This correspondence comes with loving wishes for your deepest peace and well being.
Last month I spent a week with my spiritual inspiration and teacher, Amma, the hugging saint. When I’m with her I realize how little I really give. She is 24/7, all about serving humanity. No one “walks the talk” as she does. She is a spiritual force unlike anything I’ve seen. She forgets her self (as in the body she seems to occupy) and she gives every single minute of every day, gives us hope in our own goodness, in our own divinity, in our own capacity to live a life of great love and goodness. But she also shows us, not by anything she says, but simply by how she lives her life every day, how focused we actually are on our own selves. On our bodies, on our agendas, on our desires, on our finances, on our clothes, on our acquiring what we want. And it is truly humbling to see what it actually looks like to live for all beings. To truly live the bodhisattva vow to take innumerable incarnations until all beings are awakened to their true self, until all beings are liberated from suffering. This is indeed Christ-like. We talk about how we are divine, but do we live as a divine being? Amma demonstrates how to live as a divine being. And what a blessing when we see how to move more in that direction.
One of my favorite quotes from Amma seems so appropriate in these times. She says, “We are all links in the chain of Life. If one link is weak, so is the entire chain. Each thought and action has the power to brighten or darken many lives. Try to make others happy and don’t despair over all the evil in the world. Don’t let others’ bad actions influence you to do wrong. Instead of cursing the dark, let us each light one small lamp. Don’t be discouraged by the impossibility of dispelling darkness from the world with your one little candle. Just light it! Step forward and let it shine with every step you take to help others.
I have been heartbroken, as I know so very many are, all over this planet, at the sight of our beloved Gulf of Mexico being polluted, desecrated, destroyed, day by day. It’s nearly unbearable, and many people have to just distance themselves from it because of the frustration and helplessness it invokes. I spent so many days, so many summers on those beautiful Gulf beaches, growing up in Florida; I know them very personally and very well.
Yet let us not despair. Let us not be crippled by the despair and sadness. Let us breathe in and out, let us pray, let us be still inside, find guidance and strength, and do what we can. There is infinite intelligence in mankind, and we can find a way to live consciously on this planet. I think the obvious need to do so is becoming about as blatant as it gets. We can stop this leak, we can stop it from happening in the future, we can find a way to live wisely, and take care of this planet. We are with God, when we are humble, open, willing, and determined, and with God, all things are possible.
Do what you can, and be at peace. Your peace, your ability to smile, to breathe, to be kind, to love, to be generous, to give a little more to others, to feel grateful for sunshine, for flowers, for mountain lakes, and for this precious life is a gift to others. Make sure you take in some inspiration, along with the news.
I leave you with these words from the Buddha:
Live in joy, in love,
Even among those who hate.
Live in joy, in health,
Even among the afflicted.
Live in joy, in peace,
Even among the troubled.
Look within, be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of the way.
May all beings be free from suffering. May all beings awaken. May all beings be at peace.
with great love,