Mata Amritanandamayi Math
October 21, 2009
I met Mata Amritanandamayi at a small convention center in Chicago IL program on July 3, 1995. I came as a skeptical observer and to placate some friends who had talked about this 'Ammachi' lady for years. I stood away from the crowd and tried to be as unbiased a witness to her darsan or hug as possible. Quite frankly I couldn't imagine why these people were waiting in line for so many hours to see her. Quite frankly, I hate crowds and to make matters worse,the air conditioning wasn't working. As I watched her, I was amazed that she could greet each person with the same warmth and energy as she'd done to the last person she'd embraced. Hours passed and she hadn't taken a break or a drink - I had needed hourly breaks because of the terrible heat- and I wondered how this was humanly possible. Needless to say, I was awed and deeply touched by the self sacrifice I saw that unforgetable evening. It was life changing on so many levels, but specifically her example had me question what I had been doing in my own life for others. At the very least, I began to see Amma as an amazing role model for how we should be to other people: attentive to others, embracing their differences without judgement and with a loving and accepting heart. Amma inspired me to open up to things I'd always wanted to do, but been afraid of. Since meeting her I've been inspired to volunteer at hospice, to work with severely disabled children and brain-injured groups, all while finishing my R.N. degree. I can only thank dear Amma for the inspiration and encouragement to make the leap of faith from a self-centered to an other-centered life.
I had the opportunity to travel to Amma's ashram in 2003, and see her charitable activities and institutions for myself. AIMS Hospital in Cochin was amazing - our American health care experts would do well to study how Amma's organizations stretch resources to care for so many poor. Monthly, I saw the poor widows line up at the ashram to get their pension checks. In a country that has no social welfare network, Amma has taken on that role for countless poor families, especially women and children. I also witnessed Amma's announcement at that time that she would take on the educating of exploited women and girls forced into prostitution - quite a high risk enterprise. This was all pre-tsunami, an event that accelerated Amma's charitable resources beyond what we imagined was possible. With our local ACM group (Amma Center of Michigan), we joined forces with others worldwide who've been moved by Amma's example of selflessness, to raise money in whatever small way we could, to help with this and other disasters. Our family and friends find it an enjoyable Saturday activity to help cook lunch at a local homeless shelter as part of the Mother's Kitchen project. When I look back at almost 15 years since I've met Amma, I've had the privelege to meet and work with so many talented and devoted volunteers from all over the world, it truly amazes me. Amma encourages all of us to fearlessly do our part for each other and for our earth; to treat everything and everybody with respect and gratitude.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
increasing my management and communication skills through coordinating the flower shop charitable sales for Amma's yearly Michigan program. I've had the opportunity to travel, interact and learn new skills with other diverse volunteers.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every month
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & Cooking, cleaning, gardening, fund-raising activities.