy that all I could do was gaze at him with a broad smile on my face. It appeared to be a divine play. Then he left, and I told everyone that it was time to go back to the clinic. We finished our music at the clinic, and then everyone went to bed.

For the first time, I discovered that it was possible to remain happy even in the face of someone's powerful anger. It was also fascinating to see that no one came to my defense during this attack. I faced the confrontation alone. It was my opportunity to meet a challenge that rarely happened to me. How can one remain completely at peace at all times? It is easy to remain peaceful when everyone is nice. But the true buddha is one who is unaffected by any attack, no matter how strong. After sitting in a cave and meditating all day, one must be in the world and meet worldly situations. That is the school of life. That is the test of one's enlightenment. Yes, I am grateful for this confrontational situation and for the people who played their part. It was no one's fault. It was the creation of a perfect storm.

With love,

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sanctuary for Peace

Dear Friends,
This year, the Sanctuary for Peace has been established in Ojai, CA by Svami Purna for the upliftment of all beings on this planet - perhaps the most important happening of our time. It is a holy land infused with the divine power. A few months ago, Svami Purna blessed the land with a satsang, chanting "Namah Shivaya Namah Shivaya Namah Shivaya Namo Namaha." This mantra invokes the power of Shiva, God of Transformation, to sanctify the area.  With moist eyes, Swamiji was clearly moved by this momentous occasion - a moment He had been waiting for - to help bring humankind to the Light.

A month ago, I drove down from Stockton, CA to the Sanctuary to join the first Full Moon satsang. It was a 6 hour drive. The monthly Full Moon gatherings are designed for seekers who wish to connect to the spiritual Moon, a symbol of the enlightened mind. It is a powerful time to do spiritual practices. The Sun symbolizes the Sat Guru. Just as the Sun lights up the full moon, the Sat Guru empowers the spiritual seeker with His Grace.

Svami Purna's retreats will be held at the Sanctuary for Peace. Like the days of yore in India, people will gather around the Master and bask in the Spiritual Energy under the open sky - a beautiful reconnection to Mother Nature. This Sanctuary is a Beacon of Light for the world, a place where the Golden Age flourishes.

25% of the donations I receive from satsangs and individual healings go to support the Sanctuary for Peace.

May we work together in peace and harmony. May we cultivate love in all our actions and thoughts. May we seek the Light with our entire being.

Om shanti shanti shanti,