Amma always reminds us how important it is to have awareness in each and every action of ours.
The following incident reminded me just how important it is to put Amma’s advice into practice in everyday life.
It was during a spiritual programme with one of Amma’s disciples in Dublin, Ireland. It was my duty to pass around the wireless microphone to people in the audience who wanted to ask questions.
As the session went on I suddenly felt the urgent call of Nature. I figured that in between two questions, while the response was going on, I could easily sneak away to the bathroom, do my business and be back in time for the next question, without anyone noticing it.
I thought this was a great idea. But before I sneaked away I made sure to switch off the microphone and slid it into my pocket. The bathroom was right next to the event hall, so I could perfectly hear what was going on next door. I was very happy that my plan worked out so well. While I was relaxing and releasing I could hear the speech continuing. But then, all of a sudden – the hall fell silent. To my surprise the answer was too short for me to even finish “number one”. In a rush I quickly washed my hands, grabbed the microphone and ran back into the hall.
As so often in spiritual life, the things we want to keep secret the most soon become known to everyone.
I burst into the hall with the microphone in my wet hands and very casually – as if nothing has happened – asked who would want to ask the next question. Obviously the situation was a bit embarrassing, so people smiled at me in a big way. However, as the programme went on I sensed that there was something in the air, and I could not quite figure what it was. People kept on giggling and looking at me in amusement and wonder. I was thinking to myself ‘well, I understand that it was funny that I came in late, but was it really THAT funny?’
Only after the programme was over, when I went to the bathroom once more, I realised what really had happened. Upon seeing me in the bathroom, the guy next to me started laughing, saying: “Hi – here you are again, but this time without the microphone switched on!!!” I was shocked – while sliding the microphone into my pocket I must have accidentally flipped on the switch so that the whole audience could hear the sound of tender rainfall while listening to the spiritual discourse. And that was followed by the sound of a strong waterfall – while I was washing my hands.
At first I was kind of embarrassed by this realisation, but very soon a feeling a deep gratitude welled up inside of me. I was thinking to myself: Thank you, God, for not having had to attend to “number two” – I think the sound of rolling thunder would really have been too much for a spiritual programme. Imagine – you decide to spend an inspiring evening with spiritual insights about purity and love, but what you get to hear is a symphony of the most elemential expressions of the human body.
This incident made me realise how important it is to be alert and aware in every single action of mine. Even though I was very cautious to switch off the microphone before running to the bathroom, I lacked the same kind of shraddha (alertness) while sliding it into my pocket. If even the tiny switch of a microphone can cause so much of amusement, think of the consequences that our words and actions can have, if done without the proper awareness.
We need to remember that awareness, as all of spirituality, is not a part-time business. No matter where we are and what we are doing, it is this awareness that will bring beauty and completeness to each one of our actions.