January 31, 2024

The 10+ Things I Learned from Amma about Love.


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We often seek guidance to navigate through life’s complexities, especially when it comes to understanding love and healing.

My own path led me to Amma, the renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian, over 35 years ago.

Amma’s teachings not only changed my life and inner landscape, Her illumination and guidance has profoundly shifted my perspective on self-love, healing from trauma, and the true essence of love beyond the romantic realm.

After all, Amma says that it takes effort to get to the roots of the pain, upon which, we can dissolve them and truly heal. Without this, we might find it challenging to see ourselves clearly and merge with our divine natures.

It took me a while to understand how living focused on divine principles and dharmic (versus karmic) relationships can truly free us. While this was not an easy transition, it was the paradigm shift I needed to finally liberate.

Who is Amma?

Mata Amritanandamayi, affectionately known as Amma, has touched the lives of millions with her universal message of love and compassion.

Renowned for her warm embraces, which have earned her the nickname, “The Hugging Saint,” Amma’s teachings go far beyond physical affection. They delve into the depths of spiritual wisdom and pure compassion, offering insights into self-love, the roots of trauma and pain, and the transformative power of spirituality and spiritual practices.

Amma is quite remarkable and quite a divine being. She has one of the largest humanitarian missions in human history.

Sadhana: The Path of Spiritual Practice

At the heart of Amma’s teachings is the concept of sadhana—a dedicated spiritual practice that encourages inner growth and self-reflection. Sadhana is not just about meditation or chanting; it’s about living a life that consistently reflects spiritual values and self-awareness.

Some lovely quotes and the things I’ve learned from Amma over 35 years.

​​>> “Love is our true essence. Love does not exist outside ourselves but within us.”

We seek to fulfill so many of our desires through such anguish. In doing so, we avoid and disembody from the love within us, the love we were born from—and the love throughout The Cosmos.

>> “The Sun shines down, and its image reflects in a thousand different pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same Sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people.”

The idea that we are all One Consciousness, One Being, was so foreign to me when I met Amma in a tiny room in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with four other people. She had just arrived in the United States and her darshans (blessings) were like deep massages of the body and spirit. She would say how none of us is separate from Creation or each soul we engage. There is no other.

>> “If we want to dig a well, we need to dig in one place. Similarly, to find our true Self, we need to concentrate on our own inner spiritual practices.”

I would avoid spiritual practice for the longest time thinking I had arrived in some way. But there is no arrival; it is only the journey of deepening. There is so much in the new-age scene that misdirects and misguides people, often manipulating them to be owned and controlled. It is best to focus deeply on the ancient teachings and sadhana (meditate, chant in Sanskrit, yoga, selfless service) to embody the most illuminated journey to liberation.

>> “Amma doesn’t say that married life is wrong or that one should not have children. But one should understand the inherent limitations of human relationships.”

We might believe we want this or that in our relationships. Given the karma of marriages, we might be imprisoning someone or ourselves. All we need to do is allow others to be themselves and to reduce our expectations so that each partner and friend may unfold according to their trajectories, which we cannot control or determine at any time without suffering.

>> “When we constantly dwell on the sorrows and problems in our lives, we forget to see the countless reasons we have to be grateful.”

Releasing the pains of the past is tricky business. It’s virtuous to release all these emotions as they emerge so they do not impede us going forward. The more we release, the more we can be present to the eternal light within us.

>> “The beauty of life is in loving and being loved selflessly.”

To truly love someone selflessly may require quite a bit of work. This is because we have yet to do the work of releasing that which binds us. When we complete much of this work, we are far more free to serve and love others without expectation and with a deep sense of selflessness. Our joys then become our partner’s joys.

>> “A continuous stream of love flows from us towards all of creation. This is our true nature. For those who have imbibed spiritual principles, there is no difference between joy and sorrow.”

Our joy emerges with great effulgence when we focus within. The more we deepen, the more we can feel resolute and complete within being present to the rawness of life, the joyful sorrows, the sorrowful joys and all that is in between.

