No-one expresses what ‘The Motherhood’ is all about better than Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma) (www.amma.org.uk). In this piece, I quote unashamedly from a little booklet entitled ‘The Awakening of Universal Motherhood’. In it, she talks about women being ‘the power and very foundation of our existence in the world’ and whilst she talks about the qualities of motherhood: love, patience and compassion, she does not restrict them only to women who have given birth, but rather as a principle inherent in both women and men. I visited Amma in 2000 for one of her enlightening hugs, and this booklet came to me via a friend of a friend about 5 years later, after I had embarked on the journey of motherhood, and shortly after I had conceived The Motherhood. I quote from this little booklet, below:
“Women have to wake up and arise! This is one of the most urgent needs of the age.”
“Who should awaken woman? What obstructs her awakening? In truth, no external power can possibly obstruct woman or her innate qualities of motherhood – qualities such as love, empathy, and patience. It is she – she alone – who has to awaken herself. A woman’s mind is the only real barrier that prevents this from happening.”
What does it mean to be awakened and to arise? It means to be connected with her deep self, to value herself, to feel she has power within her own existence, to feel joy and connection and love. If our mind is the only barrier that prevents this from happening, how can we achieve this state of grace? We have to focus on it! In our transactions with our families, friends, children, and most importantly ourselves (from which the rest will follow) we have to feel this connection and to court joy. Are there any methods to achieve this state? We will not find it in the mind. Here we will find the shopping list, the to-do list, and a myriad thoughts which prevent us from becoming still, hearing our inner voice and being in the precious moment. There are many paths to the truth, but essentially they are all one. All advocate coming to an inner peace, a quietness, and allowing God/Goddess/Universal Truth, or whatever you may know it as to slip in between the gap. The following is a meditation, from the Kundalini Yoga tradition which is very simple, yet very powerful. If done for 40 days it can bring great change to your consciousness. It is the ‘Grace of God’ meditation, although I practiced it myself and found ‘Grace of Goddess’ worked better for me. To me, the God of my childhood, and of my subconscious was punitive, angry and judgmental, and these are the qualities I began to exhibit after 30 days of the meditation. After changing it, I found I had a different experience altogether. See for yourelves!
Grace of God Meditation
The Grace of God Meditation is designed exclusively for women to self-adjust negative habit-patterns of the personality and to give her the power to look deep inside her innermost being and define her own self. This is empowerment! This meditation has been known to assist women to regain a positive image of her infinite potential, promote inner grace and strength, as well as, outward radiance and physical health. Part One Lie down on your back and fully relax your entire body. Inhale deeply, hold the breath in and repeat silently ten times, “I am the Grace of God”. Exhale entirely, hold the breath out and again repeat silently ten times, “I am the Grace of God. This is one cycle. Repeat this cycle 5 times. (It can be helpful to move the tips of a finger or thumb to count a repetition.) After the five cycles are completed, relax for a few moments. Part Two Sit in easy pose (cross legged) with your eyes closed. relax your right hand in gyan Mudra (the thumb and the index finger create a circle, other fingers straight) on your right knee. The left palm faces forward at the level of the shoulder with the fingers straight. Breathing is relaxed. Bring your concentration to the fingers of your left hand: – Tense your small finger, or Mercury finger, which influences your communication. Now repeat five times alound: “I am the Grace of God” while meditating on transforming your communication. Relax the small finger. – Tense the ring finger, or Sun finger, which influences your physical health, and beauty. Now repeat five times aloud: “I am the grace of God” while meditating on transforming your physical self. Relax the ring finger. – Tense the middle finger, or Saturn finger, which influences your emotions and karma. Now repeat five times aloud: “i am the Grace of God” while meditating on transforming all challenges. Relax the middle finger. – Tense the index finger, or Jupiter finger, which influences your wisdom and ability to expand. Now repeat five times aloud: “I am the grace of God” while merging with your inner wisdom. Relax your index finger. – Tense your thumb, which relates to your ego or identity. Now repeat five times aloud: “I am the grace of God” and expand yourself to your Infinite Self. Rela your thumb. -Lower your left hand into Gyan Mudra and sit quietly for a few minutes. Enjoy your Grace and Radiance of being a Woman. You can practice this meditation at any time of the day. For the optimum effect, practice twice daily, at sun-rise and at sun-set. Source: Shakti: the sacred essence and power of a woman. Yogic Teachings for Women by Yogi Bhajan, PhD, Edited by Sat Kirpal Kaur Khalsa, PhD., pp. 195-196
“Real power and strength do not come from the outside; they are to be found within.”
