My spiritual journey
As it happened over a few weeks.
Part 2 – The Amma Retreat In Santa Fe
Monday the 30th of June 2003
Mikayla and I left around 12am after having done a few errends, and arrived in Santa Fe at around midnight.We drove to Funda Hotel in downtown Santa Fe to get information about the retreat. No one from Amma´s group were there but I spoke with the man at the reception and received directions to the Ashram. As Mikalya told me in the car when she looked through the papers, the open for public, meaning free, was held the next day and following at the Ashram about 20 minutes from the Funda hotel.
Sharing a room
We decided to check into a Budget Hotel down the road from Funda Hotel. My thoughts wandered, and as I took my first step toward the reception area to get a room, Mikayla called out “be sure to ask for two twin beds”. “I will,” I said thinking o’well I did not plan on asking about that as I wanted to sleep in the same bed as Mikayla and see what happened. Sharing a room was really nice. There was caring for each other at a distance and no sexual energy, and I guess that was ok. I felt free around her and that was a powerful and great thing to experience. I gave her a massage in the morning right before we checked out and let my hands be guided by her body but as I got lower down on the back it became too intimate so she pulled away.
Tuesday the 1st of July 2003
The retreat in Santa Fe
Mikayla talked about her mother and somewhat difficult relationship they have. But Mikayla decided to call and ask if we could borrow her parents home during our stay for Amma´s retreat. She received permission to stay at the house as long as she needed. Much later in the day we were to pick up the key at a neighbors home. But before doing so we went to Amma’s retreat to see what was going on.
Amma’s Ashram contained a huge white tent for the retreat. Containing a stage on one end where Amma sat and gave hugs. During Darshan people line up in two rows waiting their turn and the rows slowly move forward. People sat in front of the stage meditating, feeling the energy in the room and Amma.
Mikayla and I left after a while heading southward to her home to pick up the key at her neighboors and drop of our things. The house is an Adobe house, a white mud and straw house that is typical for New Mexico. We stayed at the house for a while and I went for a walk in the area. Took a shower and rested while Mikayla did other things.
We left for the Ashram at 7pm. There was a lot more activity happening in the evening, then earlier in the day, but it was less then at the Marriot Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Desert Labyrinth
We got there and noticed a guy walk by us and we asked him if he was parked close by. He told us that he had taken a short cut and was not sure where his car was located. The parking area around the Ashram is like a labyrinth of dirt paths, roads and desert trees, and it is not easy to find out where one is parked. Mikayla asked if he wanted a lift to his car, so he came with us. She was driving and we drove around and worked on finding his car in the darkness of a desert night. We found it after having taken a few wrong turns and backing up a few times, and as we left he gave a token (a number for the line for Darsham) to Mikayla. He only had one so I had to get one for myself as we arrived at the tent. We found an open spot and parked and walked through the labyrinth to get to the Ashram tent. Before entering the space everyone takes off their shoes and leaves them in the shoe tent, or just outside of it.
The Ashram tent
As we got inside I looked for the line to get a token and Mikayla went to find some of her friends. There was a line of about 13 people and as I came to the front a girl who was working there told me that only new people could get tokens at this point, but I told her that a friend of mine had already received one, so the girl sighed and gave me one so that I could go in line about the same time as Mikayla.
Mikayla sat in the front and I walked over and showed her my token number 700-750, so she would have a certain idea when I could go in line. Her number was 100-150 I think. I sat down on her right side for a while giving her some space, but I suddenly noticed in the corner of my eye that I had taken the seat of a girl Mikayla had spoken with a few moments ago. I sat there and watched Amma give hugs. The line starts early and last for hours until it is done for the night, and it had just started it seemed a little while before Mikayla and I had arrived. A DVD begin on the two screens on the side of the stage to show things that Amma and her organization had done for people. The organization have raised money for hospitals, homeless people, and other aid. Much of it focused on India since Amma is from that country, but her organization also has food for the homeless in various cities in the US. We saw CNN, and various other reports on how Amma has hugged thousands and thousands of people through many years.
