How do I express, with words, feelings that overwhelm the heart?
Going back in my memories, I realize that I have been in “the search” all my life, since I was very young. This search became more intense in the last 14 years due to a chronic disease that has given me a lot of pain and suffering. Searching for remedies outside, I finally ended up looking for the solution inside and entered into the realm of spirituality. I have tried many paths, including Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, etc. Each one has taught me something valuable and has made me grow spiritually. I am especially thankful to the path of Taoism, which was the road that led me to mental peace and most importantly, to my contact with Amma.
The first time I met Amma was in August 2012. That summer I had been volunteering in a local NGO in Kolkata, working in one of the poorest areas of the city. After this intense work, I was searching for a calm and peaceful place to spend a few days before returning to Spain.
A friend of mine recommended to me to go to Amritapuri in Kerala, South India and meet Amma. “A realized master”, he said, “You cannot miss her”. At that point, I did not know anything about this woman, said to be a saint, nor where Kerala was. Still, I felt a tremendous pull drive me there, even though I had to cross India just to spend a couple of days in the ashram.
When I arrived in the ashram, I was astonished to see that little Indian woman speaking with a strong and powerful voice, singing so nicely, being revered, worshiped and followed by thousands of people. Many things have happened to me since that day. This “pull” has allowed me to follow my intuition more and more and has been my driving force since then.
I have already been to the ashram five times in less than two years. I have been experiencing a strong and growing connection, without limits of space and time. I have been experiencing a love story with God, in the form of the Divine Mother, and with the whole of creation. My life in the ashram has been intense and profound with every visit. Listening to Amma’s bhajana, I have cried so intensely from the deepest corners of my heart, feeling like she was taking away layers and layers of obscurity, and melting my heart down. Amma’s satsanga were always an inspiration for me.
One of my favorite things was to just observe her embracing thousands of people, one by one, all day long, without losing her loving smile. I was full of joy meditating in front of her, listening to the musicians, handing prasad into her hand, doing seva, enjoying the beach, the silence and the rhythm of the waves, the coconuts, the Indian cuisine…Everything was like a paradise, especially during the first visits, during the so-called “honeymoon”.
I did not have any visions or mystical experiences. I had just started to feel an enormous love pervading my heart, a deep longing, a strong devotion, peace of mind and tranquility. I felt a sense of equanimity despite what was going on around me. I felt a sense of faith, surrendering everything to the feet of the Divine.
Now I see everything that happens to me as something I can learn from. I accept any situation I go through and try to maintain remembrance of God to help me see things more clearly. Practicing this awareness of the presence of God, I have conversations with the Divine Mother, asking her for more faith and devotion, for more love and selflessness. This has become a fundamental part of me.
Although I maintain an intimate link with her at a distance, I feel I can learn faster near the presence of Amma. During my stays in the ashram, days seemed as long as weeks, and one lesson rapidly followed another. I could see clearly the purpose of every situation. I always felt she was working directly on me, creating a special link between us. It is funny how she works with each of us, making us feel so important, so unique…all of us at one time!
Life is made of unique moments, and I treasure many of them with Amma: the first hug, my mantra, key answers to my spiritual questions, the intense emotions arising during the bhajana, my spiritual baptism when I received a name from her, and many more!…I often recall these moments during my meditations; this is a way to feel her closer to me. Even the hard moments have been very valuable as a teaching.
Practicing Amrita Yoga in Amma’s presence at Amritapuri, India has been very special and important for me. Every time I practiced at Amritapuri, I could feel a real presence and connection with my body during the asanas, focusing my mind on her, surrendering all the efforts to her feet. I enjoyed the satsanga very much. They were much more than an inspiration for me. Listening to the Swamis or relating easily with the devotees’ life experiences was a very an uplifting environment. Sometimes the physical challenges were strong. I remember the sweet words of one of the Yoga teachers, which were very special for me: “Don’t struggle too much! We are just a vehicle to reach somewhere else!”
Sometimes the feelings were so intense that I had to cry. There were too many emotions at one time! I have been so touched by the practice of Amrita Yoga that words cannot measure or express the depth of this feeling.
Now I know my purpose in this life and the only important thing for me is to work hard for it. In the past, I thought, I was here for great plans or missions. I have just realized that my main mission is to realize my Self, my divinity, to merge with God, and finally be free from this dream, this bondage, this illusion of Maya. On seeing this oneness, it will be God’s will to use me as an instrument to guide others if it has to be this way. For the moment, I am working on making this connection stronger and spreading my light to all beings, to all worlds.
My life is very simple. Even though I still have health issues and pain, I am immensely happy having found Amma and Amrita Yoga. Placing my spiritual practices in the center of my life, my vision is now wide enough to see that I am much more than this aching body.
I am full of hope and enthusiasm. There is still a lot of work to do, many things to learn and experience, but I am not in a hurry. Everything will come when it is the right moment, one thing at a time. In the meantime, I want to enjoy this life displayed before my eyes, with my mind focused in God and my arms ready to help others.
Thank you, Amma, for this priceless gift of a lifetime. Thank you for being here for us. I feel profound gratitude and sincere love that you have brought me to this path and have given me direction in life.
Author: Silvia Hidalgo Daya, Spain