Gurumayi Chitvilasanda came into my life on a bright summer day in 1990.
Months before I had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and my doctor had told me to go home and prepare for further decline and death.
My husband had heard of a clinic in Phoenix Arizona run by a Dr.McGary that employed the healing methods recommended by Edgar Cayce, referred to as the sleeping prophet. I spent 11 days in Phoenix following a regimen of medical tests, hours of meditation with my doctors, colonics, massages, individual and group therapy, art therapy, and eating a very healthy diet. I left Phoenix in remission. I am asymptomatic these many years later, although there is evidence in my MRI that I was visited by this illness.
It was in Phoenix talking with others in the program that I heard many of them referring to their respective gurus in conversation. I was asked if I had a Guru and answered that I was Catholic (grade school, high school and college!) and I supposed my Guru was Jesus. One of the other patients, a dramaturg at the Shakespeare festival in Ashland, Oregon near where I now live, said “Well, perhaps one day you will have one. When the student is ready, the Master appears.”
I returned home asymptomatic and full of gratitude for the doctors in Phoenix and for the Grace of healing.
Almost a year later I had surgery and was home alone with my cat Sugar. I had been recovering for several days and was so ready to be done with home confinement! I sat in the living room and noticed a book with an Indian man on the cover. I asked my husband where the book came from and he said : ” Morgan loaned it to me. It was written by her Guru. After my husband left I picked up the book, called Play of Consciousness by Baba Muktananda, thinking I would leaf through it and then fold some laundry.
I opened the book, turned the page, and I saw her. To my astonishment I began to feel as if gentle hands were opening my rib cage and at that very moment my heart was suddenly filled with such joy that I was unable to contain it. Waves of joy and love coursed through me and I was weeping. My tears were thick and sweet. I sat unable/unwilling to move experiencing what would be a life changing moment.
Late that afternoon I began to read about Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga. Weary of cults, I wanted to learn more about the woman who had so forcefully and gently, so lovingly, entered my heart.
A month later I went to meet her in South Fallsburg, New York. I arrived to an Ashram full of about 5,000 guests. There were priests, nuns, monks, every race and religion and many nationalities were represented there. I spoke with many, and found that all of us had been drawn to her by personal experiences. No one was there because someone had preached a message. We had simply found her. She had simply found us.
As I waited to see her in person and sat on the floor in a building called the Shakti Mandap, I began to experience the opening of my heart again, the joy, the love, the sweet tears. My body felt like a small earthquake was shaking my insides. It wasn’t a scary feeling at all, and I was able to remain still. I looked to my right and saw bare feet and the bottom of an orange robe. I looked up to see Gurumayi standing next to me. Her presence had taken me back to the experience in my living room leaving no doubt in my mind that the call to her had been real. Twenty eight years later I celebrate her birth once again, and with hers, the birth of my journey towards love.
Through the years, in the most difficult times and the most joyous, her love has held me close. Gurumayi’s sense of humor has taught me to laugh heartily, her devotion has inspired mine. There has never been a tine when she hasn’t heeded my call although there have been many when I haven’t heeded hers. She has never turned away from me. Her love is steady and sure and unconditional.
Lately I have been despairing about the political climate. I have been on Facebook posting not so very kind things about our leaders and paying no attention to the little voice that tells me that whether i like it or not they too are part of God’s creation and that I need to let go of all the negativity and “mind my own business” a task that sometimes takes second place to the latest headline.
Today I googled a picture of Gurumayi to post on this blog. True to how she teaches me best, there she was with her birthday gift to me.
Immediately I knew that she was listening to every word I said on Facebook, in my living room, and thankfully also in my prayers. Nothing is hidden from the Guru or from God.
So yes, I have a Guru now. She appeared at just the right moment. She has not taken the place of my childhood faith but added so much depth to my beliefs. In her eyes I have seen LOVE. In her laughter my tears dissolve. Her image always reminds me not to lose hope. Chanting with her brings sweetness to my heart.
With intense gratitude my Gurumayi, I wish you a most Happy Birthday!