Strongly moved by Amma’s work
I was so moved by the DVD that I reached out to Mikayla and stroked her back for a moment before she turned to me and said that she was in her own space and did not want to be disturbed. I told her that I felt so much Love from watching the DVD about the things Amma have done for people all over the world, that I needed to share it. I left the space I had been in next to Mikayla as I felt sad, and as I went outside the tent I had a chance to study how it feels to be rejected. I sat on some wooden steps by the office building feeling the sadness within knowing that much of my life I have chosen to not really receive Love from anyone. Knowing it was my own choice, I made the conscious choice to let myself receive Love as I also give Love. To be in balance there is equal Love in giving and receiving.
I walked over to the food tent, and noticed Mikayla looking for me. I stood still glancing at her, enjoying that she was looking for me, knowing that she would eventually find me outside the tent. We talked and I mentioned that she was a mirror into myself and that I was glad that she said what she felt like saying. We ate and afterward Mikayla left to go back to the main tent. A few moments later the two girls I meet in Los Angeles, sat down two tables from me. The girl I connected the most with looked up at me and our eyes met. She waved me over and I took my almost finished food plate and cup and walked over to sit by them. We talked for a bit, and I told them how the timing fit in well. From them I received the unconditional Love that I needed at that moment. I walked into the main tent with them and we talked some more.
I noticed I was beginning to be affected by their presence so they both placed one foot on each of my feet to keep me grounded. It was time to go to the front of the stage to sit in front of Amma and meditate. Both of the girls sat right behind me and mediated as well.
Some time passed and a restless energy come over me and I knew it was time to go into the Darshan line. The line slowly moved forward and I looked into peoples eyes. One girl who walked by met my eyes and we connected. She and her friend walked on, and I continued the waiting in line. As I came closer and closer the energy affected me stronger and stronger, and I began to cry. When I came up to Amma I was crying, and as she held me I begun a very deep sope that moved through my body. She said few words to me in English. Which I held dear.
I walked tears dripping from my eyes, to sit below the stage with others who sat and mediated. I continued for a while to cry, and suddenly one of the persons in line to go up to Amma was the girl that I had connected with just a little while ago. After she received her hug she sat for a moment on the edge of the stage, and when she looked sideways our eyes met. The strength in our connection was filled with so much Love, and I blessed her for the connection I experienced. She came and sat next to me, and we continued to connect without any words. We both looked sideways at each other and appreciated the sharing of Love. There was so much softness between us.
Time to leave
Mikayla went up onto the side of the stage looking for me, as it was time to leave. She did not at first notice me, but suddenly she saw me sitting all the way in the front right by the stage, and I knew why she was there. I showed her my hand spreading out five fingers, meaning five or so minutes letting her know that I understood. I sat for a little longer, and before I left I stretched out my left arm to the back of the girl beside me and leaned in to give her a loving hug. She thanked me, and I thanked her. I left to find Mikayla, and found her in the back sitting next to one guy who was to come with us. We waited for another person and the four of us left together. Finding the car at night took a while but I did not mind as the darkness made it possible for us to clearly see the stars. It had become a late night before we arrived back at Mikayla´s parents house, and we all probably went to sleep at around 5am. I woke up at 8am, and had a restless sleep until 8.30am.
Wednesday the 2nd of July 2003
The Downtown retreat
We had a relaxing start this morning. Mikayla was exhausted so I suggested for her to stay at home. After having thought about it for a while she figured out that it was a good idea to just rest.
Sinaten, RueLea and I left for the downtown retreat at the Funda Hotel. We got there and parked by the Cathedral and walked over to the Hotel. I sat close to Amma much of the day. There were people sitting on the floor in front, and people spread around the stage to where there had been an empty place. It was so wonderful to experience the energy around Amma and peoples reaction to getting a hug by her.
