“Amma”

Mata Amritanadanamayi Devi

Mata Amritanandamayi was born in 1953 to a family in a small fishing village in India. From her humble beginning, she has become an international spiritual leader, also known as “the hugging saint”.

Through her example, Amma shows us the way to use our lives, by using our body to help others, by using our speech to lovingly console others, and by using our minds to cultivate good thoughts and prayers.

Love is the answer.  Love is the way.  This is her teaching that is so simple and so pure.

For the past 35 years Amma has dedicated her life to the uplifting of suffering humanity through the simplest of gestures – an embrace. In this intimate manner Amma has blessed and consoled more than 25 million people throughout the world.

Once a press reporter asked Amma how was it possible for her to embrace each and every one in the same loving way, even if they were diseased or unpleasant. Amma replied, “When a bee hovers over a garden of varied flowers, what it beholds is not the difference between the flowers but the honey within them. Similarly Amma sees the same Supreme Self in each and every one.”

As Dr. Jane Goodall, while presenting Amma with the 2002 Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence said, “She stands here in front of us. God’s love in a human body.”


Angels

Angels, in a variety of religions, are regarded as spirits. Angels are creatures of good, spirits of love, and messengers of God.  The New Testament includes many interactions and conversations between angels and humans.  Angelic presence occurs in religions including Christianity, Islam, Baha’i, and Zoroastrianism.

As helpers they can be seen in the form of winged men and women or pure radiant light. Sometimes I feel them around me and so I paint them.  They are another beautiful symbol of our brilliance and helpfulness.  They come to comfort and heal.  Their love is the sparkly radiance we experience sometimes when they are near.

In my painting, “Golden Vision” in the Devotional Gallery (and above) you can see a light angel depicted.  Her face only faintly appears because the light is so bright.  Is she spirit or matter?

Another angel painting in the Spirit Gallery is called “Light Angel”. This angel appeared as I was painting. It’s really amazing when that happens. I just watched in awe as she appeared.  And I give thanks when that happens so effortlessly.

I have been told that all we need to do is ask, and the angels will come and help us whether it’s a financial worry, earthquake, tsunami or fire. It may be personal or transpersonal; all we need to do is ask.


The Buddha

The Buddha or ‘Awakened one’ was a man who walked on this earth during the 4th Century BCE. Through his concentrated focus to find the Truth, he awakened while sitting under the Bodhi Tree. According to tradition, the Buddha emphasized ethics and correct understanding.  He is regarded as a Manifestation of God.

His form has become a symbol of light, serenity, meditation and wisdom.  He is central in my art because I like all he represents. His image is also a symbol of spiritual wisdom, humility, relaxation and peace. True peace is what the world needs right now.  By painting symbols of peace and by hanging them in our homes, our lives are made a bit brighter and calmer.  To wake up in morning and see symbols of peace and spirituality, our days can be filled with respect and care.

In the painting “Light of God” (devotional gallery), the Buddha is shown as a Divine Light who illuminates the world. Feel the radiant heart of compassion wash over and become you.

In the painting “Buddha in the Temple” he is shown in an ornate Tibetan temple (shown above).  The light emanating from his heart symbolizes the light in each of our hearts and how with that radiance, we can help heal the world.


Forgiveness

What does it mean to forgive?

Some say, it is the act of seeing the world for what it is: a dream.  And when we dream at night of a transgression, we easily forgive everyone involved when we wake up in the morning.  It was just a dream!  Is our waking life dreamlike also?

Forgiveness lightens our load and makes life wonderful.  It releases our tension and engenders trust and a feeling of ‘letting go’.  Wouldn’t it be great to be free of all our burdens?  This is what forgiveness is here for: it is the true ‘way out’ of our self-made suffering.

The painting of mine, “Forgiveness” in the Nature Gallery shows two hands reaching toward one another in love.  We naturally want to help the world.  As children, our innocence wants nothing more than to love and be loved.

Just for a moment, take a breath and relax by settling into your chair.  Let your body go and take another breath.  Now, stop ‘describing’.  Rest in this.  Settle into this peace.  I find this to be the short cut to forgiveness.  If done regularly, daily, many times, forgiveness happens automatically.

To forgive is to ‘let go’ and the captives are set free, and that includes us!


Quan Yin

Quan Yin (Avalokitesvara) is the embodiment of compassion, radiant love, mercy, kindness, and known as the Divine Mother.  When I paint her I enjoy being filled with both her love and love for her.  This is her story:

She reached ‘ultimate fulfillment’ or ‘enlightenment’ while living on Earth. She was ascending toward heaven when she heard the cry of a child.  Her compassion was so great that she vowed to be born again and again until all suffering had ceased.  And so in every generation She is with us.

I have painted Quan Yin many times.  “In the Arms of the Mother” is a painting in my Devotional Gallery on this website (above).  Here, Quan Yin is the Provider.  I trust and rest in Her arms.  Some of Her names are beauty, joy, peace, innocence, warmth and nature.  Seasons are pearls on Her necklace.  Light is Her breath.  Love is Her gift.  When I want to feel better, I relax and let Her take care of me.

