AmmaI just returned from a retreat with  Amma: Woman, being, avatar, spiritual leader, lover! She is completely present. My husband Orlando, and I went together.  From the moment we arrived, there was happiness everywhere, a feeling of joy and shared anticipation and a lightness, despite the lines and intense organization. Amma hugged us separately and together and kissed us and gave us a Hershey kiss wrapped in a rose petal.

I could see that Amma is a being beyond my comprehension. Her path of hugging everyone is completely original and loving, and in the culture of India, somewhat subversive.

I decided to stay for her whole retreat to enter into her path of devotion. The more I was in the space with her, the more her mystery grew. I lined up for my hug and then I sat transfixed watching her with one person after another, in love with each. Each hug she gave to each person became my hug, too.

“Happiness is an option” say the T-shirts that Amma followers wear. Since the retreat, I have awakened feeling that way.