By changing ourselves, we can change the world. Oft-quoted from Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see.” Myself and my family were having lunch with friends at the weekend, and my friend, mother of 3 beautiful children, had had a recent epiphany, and was oozing positivity, calm and power. She had realised that no-one is responsible for her enjoyment of her life, except herself. She has made the conscious decision to quit moaning, and appreciate every moment of what she has. It was such an inspiration to me. I was uplifted, inspired and empowered by her presence alone.
“In ancient India, the Sanskrit words that a husband used when addressing his wife were Pathni - the one who leads the husband through life; Dharmaptathni – the one who guides her husband on the path of dharma (righteousness and responsibility); and Sahadharmacharini - the one who moves together with her husband on the path of dharma.
One of the challenges of being a woman is to maintain empowering, nurturing, and fun relationships with our partners. This attitude can be found personified by the wonderful Regena Thomashauer, aka Mama Gena (www.mamagenas.com). She teaches that the role of the ‘dutiful wife’ has had it’s day, and teaches us to grab the bull by the horns (if you’ll excuse the expression) and drive our relationships and our lives, rather than be driven. Putting our pleasure top of the list, she describes how by appreciating our men and allowing our desires to be the thrust of our families, we can lead our entire families to a more uplifting and joyous life.
“The principle of motherhood is as vast and powerful as the universe. With the power of motherhood within her, a woman can influence the entire world.”
Women do not gladly send their sons to war. The strength of feeling the motherhood principle inspires can change the world. In Liberia, civil war tore the country apart for twenty years until a group of women approached the government and put a stop to it (see the film ‘Pray the Devil Back to Hell’ for more about this). In Northern Ireland, many women spearheaded peace initiatives. Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate peacefully protested and spent over 15 years under house arrest in order to improve the situation in her country. These are but a few examples of how the strength of women’s feeling brought change in their countries.
“When women are undermined, their children become weak as well. In this way, a whole generation loses its strength and vitality. Only when women are accorded the honour they deserve, can we create a world of light and awareness.”
This gets to the crux of what ‘The Motherhood’ is about, and why it is so important for us to find our power for ourselves, because we then have the power to create something wonderful for the next generation.
“The quality of motherhood is the foundation of a woman.”
I like the way this talks about the quality of motherhood, again emphasizing that there is no need to give birth to exhibit these qualities. And there is no need to mother only those to whom we have given birth. A cup of tea and a biscuit for the builders, listening ear to a friend, shopping for a neighbour, can all be an expression of the quality of motherhood. Any action which springs from our well of loving-kindness counts!
To finish, I offer you more from Amma, which I really cannot expand on. She says it so perfectly.
“Women hold the reins of integrity and unity in the family and in society. “
“The power of a woman’s innate motherhood helps her to find a deep sense of peace and harmony within herself.”
“Only love, compassion and patience – the fundamental qualities of women – can lessen the intrinsically aggressive, overactive tendencies of of men. Similarly, there are women who need the qualities of men, so that their good and gentle nature doesn’t immobilize them.”
“Women are the power and the very foundation of our existence in the world. When women lose touch with their real selves, the harmony of the world ceases to exist, and destruction sets in. It is therefore crucial that women everywhere make every effort to rediscover their fundamental nature, for only then can we save this world.”
“The responsibility of a mother, when it comes to influencing and inspiring her children, cannot be underestimated. There is much truth in the saying that there is a strong woman behind every successful man. Wherever you see happy, peaceful individuals; wherever you see children endowed with noble qualities and good dispositions; whenever you see men who have immense strength when faced with failure and adverse situations; wherever you see people who posess a great measure of understanding, sympathy, love and compassion towards suffering, and who give of themselves to others – you will usually find a great mother who has inspired them to become what they are.”
“Mothers are the ones who are most able to sow the seeds of love, universal kinship, and patience in the minds of human beings.”
“Woman is the creator of the human race. She is the first Guru, the first guide and mentor of humanity.”