This time I came away with the sense that Amma has a gift which is mysterious and profound, and that a lot of the difficulties that people experience come from what sense they try to make of that.
When I think back on the experiences I have had at the summer programs over the last several years, I can see why it would eventually become difficult for me to be as open to further experiences. The 2003 program was a wonderful introduction. The only difficult part was that, since X was my introduction to Amma and since he left soon after the program to attend Amma's 50th birthday celebration in India, I was separated from my primary frame of reference for the experience, even though I wanted to have more opportunities to process it with someone.
In 2004, he and I had already had a falling out before I went to any of the programs, and it became clear that it wouldn't be easy to get beyond that. Although there was a respite of sorts later on, when we went to Michigan for the November programs, I was already begin to feel cautious and to pull away somewhat. Things really came crashing down in the winter of 2005 and, while I started hanging out with Y in the spring of that year, there were ups and dows there as well as I struggled with Y's youthful dogmatism: plus, my grandmother, who was my favorite relative, died while I was at the 2005 summer program.
In 2006, things were pretty good with Y, but the loss was that he left to go to India soon after the program was over. In 2007, my partner came to the public program. I roomed with Y, but by then he was already making plans to room with L. In a very adolescent way, she was "in" and I was "out." That was the summer when it became clear to me, through visions during darshan and other intuitions, that my mother would experience a recurrence of her illness and that her life would be in danger. She passed away at the very end of that year. Also, it was at that summer's program that X approached me, accompanied by a friend, after I had been working close to Amma for some time and was feeling particularly sensitive, and pulled one of these, "Gee, I don't want there to be any hard feelings between us" kind of things, and touched me while he talking to me. I don't think I've ever felt such a sense of revulsion toward anyone in my life. Something felt very toxic energetically, and I had a really difficult time processing that. I went back to the hotel room in search of bottled water and to try to feel more grounded, and found Y resting there, with L in my bed. Unfortunately, I found it difficult to keep from talking about what had just happened and Y had the poor judgment to start making fun of me. Not a good idea at all. I have realized in the interim that, because I had evidently been traumatically subjected to shame about certain of my feelings, repeatedly, while growing up, there is a nearly uncontrollable rage and hatred that wells up when people push those buttons. It really becomes a matter of kill or be killed. It's not pretty. Not finding a safe space in the hotel room (for which I had paid my share), I returned to the darshan hall and tried to find comfort and grounding in focusing on Mother's presence. What I have found, however, is that trying to substitute focus on the guru for interpersonal relationships is that it is something of a head trip. It lacks the genuine give-and-take of a real relationship, and therefore it is really limited in terms of its ability to bring comfort. Yes, it can help to expand one's awareness, but I find it easier for that to happen when I am also grounded in functioning relationships.
The years 2008, 2009, and 2010 are less distinct in my mind, except that I recall feeling more fatigued than inspired in 2010. My partner accompanied me to those programs, so there was less of a distance between my experience of them and my day-to-day life. On the other hand, I don't think I was as receptive during those years because I was already somewhat self-protective on account of things that had happened in the intervening years. I think that the real cleansing for me began in 2011, when I didn't go at all, and in the work I had done in reading the ex-Amma list on Yahoo this past year.
This year, the experiences that I had seemed to support a sense of acceptance and forgiveness that didn't feel forced, but that also recognized certain limitations. One significant difference for me was that, by witnessing the nature of X's involvement in the organization from a distance this year, I was able to allow that he has his reasons for being involved in the way that he is, while I'm in a different place. Initially, in 2003, I came back from the program feeling very distant from my home life and my work, and became very critical of both. This time I was more inclined to allow the experience at the program to be what it was without feeling that I should be staying longer, doing more, etc.
Om Kreem Kalyai Namaha,