On Monday, I went to a Conversation on Compassion with Amma at Stanford. Here are a few highlights:
“Compassion is the most important factor in life”
“Compassion is the first step. If we can take that step courageously without fear then everything else will follow spontaneously.”
“When we have compassion then all the decisions we make and the actions and their results that follow will have a special beauty, spontaneity, and power to it.”
“Human’s calculations can always be wrong. But decisions taken from compassion and actions that are compassionate can be never wrong because compassion is a law of nature.”
“When we give up the individual mind and tune to the universal mind which happens in compassion, then we can never do anything wrong because it is not us acting, but it is the universal power. Compassion gives us the ability to tune into the universal power.”
“When love attains perfection that is when the flower of compassion happens.”
After the conversation, Amma announced that she would give darshan to all the attendees (near 2,000), but she asked that only attendees who have never received a hug come up so Amma could have time to hug everyone who wanted one.
Since I have been getting hugged by Amma since 1999 and I was wearing an “embrace the world” t-shirt that I bought at Amma’s ashram, I knew that I should remain seated, but I REALLY wanted to get a hug from Amma–especially when I saw that they were giving large gift bags to all who received a hug.
Unfortunately, during her talk Amma said that there are three types of people.
The first type of person–what they get they eat.
The second kind of person–what they get they eat and they also try to take the other person’s food and eat that as well.
The third kind of person–whatever they get, they eat a part of it then give the rest to others around them.
I knew that if I went to get a hug, I would be taking from someone else, so I forced myself to refrain from getting a hug.
But something wonderful happened. As I watched Amma hug others, the craving and jealousy drained out of me and was replaced with sympathetic joy (mudita). I saw the glowing faces of the people walking off the stage, and I could feel their joy and gratitude which somehow became my joy and gratitude. I got a taste of the universal mind and power that Amma was talking about.
It was the best non-hug that I have ever received.
It happens in an instant–love and acceptance snap to anger and unrest. I’ve seen/felt it a hundred times each day on battlefields, street corners, at dinner tables, but, most importantly, in my own mind. This is where peace starts and ends, and we have the power to choose. Continue reading →
I really like this tool, because like Rarasaur said it gives us a pulse on our site. This picture is a pretty accurate representation of what Everyday Gurus is all about–Happiness, Mindfulness, Lovingkindness, and Hugs. Continue reading →
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a hugger. I hug my sons 20+ times a day; the Hugging Saint, Amma, is my guru; I hug trees, dogs, large fruit, unsuspecting acquaintances; you name it, and I’ll hug it.
I grew up in one of those households where no one hugged, so I guess I’m making up for lost time.
At certain times in my life, I didn’t have anyone to hug–sigh. I know the feelings of loneliness that are immune to social interaction–the kind of loneliness that one can feel in a room full of friends, music, and good food. Looking back, I wish someone had taught me how to hug myself.
Something counter-intuitive that I learned recently is that when we get really dehydrated, we stop feeling thirsty. This is a problem for me because I get so consumed in what I am doing that I often disregard feelings of thirst. After a while these feelings of thirst subside even though I haven’t drunk anything. Since a majority of our body consists of water, major dehydration leads to huge crashes.
The same can be said for spiritual dehydration. I believe that like water in the body, the spirit is a major part of who we are. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing that we ignore signals of “thirst” sent by our spirit. Soon these signals stop coming, and this is when we are headed for a huge crash or crisis. Continue reading →
In my younger days, if I were at the trial of Jesus, I would have probably voted with the rest of the crowd to crucify him. I used to be such a judgmental and closed minded person, which is probably why in 1999 all my traveling companions abandoned me in Sri Lanka, a small island formerly known as the Island of Serendipity off the southern coast of India.
Luckily, right before they abandoned me I had just finished a week long meditation retreat; otherwise, I might have struck them down “with great vengeance and furious anger” Pulp Fiction style. At the retreat an experienced meditator whom other guests called the “sitting one” said that I needed to go to India to get a hug from a guru named Amma. Continue reading →