To the world my mother is an ordinary woman. For me, she is extraordinary. Of course, I am biased! I imagine that if you stop to deeply consider the qualities of your mother you may reach the same conclusions.
My mother has an inner strength that nothing can put down. She has a determination that makes the impossible possible. She has a wonderful sense of humour that brings a lightness to her presence. Although a mother of three daughters, she is also clearly a woman – she doesn’t just think of herself as our mother.
Of course, she taught us many things, some of which have played very significant roles in my life. She encouraged her daughters to go out into the world and to live their lives to the full. She taught us that happiness is the most important thing and that security is required simply to serve that happiness and to give us the freedom to live as we wish. She taught us not to be afraid of hard work or of standing up for what we believe in.
I met Tensin Palmo at a Womens Spiritual Mastery Retreat. Some years later I visited the nunnery she has established in India and had a one-to-one meeting with her. What struck me the most, was how down to earth she was, whilst having an incredible depth of wisdom and spiritual experience. Her simple guidance still serves me today.
Tensin Palmo was one of the first western women to live in India as a buddhist. She is famous for spending many years meditating alone in a cave in the Himalayas. I relate strongly to her longing to spend her days meditating – when I first arrived in Dharamsala in India, I was on a crowded bus and the tears would not stop flowing. I knew that I had spent lifetimes meditating in these mountains. However, it also became clear to me, that my purpose in this lifetime, is to live as a householder and to be devoted to service in everyday life.
I am inspired by the strength of character of Tensin Palmo, that enabled her to survive as a young woman in a male dominated environment. Also, by the tremendous sacrifice that she made when she followed the words of her Lama (teacher) and set up a nunnery to ensure the continuation of a tibetan yogic female lineage.
I met Sister Lucy as a speaker at a Womens Spiritual Mastery Retreat. She is a Catholic Indian nun who lived in a nunnery and after a shocking experience she realised that she wanted to leave the walls of the nunnery behind her. She received permission (very unusual) to work outside of the nunnery and she received a small fund from a westerner which enabled her to build the first home for abused women. The literal meaning of Maher is home. Maher has overcome many challenges through tremendous commitment, love and deep faith. It has grown considerably supporting, feeding and educating more than 800 children, many women and a few men. There are also many outreach programs in the neighboring slums and villages.
Sister Lucy is an incredible example of devotion to the work of the Divine. Her seva encompasses every aspect of her life. Every waking moment (and probably also in her dreams) she is working for the good of humanity.
She has an incredible capacity for love, for facing reality head on and doing what is required, no matter how tough that might be. She is enduring and boundless.
For more information see : www.maherashram.org
I never met Mother Theresa. It is what she stands for and represents that inspires me. Firstly, her Relationship to the Divine was the most important Relationship for her. Secondly, she was in absolute service of the Divine with every breath. This serves as a great inspiration to me.