Karunamayi is someone who has helped me immensely, healing those parts of myself that I couldn’t reach on my own.It took me awhile to figure out the depth of my relationship with Karunamayi, whom I’ll call Amma from now on. Back in about 1997 or so, a friend of mine phoned to ask me if I’d be available for her to practice jin shin do (basically shiatsu/acupressure); she liked practicing with me because I could give her feedback about her technique. So a couple of days later I was stretched out on my friend’s massage table and she was doing pressure points on me. Somewhere along the line I decided to pull in some additional energy: I did this by focusing on my heart, “reaching” from there straight into the space above my body, and pulling energy into me. I found myself shifting a bit to my right heart (I always experience myself as having three hearts: one in the center, one on the left, and one on the right), when suddenly there was a much larger influx of energy—nothing overwhelming, but more than I’d expected. At the same time I heard a fairly loud voice say to me, “You are my beloved son.” That seemed rather Biblical to me, so I just kind of ignored it in favor of the loud crashing that was coming from above my head. I thought my friend had tripped over something, since she’d been standing at my head, and had her hands on my head when the energy influx happened. I noticed that she’d removed her hands and I could hear her shuffling around and things being moved on the floor. A short while later she again put her hands on my head, then quickly removed them. Some time passed and then she tried again to put her hands on my head, and this time she stayed.
After the session was over, I sat up and looked around: my friend was standing there giving me very strange looks. She asked, “What happened?” I said, “Not much. Why?” She told me that she’d been standing above my head, with her hands on my head, when there was suddenly such a strong burst of energy that she was thrown bodily against the wall behind her, which was probably six feet from where she’d been standing. The noise and shuffling I’d heard was my friend trying to get back on her feet. After she got back up she again put her hands on my head but couldn’t keep them there—they kept getting repelled.
Shortly after all that my life changed and I started thinking about moving back to the US, from Canada, where I’d lived for thirty years. By the beginning of 1998 I’d pretty much decided on the move, but I was still very apprehensive about it: I loved living in Canada. But every time I started questioning myself about moving I would see my entire room light up with a very bright light, and I knew I was doing the right thing, regardless of my fears at the time. At one point, a few days before I was to leave, I was outside loading my truck and again questioning myself, and again the whole world lit up with a bright white light, as if to tell me not to worry.
So I moved to Tucson. I didn’t meet Karunamayi until a couple of years later. The first time I went to see her, I hadn’t heard of her and went basically out of curiosity, or so I thought. I listened to the evening talk she gave, received a quick darshan, and went home not sure if I wanted to go back the next day. She wasn’t saying anything that I hadn’t heard before, and it was information I’d known for many years. I lay in bed that evening, trying to decide if I really wanted to go back the next day, and the next, much less go to the homa (fire ceremony). As I lay there it occurred to me that I was missing something, that I was approaching her based on what she had to say rather than who she was or might be. So I decided to go back the next morning, only I’d go back with a different approach: I’d see her through my heart rather than through my head.
I sat there the next morning, perhaps thirty feet from her, in the middle of the rest of the people siting in front of her, and I consciously chose to change my means of looking at her: I looked with my heart instead of my head. And as soon as I did so, she looked straight at me, smiled and nodded her head, and put her hand over her heart. And everything changed. It didn’t matter to me what she was talking about: I didn’t care if she was talking about Sanatan Dharma or making compost. For me it was, and still is, only about being in her presence. Everything else is secondary.
A few years after my first meeting Amma, we had our first meditation retreat with her here in Tucson. At that time we had three day retreats (the good old days), and this retreat was at a guest ranch just north of Tucson. At the end of the first day of the retreat we all lined up to get a blessing and darshan from Amma. When I’d done this before, she usually said something like “my child,” or “my baby” to me and I assumed to everyone else. But this time it was different: this time, as she put her hand on my head, she looked me in the eyes and said, “My beloved son.” I went back to my tent that night and thought about the possibility of Amma being the source of the large energy influx and the voice that said “My beloved son” when I was on the massage table back in Canada. Next day, the second day of the retreat, I was sitting, kind of half meditating, half listening to what Amma was saying, when I started thinking about Amma calling me her beloved son and the connection to what had happened in Canada several years earlier. At that point, something like seven years had passed between my friend getting thrown against the wall and my sitting there with Amma. So I was thinking about that when I suddenly realized that Amma had stopped talking. I looked up at her, and she was looking at me, saying nothing, and making hard eye contact. I looked back at her and thought, “was that you back then, when I was on the massage table in Canada?” And she continued to look at me, making eye contact, and then she nodded, not just a single nod, but nodding her head “yes.”
So for me, the primary purpose of my moving to Tucson was to meet and be with Karunamayi.