RueLea had brought along her bags, so I spoke with Anisan and got his key to the mobil home to where I could bring her bags. She was planing on staying the night in his mobil home so that she would be sure to make it to the 10am morning retreat the following day.
Later that night I met RueLea and another girl that I had spoken with a few times, and we talked for a while until Anisan showed up and told them that they were going back to the mobil home for the night. I gave him his key and gave a good night hug to RueLea before I left with Sinatan.
Back to the house
On the way back to the house we talked about how we both easily became hooked on girls. I talked about the pulling feeling I had toward Mikayla, as if she was a magnet. We had a really good discussion about girls in the car and continued at the house when we got back.
Mikayla had left us a note saying that she had gone to bed at midnight, and the note also said good night to us.
Thursday the 3rd of July 2003
I was every exhausted this morning, and Mikayla suggested for me to stay and sleep and Sinatan and her would come and pick me up in the evening during a break in the schedule. So I thought about it for a moment and decided to go back to bed and sleep until they came back.
We took a picture on the porch. Two of Sinatan and Mikalya, and then two of Mikalya and I. I was shaking when I held her, as I felt really really out of it. Exhausted. My body going through many reactions to the last few days in being around Amma. I probably needed some food as well.
I went back to bed and slept a restless sleep until they got back in the evening. I believe I went in and out of the dreamworld, and worked on various issues that needed it.
On our way
They came back at around 4.30pm so I got up and took a shower. A half hour later we left for the retreat.
We arrived at 5.30pm at the time everyone was gathered on the roof porch of the hotel. Some singing and then a question and answer session with Amma. I felt so detached from Mikalya where I was sitting next to her that it was great. I enjoy the feeling of not having the attachment to her, and it bugged her and myself the attachment that was there earlier. I do not feel the need to attach myself to her any longer. As I do believe what I see in her I have found inside of myself, not needing to go out and grab it.
After the roof top experience people begun to walk toward the stairs. I and a few others held back and stood watching the sun set. A man came over and told me how much I was helping people. My mind was not entirely sure of what he was talking about, but I do know inside. We talked for a few moments and I then gave him a hug before he left, and moments later I also went to the stairs. It was now time for dinner with Amma, as she was eating in the same parking ramp area which had been made into a eating place with tables and chairs as everyone else was. I did not see her but I think she was there.
I felt so much at peace because among other things the short discussion with the man on the roof top, that when I ate my food I sat for a long time in silence before the one guy I sat with began to talk about some of his experiences. Then the guy on the right began to talk about Amma.
It was back to the gathering hall, and a little while later Amma showed up in the hall. We sang, and Amma´s “assistant” read out loud wisdom about life.
It was time for Darshan and everyone who had not had a hug that morning from Amma could now get a hug that night.
I sat on the stage for a few moments before the people on it was asked to move as there was going to be some entertainment on the stage.
So I moved off the stage wondering where to sit, and I noticed that the girl that sat behind Mikalya moved so I went in and sat down.
Later that night
Mikalya, Sinaten and I left. Walked back to the car and headed back home. It is now 3.47am and my brothers birthday is on the 4th of July which is right now. So I will send him an e-mail.
Mikayla told me that it was good to see me back in my space. It offended something in me. So I begin saying something about how I was not in her space but pulled away. But a moment later I calmed down and said yes it is good to me back in my own space. Feeling detached to everything. Especially feeling detached to Mikayla making it possible for us to connect even better.
Friday the 4th of July 2003 – The last day of the retreat
We arrived at the hotel at around 12.30am, and watched the rest of the Darshan. When it was over Mikayla and I helped gather the chairs and do whatever else was needed to clear the space for the Pudja ceremony coming up later in the day.
Mikalya and I then went for a walk in the area around the hotel. We talked for a while about how I get stuck to girls, probably similar to how mom did with my brother and I when we were younger.
