Yesterday I spent the day at Ammachi's ashram in San Ramon. Amma (http://www.amma.org/) is known as the hugging saint and comes to the Bay Area twice a year to hold public meetings. Thousands of people go to this ashram, and to others around the world, to get hugged by her. Her hug offers a spiritual transmission that helps people in whatever way is best for them. The immediate impact of her hug for me was being in an altered state. I couldn't drive back home last night; luckily my girlfriend could. However the long term impact of her hugs is life changing: Healing happens in relationships; Anything that doesn't serve is removed; Emotional pain is healed. Each time the experience is very different and always very personal.
Yesterday my visit to Amma was about healing relationships. I wasn't surprised when a male friend I haven't spoken to in a few weeks because of discord between us, showed up and sat in front of me. He didn't see me but I could see him from the balcony where I was sitting. I meditated on his face and asked to heal this relationship with ease and grace. After about 20 minutes of my meditating he looked up at the balcony and saw me. He smiled. Later on we ran into each other outside. We hugged and started walking towards the cafeteria.
Over two cups of hot steaming chai, we sat across from each other.
"I'm tired of fighting this war," I said. "I want to lay my sword down. What is it you want from me?"
He didn't say a word but in my mind I received an immediate response: Acceptance.
Of course. I had to admit to myself that I never really accepted him as he is. I was always trying to improve him. He wasn't healed enough, awake enough, sophisticated enough. You name it; he wasn't enough of it.
"You want acceptance from me," I stated. He flinched in agreement.
"OK" I heard myself say, "I need to offer you acceptance. I apologize for all the mean things I have called you." I went on and listed a bunch of terms I will not list here.
"None of the things I called you are true. They were my own projections. I take back the shame I placed at your feet. I apologize for abandoning you over and over and over again. I have abandoned you many more times than you have abandoned me. That too is a projection. I apologize for being disappointed in you because you couldn't meet all the expectations I had..."
The apology went on and on, coming from a very deep humbling place which I usually don't access. He listened silently, his eyes tearing. When I finally finished, he hugged me. This too was a hug by grace of the Indian Saint. We then went our separate ways, as we each had come with friends.
Last night as I lay in bed, still feeling the energy of the day, he called and left a message on my voice mail: "Thank you for sharing today. I really appreciate it. I hope we can drop the swords and the knives and there's no more wars, just love and appreciation for each other. That's what I want. Thanks a lot for being open, vulnerable, and honest. I will do my best not to cause any suffering and pain--unnecessary suffering and pain. Thank you so much, sweet heart."
My lesson today for the Course of Miracles is:
By grace I live. By grace I am released.
By grace I give. By grace I will release.
By the grace of Amma I released my friend. And is so doing, I released my self.