When I was a child, I told my mother I wanted to be a nun. She slapped me. If only she had asked why I had said that, I would have told her it was because my true home was the silence inside me and I wanted to live here all the time.
In my early 20s, I fell into a deep depression. I was sent to psychiatrists and psychologists, but none of them could get me to speak. If only someone had asked the right question, I would have told them I was far away from home and didn’t know how to get there.
In my late 20s, I took some LSD and dropped out of my burgeoning an academic career. I was homeless for a while and money, status, security and comfort no longer mattered. I traveled deep inside to to ask “Who am I?” (and a lot of other questions) and encountered dragons and angels, rainbows and storms, princesses and ugly ducklings.
In my 30s, I left the world behind and pursued spiritual freedom at all costs. I traveled to India and found myself “at home” in the vast grace of this land. I looked for love, fell into the heart of Osho, and then discovered this love was my own heart.
In my 40s, back in the heart of the big city, a voice told me to stop right here and be still. I stopped looking for love and faced my aloneness. In deep surrender to the abyss of emptiness, I was reborn as the fullness of life. Now I could start truly living … in the world, but not of it.
Today, in my 50s, I have no more questions. Strangely – unlike my early years – I now speak a lot, and people come to me with questions. But I’m not concerned with giving the right answers, because truth is not a solution. I’m not interested in pointing to an unbounded freedom that saves you from the rough and tumble of the human experience. I see that spirituality is a myth created by the mind that seeks salvation. I see that freedom is an illusion because this life is inescapable. I see that acceptance is the only answer.
I no longer care whether the world is an illusion or whether it is real. Whether God exists or does not. Whether I reincarnate or come to a full stop when this body dies. I no longer care about being spiritual or being enlightened. I care only that I live as the open hand in the midst of that which offends me. That I surrender my self-righteousness when it rears its tight fist. That I meet you in tenderness without needing to take care of you or please you.
I am no longer scared by dark feelings, because nothing is dark when it is fully allowed. Sadness, regret, loss and despair … all these are children of the One Life, and all are welcome here. Each one of them comes home to my heart and kisses me gently before it is gone. Nothing is denied and nothing stays.
I am no-thing and I am every-thing.
I am both the dream and the dreamless.
I am the unbroken amidst the broken.
– Amoda Maa
(photo circa. 1992 🙂