That which God said to the rose, & caused it to laugh in
full-blown beauty, he also said to my heart. ~Rumi
The other day, I had Darshan with Amma. It was delicious because it was filled with laughter…laughter mixed with love.
Amma is a woman, some say a saint, who has given her life to selfless service. She has created a global web of humanitarian services that are empowering women, feeding children, and responding to the immediate needs of millions of people affected by both natural and man-made disasters.
And, every day of her life, she spends hours giving Darshan to those who come to receive it. Darshan is a Sanskrit and Hindu term meaning sight (in the sense of an instance of seeing something or somebody), vision, apparition, or a glimpse. It can also mean to experience a realized Being, one such as Amma.
During her Darshans, Amma hugs you. You kneel down into her lap, and she hugs you. Now, this isn’t just a hug, it is a HUG. Everyone’s experience with Amma is different. Usually, I am simply filled with love.
The other day, it was a hug filled with laughter. As the woman ahead of me was receiving her Darshan, another woman brought a baby over to Amma and the baby began to laugh. Amma laughed. The baby laughed. Amma laughed. They began to just grin at each other, and I was kneeling right in front of the whole shebang as it unfolded.
I just watched the playfullness of the baby, mirrored in the playfullness of Amma. You know how laughter is contagious? Well, the virus began to spread. I reached in for my hug and as Amma hugged me, she was still laughing. I could feel her entire body moving as she heartily laughed. I mean REALLY laughed. And, she has this deep, earthy laugh that makes it all the more compelling. My entire body began to laugh, too. I experienced sheer delight as I was held in the arms of this incredibly strong and lovingly compassionate woman.
Love, laughter and delight.
This past week, I also spent time with my granddaughter Aveline, and my niece’s twins, Eli and Hannah. Again, laughter. So much laughter at the sweetest things, the simplest things, the most unexpected things. Bugs. Berries. Peek-A-Boo. Dancing when there was no music to be found. Dancing at the drop of a note. Fascination with the littlest details I pass over every day.
Aveline is twenty-one months old, and Hannah and Eli are twenty-months. There is a wonder and curiosity at this age that is totally contagious.
With babies and children, one moment there’s laughter, and in the next, crocodile tears; one moment there’s amazement and wonder, and in the next, the need for a generous, big mama hug. These babies in my life are always giving Darshan.
Laughter, delight and amazement are qualities of the feminine aspect of life, qualities always available to us all, when we step out of our analytical minds and into the graces of the heart. From here, we can see, know, feel and touch things we miss in the ‘figuring-it-all-out’ places of the mind.
Life is full of so much turmoil right now. And yet, wonder and curiosity, hugs and amazement, love, laughter and delight are here, too. Just maybe, we might find a way out of all these seemingly intractable problems by remembering the innate, spontaneous movement of love that appears when we remember our own innocence and listen for that which caused the rose to laugh in full-blown beauty.
Life is always offering Darshan. Are we curious enough and open to receiving it?
What Darshan have you received lately? From life? From children? From who knows where?