What I’ve Learned From Amma

by Joumana Rizk

You can look up at the sun and think, 'I want to be like the sun!'  But you know practically that this can never happen.  At least why not try to be like a firefly?  We might not be able to shine that full light and warmth unto the world like the sun, but at least we can become like a tiny glow in the dark.  A small beacon of light to guide someone's way. –Amma

As I have been called to start Peacelights, an organization based on the belief that peace is a responsibility, not just a right, and that each of us must do our part, I have been deeply influenced and inspired by the life and teachings of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi , the great spiritual teacher and world humanitarian affectionately known as Amma. I sat at Amma’s feet for the last twelve years, increasingly astonished by the blazing light of love that she shines on humanity.

What many people don’t know is that while she hugs millions, she inspires and personally runs multi-million-dollar humanitarian efforts worldwide. Since 2006, I have had the privilege to be a representative at the United Nations for Amma’s humanitarian organization, the M. A. Math, and I am just beginning to see the depth and impact of her works.

Here is a woman spiritual leader, running multi-million-dollar operations around the globe, while hugging and mothering thousands daily, and by the way writing and singing the most amazing devotional music.  This woman is living in our time, in front of our very eyes, yet as I attend women’s conferences around the globe, I rarely hear women mentioning Amma. When I talk about her, the response I get is often something like: “Oh Amma, yes I love her- and what does she have to do with me and my mission?”

I can’t help but think that Amma has everything to do with all of our missions. In a time where each of us is called to be fully responsible for our collective future on this planet, as women especially we have in her a unique example of unleashing unprecedented power while operating fully from the feminine.

I will not attempt here to discuss Amma’s spiritual nature and who she is.  As her senior discipline Swami Dayamrita once said to me, discovering Amma’s true nature is a personal journey for every person who meets her.

My intent is simply to share with you what I have learned from Amma, divine feminine embodied for some, off-the-charts woman spiritual leader and CEO for others.

Now imagine this, the CEO of an organization telling her board of her new business plan: “I am going to go around the world and hug people, and in doing so I will start a hospital, build hundreds of thousands of houses for the poor, create several universities, orphanages, and schools, raise hundreds of millions of dollars and distribute them to the poor." What kind of response do you think this CEO will get?

One of things I find amazing about the Amma model is how uniquely personal it is to her. She uses the simple repetitive gesture of a hug, the innocent uncensored expression of her nature, and from it activates multi-million-dollar humanitarian activities on a daily basis.

I heard Amma once say that we should all aspire to become like Jesus not only pray to Jesus.

How does this apply to you?

Here are some questions to consider: What is the innocent expression of your true nature? As a child spontaneously having fun, what were you doing? When you first felt like you were on top of the world, what were you engaged in, what were you thinking, how were you moving, what was the physical expression of your light?

Look for your innocent expression and begin to practice it – uncensored. You might be surprised by what you create and how much fun you have in the process. For us at Peacelights, working this process gave birth to Peacelights Connect, street happenings physically connecting strangers to each other with bungee cords, spontaneously creating bubbles of peace in our cities.

Peacelights is a movement of like-minded people who are committed to transforming the darkness of our world through a network of inter-connected lights – people just like you and me – that on their own can shine brightly but together can illuminate an entire world.


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