After the talk I walked back to the hotel, while Mikalya sat in the park area close by and made some calls. I went to the parking area where a line was forming for the Puja (a ceremony with Amma) so I stood in line for a while feeling guilty and down about how I seem to stick like glue to girls I meet that I feel attracted to. But there was no need to focus on that now. I know about it and can do something about how I use my energy in meeting people.
The line began to move and one of the girls working for Amma came asking if there was anyone who were missing a token for the Darshan (hugging ceremony with Amma). I told her that a token had been put aside for me with the number 501-550, so she looked in her reserve pile and found a token with that number. Mikalya had picked up a token earlier in the day when I was busy clearing tables from the space that was going to be used, and she told me that she had put aside a token for me. A few minutes after I had received my token Mikalya came walking through the line looking for me.
Sharing chocolate cake
She needed some money for a snack, so I gave her a few dollars and she went and got a chocolate cake piece for us to share. She had also back in Los Angeles before the Pudja ceremony bought a chocolate cake piece for us to share, so it seemed we were getting into a tradition here.
We took off our shoes by the shoe racks by the entrance to the hallway in the parking ramp and proceeded forward in a long line going into the ballroom where the ceremony and most other events were being held.
We were two
There we were asked by someone holding up one finger if we were coming alone or not. Mikayla signaled back and said that we were two. So we were both placed next to two others on the floor. There were groups of four placed tightly together all along the floor in the ballroom. Next to everyone was a small plastic cup lid that would later be placed onto the plastic water cup we were to receive. Beneath it was a small brown envelope for people who wanted to give a donatation to Amma´s organization.
The room filled up with people. Behind Mikayla and I sat two mothers with their babies. Close behind me one of the mothers sat with her baby son and probably around 6 year old daughter. The baby son crawled around close by, and when he sat in his mothers lap he kept on leaning his head toward my back. I think he enjoyed noticing someone behind him, and I turned my head on occasion and smiled to him. I enjoy looking babies and young kids in the eyes as they and I like to connect through the eyes, since we are so open.
The ceremony begins
The ceremony began after a while, and the location were Mikayla and I sat was very close to the stage so that we could easily see what was going on in the little area they were using. For this ceremony many people had to sit in the parking ramp area that was used for dinners, since the space was not large enough to hold everyone that wanted to enter into the ballroom.
We sang and mediated for the Puja ceremony, and at the end Amma blessed the three bucket size silver metal containers that were filled with water. Helpers dippet the small plastic cups into the metal containers and placed them onto plastic trays and the trays were passed around. Each person took one of the small plastic cups now filled with blessed water, and snapped a lid on top, and placed it in front of the spot they were sitting. The water could be taken after the ceremony or be given away to a loved one, or someone else.
After the ceremony we had dinner together outside in the parking ramp.
Darshan began again late that night.
Saturday the 5th of July 2003
Mikayla and I got home from the hotel after having stopped along the way for breakfest at 7.30-8am after the all night Devi Baba (special Darsham ceremony).
We slept for a few hours and got up in the middle of the day.
Mikalya went into her room a while ago and continued to do some writing on her story about the Sufi Princess. It sounds like a good story. With probably a few elements from her own life, and herself as the main character.
Both our doors were open so she laid down on her bed so she could see me sitting here in my room writing on this laptop. She could not write much as she was too tired, so she asked me how to say good night in Norwegian. She knew how to say good night in German, Guten Nacht, so I told her that it was very similar to Norwegian, and I told her God Natt. She came into my room and gave me her first good night hug. It was nice, and I am glad that I am giving her space, as much space as she needs, meaning I do not hang around all the time following her every foot step. I give her space to ask me if I want to come along, or for instance earlier today when she could not find the keys to the car, to call out to me from her room while I am in the kitchen “Paal, I can not find the car keys!” so that I came into her room to look with her.
Sunday 6th of July 2003
We rested a lot this day, and later we went in to Whole Foods and bought some dinner which we ate there. Afterward we dropped by Kinkos to rearrange a flyer for Mikayla´s screening of her movie about Jews and Palestinians. And we also took 10 copies that we will spread around in the Santa Fe area. There will be a screening on Thursday at the Jewish Synagogue in town.
