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 twenty-seven million people! During three days last week here at The Manhattan Center, Amma 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. After so much hugging, she is built for hugging. She is without a doubt the best hugger in human history.
It's difficult in our culture to give one's self over so completely to love -to make love itself the single overarching motivation for everything you do. Some touch on it dedicating themselves to their families, but usually you have more important things to do that don't allow you to act solely out of love, right? No, that's not really true. It only seems that way.
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 towards personal growth and contributing to life that the path toward love creates. This choice appears in every aspect of our lives, from the smallest decision -like what to watch on TV, to the largest -like how to raise your kids, or how to care for an elderly parent. If you put love in the center of every decision, your intuitive intelligence will kick in and direct you as clearly as if someone were speaking in your ear. You'll stop gossiping. Stop criticizing people and institutions, and instead know how to help improve things. You'll intuitively know what to do in tough situations. You will become a link in a chain of love, and experience the incredible strength, unity, and freedom that comes from making right decisions, from acting ethically.
"We are all beads strung together on the same chain of love." Amma
Life will begin to flow in a smooth, sure way that actually requires less effort to accomplish more. Even unforeseen professional and financial solutions will show up for you right on time, because you will be supported and directed by love, which, as the great binding foundation of life, never "goes wrong." You probably won't win the Powerball if you feel you've bought a ticket "with love," but ask, and you'll receive all that you need to be happy.
You'll likely still hear the voice of your ego goading or belittling you or others, making fearful declarations, like: "You can't make a living by just loving!" But you'll recognize that voice as an unfortunate tendency of our human form -a destructive over-identification with false promises about solutions based on acquiring things, or attaining the approval of others -solutions that are superficial and momentary. Because everyone knows that for all of humankind, loving has always made the best lives, and will always have that power to do so. In a practical sense, listening to love will cause you to show up for what's truly important in your life, to be in places where you'll find opportunity that you may have never been otherwise. Joy will arise from all decisions based in love and service, and will wash away all your worries more and more as your new power develops.
Could it really be so simple that just the act of holding love in your heart as the focus of life can connect you, guide you, and provide for you? All the great wisdom of humankind tell us it's true. 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, it just comes down to that choice -between fear or faith. If there's a part of you that seems to enjoy living with fear, release that destructive hook and fearlessly choose the direction that love will clearly lead you in. It's the best free life consultant there is. My dear friend Anne put it this way:
"The love that you share is the only thing you need to know. It is the green place from which all good things grow and spread into your life. It's where the river of the Source is constantly carrying you, so that all your worries may disappear." And this gem from Amma: "There has never been a guru who died of starvation."
Poo-pooing these beliefs as a "naîve, unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky fairy tales" is the attitude that has created every disastrous condition ever known. Period. And Amma says this:
"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."
Next year, I hear they may have to move Amma's event to a much larger venue. It's continually growing too big for one location after another. They may have to hold it in Madison Square Garden. Next could be Yankee Stadium, or maybe Central Park...it sure would be nice if the whole world could share a hug with Amma.