IAM Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique®
Experiences from Byron Bay
It was suggested that I might want to attend a weekend yoga & meditation program at Byron Bay in NSW. The program was associated with the organization Mata Amritanandamayi Math Ashram, in Kerala Southern India.
Our teacher in Byron Bay was a striking Sri Lankan woman known as Shanthy. When Shanthy entered the room, you felt her magnetism. She introduced herself, and then the day began.
Shanthy commenced with an invocation to the Guru, (who is affectionately known as “Amma” or mother). There was an altar in the corner of the room lovingly dedicated to the Guru adorned with flowers and garlands. Shanthy started chanting the 108 names of the Guru. It was surprisingly powerful. I felt the presence of the Guru in the room. It was subtle, yet palpable. Shanthy’s dedication could not be mistaken, as she guided us through the various yogic steps and breathing exercises over the two days.
I felt enriched during and after this experience, so much so, when I returned to Melbourne, I went to the website www.amma.org and found information about the organization and noticed that volunteers were required to help build homes for people affected by the December 2004Tsunami. I was so inspired after completing the yoga & meditation weekend with Shanthy, that I decided I wanted to find out more about Amma, and booked a flight to India. I rang Shanthy in Perth to discuss my decision and to gain more knowledge. Her husband advised me that she had already left for India and would be there over the same period. I was so grateful to hear this.
So my journey began. I left Australia on Friday 23 December and spent two weeks at Amma's Ashram in Amritapuri. I had the good fortune to meet with Amma over the Christmas and New Year break. Amma is a Magnificent Deity, a Divine Presence in a human form! Amma has such a deep love for humanity that She’s devoted to helping us fully open up to our spiritual gifts, attain profound knowledge & enlightenment, & reduce world suffering. The mere uttering of Her name gives the feeling of protection. She is an inspirational Guru who has the alibility to give healing through her hugs. To receive her hug ... is to receive many blessings!
My first hug, when I arrived in India, was after one of the satsangs. Thankfully, Shanthy was there with me, gently guiding. Amma held me and I was aware of being set apart, I felt her gentle hug, unconditional love ... I felt blessed. It humbled me and brought tears to my eyes. The experience was enigmatic!
I tried to become accustomed to the way of life of an "Ashramite" and this in itself was a challenge, but I loved the time spent with the Indian people themselves and the various international nationalities doing "seva" or better known as "selfless service". We went out to various locations, over the period I was there, and physically moved sand, cement, gravel & bricks to the sites where the houses were to be built. At the end of the day, we would return to the Ashram, shower, have some food and then fall asleep! It was hard work. The feeling doing this work was joyful and very rewarding, and the camaraderie that developed between the groups was so much fun. We even devised a "Brick Olympics" between the different nationalities ... that was a real hoot!
I am ever grateful to Shanthy for her love and dedication to Amma and her devotees. Because of this, I also have been blessed with love.
Thank you Amma
I was blessed to be able to attend Amma’s IAM course in Byron Bay. This two day course was hosted by the Byron Bay satsang group, and conducted by Shanti, a great devotee of Amma’s who traveled all the way from Perth to share Amma’s gift with us.
Shanty is an inspiration to us of devotion and self sacrifice, and the incidents she related of her experiences with Amma were, for me, a highlight of the course. Just meeting and listening to Shanti was a privilege and pleasure which brought me closer to Amma. In fact, just spending two days in the company of so many devotees was an uplifting experience in itself, which impressed upon me the importance of regular satsang.
Although I had already learnt the short IAM Technique during Amma’s 2004 tour and, as such, was only required to attend the second day of this course in order to learn the full technique, I would have missed a lot of important details and nuances of technique had I not attended both days. I would also have missed out on many of Shanti’s humourous and heartwarming stories. Shanty teaches in a warm and lighthearted manner and I learnt much from her above and beyond the IAM Technique.
Let me then offer my humble gratitude to our Beloved Amma, for this gift of meditation born of Her divine sankalpa; to Salini and the Byron Bay satsang group, for organizing the course; and to Shanty, who selflessly gives of herself to share Amma’s gift with us. I would also like to thank all those who participated in the course, whose presence helped make it such a memorable experience. Om namah shivaya.
In Amma, Darren Thomson.
For more details, please contact an instructor for the IAM Integrated Amrita Meditation Technique® or get in touch with a coordinator at your local MA Centre for the course availabilities in each states.