Mirror Spiritus likes to bring great works of writing to readers. So from time to time, we’ll post book reviews of books that we feel are aligned with Mirror Spiritus. This post features a book by Ram Das Batchelder titled Rising in Love: My Wild and Crazy Ride to Here and Now, with Amma, the Hugging Saint.
The book shares the author’s adventures as he follows Amma across the country and then to India where he undergoes an intense purification through dysentery…hey, no one ever said the spiritual path was an easy one…and the tests he either fails or passes. Within seconds of beginning the book, I felt the presence of this being, Amma, and all she embodies working on me. It made my eyes water with anticipation of the gift.
“The world being my mirror, I find nutty people everywhere.”
Along the journey, Ram Das meets other awakened beings, but none whose love can hold a candle to Amma’s. Throughout his quest for enlightenment and relationship, the beauty of this story is in the honesty…that the spiritual path is not only one full of bliss and bright light, but one of inner thorns and torments as well as outer-world challenges.
Ram Das’s story is honest and courageous, hiding nothing because he’s already learned he can’t hide anyway. For him, this realization came through Amma in all her aspects who repeatedly penetrated his secret thoughts and failings and brought them into his awareness. He never really got away with anything he might have thought he did.
It makes one wonder…at least me wonder…if we really are all the characters in our own dream. When we choose to take a guru, or a guru chooses us, are they not a stand-in for our own divinity?
And that’s where this book meets Mirror Spiritus. A good guru is a clear mirror, reflecting all parts of us with perfection…a perfection we aren’t always ready to acknowledge within ourselves, a perfection we can’t understand because we’re either still judging ourselves for our failure to live up to it or so lost in our own delusion we believe too strongly in our own image.
“If there’s one thing in life I’m an authority on, it’s the mood swing that accompanies finding out you’re not Enlightened after all.”
I know that there will be many readers out there who can relate to his fascinating and somewhat dizzying psychological backstory. To be honest, this section was painful for me to read. But it did serve to punctuate Amma’s transformative power in his life all the more. I know it illustrates how lacking our society is in dealing with spiritual awakenings…so often treated as rebellion or worse, mental illness. Contrarily, it also illustrates how insane the mind can be, when we begin to think we understand something and try to grasp a truly unknowable thing and turn it into a concept and make meaning of it for ourselves and end up in trouble. And this trouble can be made all the worse with phsychotropic substances, as our author illustrates. Thankfully, as Ram Das writes: “God doesn’t let anyone stay in hell forever.”
I appreciated deeply the story of the author’s Ashram marriage and the challenges he and his wife faced on their path, especially when it seemingly diverged. Again, Amma’s love made it possible for their commitment to one another to endure.
“And sometimes – this is a secret – butterflies, too, metamorphose.
I had heard of Amma before reading this book, but I never encountered her nor knew of the amazingly intuitive and miraculous things she does…other than the hugging. I would love to meet her someday. In many ways, after having read this book, I feel as though I already have. To learn more about her, visit Amma.org. All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit an Indian orphanage. To learn more visit, Rising in Love.
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Rising in Love: My Wild and Crazy Ride to Here and Now, with Amma, the Hugging Saint