We got home a while later and Mikayla´s mom called and they had a long conversation. Her mom is having some problems with the way Mikayla is living her life and is worried. This sounds kinda similar to my own mom. They also have money issues in their family.
Outside in the night air
After their long talk Mikayla and I sat down in the kitchen for the next 3 hours and talked. I bascially listened to what Mikayla needed to share and to figure out. It was around 4am before she went to sleep. I turned off the lights and went outside and began to shiver, so I went back to my room or atleast tried in the darkness of the house where I saw nothing. It was an interesting challenge though, and suddenly Mikalya came out of her room to change the water in her glass since she had noticed a bug in it. She turned on the lights and went into the kitchen while I went to the room to get my fleece jacket. As I got back into the kitchen area I heard that Mikayla closed the door to the porch. We said our good nights and I walked onto the porch closing the door behind me. I sat outside watching the stars seeing three shooting stars in the short period I sat there, and walked to the door to open it. But it was locked, so I lowered myself from the Adobe 6 feet high wall to the ground below and sat down looking at a light I noticed far away. I was connecting with the earth below me, and after a while I walked around to the side door. But that was locked as well, so I tried the main door, and that was locked. I walked over to where Mikayla´s room was and whispered softly. I did not want to wake Mikalya as she was probably far away in dreamland, so I laid down by the front door close to the mat and went to sleep. I slept for about an hour when I was suddenly awake and inspired to walk to where my room is located and to remove the screen in front of the window. I then stepped up up to the open window and pulled it further open so that I could climb inside. I could finally continue my sleep inside in a comfortable bed from 6.15 to 10 or so.
I had in the last few weeks been to two retreats with Amma, and had received much healing and felt that my body had let go of many things. My heart felt lighter. I had begun to also understand why I felt so drawn to Mikayla as I had discovered something outside of myself that really effected me. As if she was an angel and I needed her. The energy I felt from her is something I very much recognized but I did not see it in myself but I did so in her. I discovered what I was clinging on to with her was actually also inside of me. The clinging suddenly just stopped one day during the retreat in Santa Fe. I felt more relaxed and Mikayla also felt more relaxed around me.
It became an important lesson for me. When I begin to cling on to something I can stop and say to myself that I cling on to outside of myself is also inside of me, so there is not need to cling to anything. For everything is inside of me. The realization effected me strongly. I just need to remind myself about this on occasion.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
I did not know when I was going to head back to Los Angeles. So I continued to stay in Santa Fe.
Getting ready for a screening
Mikayla and I continued to enjoy each others company and I helped her become ready for her screening of her movie about Jews and Palestinians called “Living in Conflict.”
Mikayla also had a radio interview where she talked about her project.
Thursday the 10th of July 2003
I helped Mikayla with the screening and there were perhaps 20-25 people come to see her movie.
Friday the 11th of July 2003
This spiritual journey comes to an end. The hummingbird.
The little fairy like bird flies inside through the open porch door, flying inside the kitchen wondering where to go. Mikayla comes and gets me as I am resting in her sisters old room which I am using during my stay in Santa Fe. She does not know what to do to help the little bird back outside again, and hopes that I can help the fragile one. I come into the kitchen and see the hummingbird desperately flapping it´s wings trying hard to get out through the closed window. Exhausted it sits down on the tile floor next to the kitchen table, not knowing what to do next. Carefully I bend down, cupping my hands, I pick up the fragile bird, slowly carrying it outside. I place it on a ledge in the Adobe mud wall just outside the open porch door, but as Mikayla tells me it will die there because of the hot sun, so I pick it up again knowing that I have to give it more care.