“Quan Yin”, another painting in my Devotional Gallery, is a symbol of Beauty and Peace.  So many wonderful attributes does she have!  And like the Buddha, when she is present in a home, the home and all who enter, are blessed.


Shiva Nataraj

Shiva is the primal force behind all consciousness.  Here we see the dance of life, constantly creating, maintaining and destroying the world in a rush of ecstasy.  His dance is to the beat and rhythm of creation.  Shiva dances in both the light and darkness of life because both the creative and destructive aspects of nature are his realm.

This painting, The One Dance (above) is about the fire of life and the fire of creation.  The orange hues represent the sun-like energy of Shiva’s creative impulse. The landscape behind is on fire from His life force energy.  It’s a blaze of Glory!  You can find this image in my Devotional Gallery.

Shiva is one of the main deities of Hinduism.  Lord Shiva is regarded as the representation of the Supreme Being.  There is no Shiva without Shakti, the feminine Principle, and no Shakti without Shiva, the Male Principle.  The two are One.

Known as the God of All, he is a great ascetic who is forever in deep meditation, totally absorbed in contemplation.  He is known as the God of mercy and kindness and protects his devotees.  He blesses all with grace, knowledge and peace.


Tara

Tārā embodies many of the qualities of the feminine principle. She is known as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion. She is the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion and relief.  She engenders, nourishes and smiles at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children.

Within Tibetan Buddhism, she has 21 major forms in all, each tied to a certain color and energy. And each offers some feminine attribute which is of ultimate benefit to the spiritual aspirant who asks for her assistance.

The most widely known forms of Tārā are:

  • Green Tārā, known as the Buddha of enlightened activity.
  • White Tārā, also known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity.
  • Red Tārā, is the fierce aspect associated with magnetizing all good things.
  • Black Tārā is associated with power.
  • Yellow Tārā is associated with wealth and prosperity.
  • Blue Tārā is associated with the transmutation of anger.

Another quality of the feminine principle which Tara has is playfulness. Tara is frequently depicted as a young sixteen year old woman. She often manifests in the lives of practitioners when they take themselves or their spiritual path too seriously. There are Tibetan tales in which she laughs at self-righteousness, or plays pranks on those who lack reverence for the feminine.


Saraswati

The name Saraswati comes from saras (meaning “flow”) and wati (meaning “she who has …”) for example, “she who has flow” or ‘she who has essence or Self’. So, Saraswati is a symbol of knowledge; its flow or growth is like a river, and is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman.  Hindus worship her not only for “academic knowledge”, but for “divine knowledge”.

I just love her fully alive nature and that’s why I painted her. In wanting to capture and convey this spirit, I painted her naked playing music with animals. The white lotus she stands on represents the purity of this beneficial energy.  The spirals are symbols for the uncoiling of kundalini energy.  Yes, I do take liberties when painting Gods and Goddesses.  I like to express the life force that moves through each of us.  They are here to show us how to reveal it more fully.  This painting evokes joy, sensuality and the creative force of the universe.

Saraswati is the guardian of Earth. She is increasingly associated with literature, arts, and music. In Hinduism, Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, eloquence and power. In Buddhism she is known as a deity who upholds the teachings of Gautama Buddha by offering protection and assistance to practitioners.


Namaste

In India we are greeted with the word, ‘namaste’ which means, I honor the god in you, and the god in you is the same as the god in me…….making us connected as One.  It is an Expression of reverence and devotion to the Source of All Creation.  When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest.  This is an especially deep form of respect.

In the painting above called ‘Namaste Welcome’, our friend radiates love, bowing to us as we enter her sacred garden.  This painting is a house blessing, where each person who enters is greeted with namaste.  Her face expresses love and joy; her posture, humility, and the garden represents the glorious life force, the power that each one of us has to fully welcome another.

Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.

Blessings to you and all you meet!


Meditation

I love the deep relaxation and calm that comes from meditating.  I am more centered and my day goes better if I meditate. Meditation is helpful for attaining good mental and physical health, personal fulfillment and deep inner peace.  It can enhance concentration, serenity, focus, and joy!

Here I am in nature with ‘The Universe Making Love to Me in Meditation’(this image is in my ‘Spirit Gallery’).  I painted this after an exquisite meditation session.  Do you sometimes feel that all of nature is here, offering herself to you?  Amazing flowers, trees, waterfalls, planets, the sun and the moon- they are all here for us to enjoy.  Sometimes it takes a relaxed moment to fully appreciate our Mother Earth in all her glory.

Right now, a very quick and easy way to meditate is just to ‘stop describing’.  Yes, just for this moment, relax your breathing, let go of thoughts, and let your belly be soft.  Ahhhhh……….

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We can share this gift. The peace and joy felt by those who meditate enters the world for all of us as positive energy. From it the world is a better place. Imagine if we all practiced short meditation moments…………

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