>> “Suffering is due to our disconnection with the inner soul. Meditation is establishing that connection.”

Meditation has always been the path. We avoid meditation because our egos are driving us to insanity and suffering. The more we meditate, the more we connect with our pure nature, which is an emanation of the purest aspects of The Cosmos.

These quotes from Amma provide depth and authenticity to our journeys. The true essence of Amma’s teachings lies in the practical application of these principles in our daily lives.

The Disciple Journey

Being a disciple and devotee of a guru, especially an enlightened master like Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi), encompasses a profound and deeply personal spiritual journey.

It involves several key aspects:

Spiritual Surrender and Trust:

Discipleship often begins with a deep sense of trust and surrender to the guru. It’s about believing that the guru, through their enlightened perspective, can guide the devotee on their spiritual path. This surrender isn’t about giving up personal power or agency, but rather trusting in the guru’s greater wisdom and experience in spiritual matters.

Commitment to Learning and Growth:

Being a disciple means being committed to learning from the guru’s teachings and experiences. It’s about embracing their wisdom to foster personal and spiritual growth. This process often involves studying the guru’s teachings, attending talks or satsangs (spiritual gatherings), and engaging in practices recommended by the guru. In Amma’s case, it involves getting to the roots of the pain and disconnection so that we can emerge as a divinely inspired disciple.

Practice of Teachings:

A critical aspect of discipleship is putting the guru’s teachings into practice. This could involve meditation, service to others (seva), chanting, or other spiritual practices. The aim is to internalize and live out the principles and insights provided by the guru.

Transformation of Self:

The path of discipleship is fundamentally transformative. It aims at a profound inner change—from reducing ego and personal desires to cultivating qualities like compassion, humility, and unconditional love. The guru’s role is to facilitate this transformation through guidance, inspiration, and sometimes direct spiritual intervention.

Devotion and Love for the Guru:

Devotion to the guru is not merely respect or admiration; it’s a deeper, more encompassing love. It’s seeing the guru as an embodiment of divine love and wisdom. This devotion is often expressed through bhakti (devotional practices), service, and a deep emotional bond with the guru.

Community and Sangha:

Being part of a guru’s community (sangha) means engaging with fellow disciples in a shared spiritual journey. This communal aspect provides support, learning, and an opportunity to practice spiritual principles in relationships with others.

Ethical Living and Selfless Service:

Discipleship often involves living according to ethical principles and engaging in selfless service. Many gurus, including Amma, emphasize the importance of serving humanity and living a life that reflects spiritual values.

Continual Inner Work:

Being a disciple is not a static state; it’s an ongoing process of self-inquiry and deeply releasing the roots of all pain. It’s the inner work that’s vital—and striving to align more closely with the spiritual teachings of the guru. This journey often involves facing personal challenges and overcoming them through spiritual practices and the guru’s guidance.

In essence, being a disciple and devotee of a guru like Amma means embarking on a lifelong journey of spiritual evolution, guided by the guru’s teachings and example, and fueled by personal devotion and practice. It’s a path of both personal and collective transformation, aimed at realizing one’s highest spiritual potential.

Beyond Romantic Love: Understanding True Love

In Amma’s philosophy, the concept of romantic love often falls short of true love. While romantic love can bring joy, it is frequently entangled with need, greed, projection, and presumption. After all, romantic love is a karmic relationship, not dharmic. Karmic relationships are contractual. Dharmic relationships are committed to selfless service and embodying love for the other person in all things.

True love, as Amma teaches, is selfless and unconditional, transcending the ego and its desires. It’s about seeing and loving the other for who they truly are, not for what they can provide us or how they make us feel.

Embracing Amma’s teachings has been a journey of returning to my authentic and divine Self, learning to love deeply and heal from the inside out.

In a world where love is often misunderstood, and healing is a challenging path, Amma’s wisdom serves as a guiding light, leading us back to our true nature, which is love itself.


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