In which I don’t know where to see Mother this year.
The US Tour schedule just came out, and wouldn’t you know that a friend is getting married during the Seattle dates and I’ve already committed to singing at her ceremony?
Meaning, of course, that if I see Mother in Seattle, I’ll have to leave the program early to be back in time. Lame. Might as well see Her somewhere else!
Chicago? Emailed NLW to see if she’s going; if she says yes, I’ll blow my tax return on airfare. If no, I’ll probably go to the San Ramon ashram programs since I’ve never seen Her there. The DC or New York programs are also possible, but while I do know people both places I don’t think I know any devotees.
(I haven’t even begun to plan my travel but I’m already dreading the results of being out of the office for more than six hours. Being the only person in your department is kind of stressful.)
Last year I had ‘get divorced’ and ‘obtain passport’ on my post-seeing-Amma to do list. I’ll have both handled by the time I see Mother again. We’ll just have to wait and see if I feel compelled to ask Her whether I should go to India/do ashram life for awhile or stay here and wait until G’ma actually needs me. I’m really not doing anything useful with my life, ultimately, and hello: I’m alive during the embodiment of an Incarnation. Why am I settling for seeing such a being once a year? What the hell am I doing, not fighting tooth and nail to be near Her all the time? The odds of there being an Avatar in my next life are low, low, low. Every second you give away you never get back.
There’s a girl I know from Fairfield; she’s been an Amma devotee since she was a child. We all thought she’d eventually get Amma’s permission to move to Amritapuri, and that by now she’d be wearing the ochre. No matter how many times she asked Amma never said yes, and now the girl has grown up to be a householder with a husband and kids of her own. I always thought I was the householder, but here I am, more or less living like an acetic (in many ways) and wondering if I can stand to waste any more time.
Well, I’m not wasting all my time. I’m pretty much engaged in my practice, as far as I’m capable, all the time. And I no longer forget that “wherever you go, there you are,” so I don’t have a dream that ashram life would be magically wonderful. I expect I’d be just as lazy, angry, and embarrassing among renunciates as I am now in the world.
I do think, though, that what I am doing (working full time in a field that, while not being inherently destructive, isn’t exactly increasing the world’s amount of goodness) isn’t terribly meaningful. I work, I sleep, I buy groceries… is this the meaning of life? I’d like to be engaged in more essential service: cooking food for devotees, or building concrete houses for widows. I’d also enjoy living a lifestyle that had an overt spiritual structure; the world in general these days has zero interest in dispassion. Even religious and spiritual people are more interested in acting out cultural habits than they are in examining consciousness.
Of course, who am I to think I could handle the structure? They probably expect you to be chanting at six in the morning. I do love having my own way, so my odd little life is probably perfect for my particular vasnas. But maybe not. I can’t tell, to be honest.
Which is why I need to ask Mother what I should do. If I can even bring myself to speak to Her. (It took me five years to screw up the courage to ask Her to give me a spiritual name.) Maybe She’ll say I’m progressing fine as I am. Maybe She’ll tell me to stay here and do my granddaughterly duty. Maybe She’ll tell me it’s about time and send me to San Ramon or Amritapuri. Maybe She’ll ignore my question altogether. One can’t possibly know, with an Incarnation, but I really should ask.
At least maybe next year, or the year after, if not this year. I mean, I can barely even look at Her, let alone talk to Her. Plus you have to get up early to make it into the question line. Or, um, what if there’s no swami there to translate? So many things could happen. She probably wouldn’t even answer. But maybe She would. Oh, God. Argh!
Update: I can’t get the Chicago dates off work. Apparently I’ll be going to San Ramon this year.
Possible itinerary 1: June 5 – 10. 4 days out of the office, 4 days of public programs with Amma.
Possible itinerary 2: June 10 – 14. 4 days out of the office, 2.5 days of retreat programs with Amma plus the public Devi Bhava, added retreat expense.