Amma's Ashram

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Oct 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
Matha Amrithanandamayi Mission

Flag of India  , Kerala,
Saturday, August 29, 2009

To get to my next destination, i took a 4 hr cruise of Kerala's backwaters. For the most part the backwater, or large canal runs parallel to the coast of the Arabian Sea, just a bit inland. I hopped off half way through, as it continued for another 4 hours. The cruise was very relaxing as i sat on the covered rooftop, watching, taking pictures, at the locals carrying on with their normal everyday lives. There were fishermen, labourers transporting sand on wooden canoes, women washing at the shore, kids waving and smiling, kids swimming. Again the land is covered many lush green palm trees and it is absolutey beautiful. The hours went by with ease and relaxation and smiles on my could it not really.

I was quite excited aboot staying at the ashram for a few days, as i didn't know what to expect and looking forward to the new experience but with that came apprehension. This is the Ashrma of Amma or 'the Hugging Mother' she is known as her darshan (blessing) is that she hugs everyone. She is well-known worldwide and has toured visiting various countries (she was just in Toronto last month). She is responsible for many humaniatrian organizations and charitable work. I was in luck, she was in fact at the ashram while i was there. ..however, i choose not to get her darshan or a hug from her.
By the way, an ashram is a communal living environment (which can differ dramatically with each one) that promotes well-being, spiritality and inner peace withoot any religious attachment, just a superior guider, a guru (dead or alive)...that is my definition anyways and perhaps my expectations as well.

However, right away i got a really bad vibe, bad ja-ja as i call it. I wasn't feeling it and everything that i expected to feel at an ashram...peace, tranquility, openness, comfort, positivity, good vibrations, i wasn't...i was feeling the opposite. But i thought it was because it was new, i was new so i was gonna give it a chance, some time. My gut feeling just intensitied though and i really did not like it, felt uneasy and uncomfortable. I was happiest when i went oot of the ashram for a walk through the local town, villages taking pictures...and when i went to the beach right across from the ashram and watched the waves and saw the stars and the moon. As soon as i returned, i would tighten up. I did my Seva, selfless service for the day which was serving lunch. That was interesting as i could interact with all the different peeps there, they were just like everywhere else...some where friendly, happy, smiling, some weird, rude, angry, grumpy, picky, demanding,..not what i expected but the engery i had felt.

There are 2000 permanent residents there and hundreds of visitors at any one time so a lot of people...and i was just an ant in an ant hill as i felt. There was no strict schedule or guidance which i think is good and bad. meditation wasn't mandatory, or seva. So i felt like there was a lot of 'lost' people that ended up there, looking for guidance, looking to belong to something, to feel a part of something and was easy to do so with having to adhere to nothing and feeling false self security perhaps. It wasn't a friendly environment by any means. I didn't meet anyone except my roommates...they both had a pictures of Amma beside their bed and one had a doll of her that she hugged at night. I just feel like the environment held too much unhealthy attachment and love to Amma (not on purpose necessarily but that is what it provoked). People should find love, respect and attachment within themselves and i guess that is what i expected an ashram to help provide. So 2 nights were more than enough for me, i gave it a chance but could not wait to leave (i was almost as happy as when i left Mexico for those who know that story). I am not evaluating all ashrams on this experience and i hope you dont do the same and i did learn something from this experience as there is always something to be gained.

An ashram is not for me right now, even though i am in India and they are at my doorstep...traveling India independently is more than enough, traveling all the counties i have is more than enough for me, for right now. As a very wise person pointed oot to me who i adore ..."The earth is my ashram and i am my guru."

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