With great attention I slowly walk down the rock porch steps to find shade where it can rest in my hands until it is ready to fly. I hunch down close to the dry New Mexico soil holding my hands with the little hummingbird inches above the ground. Eyes closed as if it is sleeping. I sit and wait and pray for it to fully recover from the exhausting ordeal it has just gone through. Mikayla asks me what I think it needs. My instant response is water mixed with honey. A few moments later Mikayla comes back out again with a cereal bowl filled with sweet water. I hold the small bowl up to the beak of the exhausted bird and it drinks tiny seeps of the water mixed with honey, before going back to rest in my hand, eyes closed as if sleeping. Mikayla suddenly pulls away back into the kitchen by the ringing of the phone while I sit patiently with the tiny bird.
We have an understanding between us, the hummingbird and I. It opens it´s eyes and looks up at me on occasion, our eyes meeting, two beings created by God full of curiosity about each other. It seems to understand that I am there to help it regain it´s strength. I wonder why it does not fly away, wondering if it sits in my hand because it knows that I will not hurt it. Helping it feel safe from the world around us, giving it a rest it sourly needs. It feels like it wants to sit there for a very long time, wanting to only close it´s eyes and rest in a hand that cares deeply for the tiny green glowing hummingbird.
I dip my finger into the water bowl and let the sweet water drip onto the area of my hand closest to the little bird. It stretches out it´s thin, long tongue from it´s thin, long beak, licking water from my finger. A warm smile slowly forms on my face as the tickling sensation spreads through my hand, feeling the tongue of a hummingbird touch my skin.
I watch the fragile bird stretch it´s wings just like a human stretches it´s arms when getting out of bed in the morning. I drip some more sweet water onto my finger, licking the water with more life than just moments ago the hummingbird moves it´s head with strength.
Suddenly it´s wings begins to vibrate and it flies off into the dry bush next to where I am hunched down. Feeling a sense of happiness and sadness of having to let it go runs quickly through me. The sensation of relief takes over and I feel a great happiness that I was able to save the fairy like green glowing bird. Finally the hummingbird after a small setback inside a human created dwelling is strong enough to continue it´s own life journey.
Mikayla tells me “I am the hummingbird,” I smile to her knowing that she is. It is now time for me to head back to Los Angeles to continue my journey.
Saturday the 12th of July 2003
The good bye
Mikayla and I said our good byes at the gas station the following day in Albuquerque after having picked up her parents long term parked beige car from the airport parking a few minutes earlier. We both drove in our separate cars heading for a little ways along the same highway waving to each other and smiling, until the roads split, her path going north and mine west. The time with Mikalya in New Mexico had come to an end, and I was ready to head back “home” to Santa Monica in LA. I had planned a few days earlier to leave on Friday the 11th, but it did not feel right to leave that day so I pushed my return to Saturday instead. Mikayla and I had met almost two weeks earlier on the second last day of the spiritual conference for Amma in LA, and had spent much time together in the following two weeks. Our paths crossing each others for a little while.
Mikalya taught me much about eating the right foods and how eating the wrong foods can affect the body. The things she told me I mostly knew from my intuition, so I very much enjoyed the chance for someone to confirm thoughts I already had some what awareness of. The 11 days in New Mexico I only ate healthy foods and noticed that my body felt stronger with adding foods it could use. Listening to what the body wants is very important, and is something I have been doing for a very long time. Be it food or other concerns the body brings up into my awareness.
The drive home
The drive home to Santa Monica took me 12 hours, which is really fast. I felt guided in my journey as the whole trip went very smooth. I noticed beige cars all around me the same color car that Mikalya is driving until I got to Flagstaff Arizona. It was as she in spirit was around guiding me part of the journey back to LA. As I got to Flagstaff I felt different energies around me. There is a huge volcano just outside Flagstaff and I felt a strong energy coming from it. I felt a more alive “vibe” in the area that in ways remind me of the “vibe” I feel in certain Norwegian forests. The energy filled me up as I drove onward, experiencing the sunlight gradually dimming away into night.
I got back to Santa Monica at 3.18am late Saturday night.