Amma: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi -  UK
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Volunteering Experiences

The Amma Clinic: Thoughts prompted by working as a stage monitor

In an ordinary surgery, the patients sit in a waiting room until the doctor is ready to see them: they wait to be told "the doctor will see you now." They read magazines and pass the time more or less agreeably. Until they see the doctor they do not know what their condition is or what the prescribed treatment may be; and they may need to buy medicines and make many visits before their treatment is complete.

The Amma Clinic is rather different. For one thing it takes place in the open; and instead of the tens of patients seen by a normal doctor, thousands come at all times of the day and night. Everyone queues to see the Doctor and embraces Her.

Those who need special treatment are told to sit in the area to Her side and behind Her until their treatment is complete. There is an assistant whose job it is to recognise when the Doctor is calling for special treatment and move people accordingly.

He has to watch for the special gesture from the Doctor which indicates that a patient is to sit for special treatment, and he then has to find a place for that person to sit down. This may involve some harsh words or even some pushing!

When the period for treatment has elapsed, the patient automatically recognises this and is impelled to move away. No follow-up sessions are needed, because "The Doctor has seen you now". - Dayakaran

True Volunteering by Subhan

When I first started volunteering and doing Seva for Amma, I realised some amazing things about myself. I realised it was about pushing myself that little bit extra, going beyond the call of duty. This is definitely a part of volunteering. So I volunteered again. There was only one problem. This realisation is only a part of what I feel true volunteering is. Every time I had been volunteering, I missed the biggest experience of it all - what it was giving me for my own spiritual growth. It's never about what you do, but about how you do it! This became everything for me!

When I came to Amma's to volunteer, I would always come to help out but I now realise that was the wrong attitude. When you 'go to help out', you are already putting a condition on your help. It is like you are doing a favour or a good deed. Both are irrelevant! When you do something like this, you will only do it on your own terms or for some self-recognition but this is not what I feel true volunteering is. I only realised this when I did some volunteering elsewhere.

I went with my ego complex to another organisation, thinking they were lucky to have me because of how I had volunteered at Amma's visits. But all that this highlighted was the conditions I had laid down about volunteering and that I would only work up to a limit. What I realised about volunteering with this other organisation is that there is a big difference between helping out and 'doing what is necessary'.

The difference is this: with 'helping out' the conditions you have sub consciously made allow you to discriminate between what you do and don't like to do or with whom you like and don't like to work!

'Doing what is necessary' means no matter what you are confronted with, you are willing to do it because what you are a part of is much bigger than you! This is what I feel it means to be a true volunteer! If you think too much of yourself and your opinions, then you cannot be a true volunteer because what you are doing is getting yourself heard or acting 'right', so these egotistical ideas become more important. When you are a true volunteer there are no excuses why you didn't do something or why they haven't done something. It's about what the next step is in getting it done.

The opportunity of volunteering for a Guru or an Enlightened Being is not one that should be taken lightly; it is the greatest opportunity for your own spiritual growth. That is the very thing encouraged by Amma in her talks and the reason why she is doing all she is doing!

Volunteering is not about the volume of work that you do, but about willingness to act! If your heart is in what ever task confronts you, it, then that is the essence of spirituality itself. Otherwise you are wearing spirituality as a fashion. That would be a travesty of spirituality.


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