My Dream of The Hugging Saint

I was 20 years old and sleeping on the floor of my childhood bedroom, on a leave of absence after a difficult Freshman year at Harvard. I had spent a lot of my energy worrying. My childhood was a mire of emotional instability and my first year at Harvard was riddled with health problems (including Sleep Eating and Vitiligo). Both left me in a state of perpetual, breathless self-doubt and anxiety.

The dream was the kind that you wake up after, and remember every moment of. I floated in a white space. There were no floors, walls, or ceilings. I was perfectly weightless, but comfortable and stable. I sat staring at Amma, who was sitting cross legged with a peaceful smile resting on her face. I actually met Amma once in India as a toddler, but I have no conscious memory of her.

If you’re not familiar with Amma, also called the hugging saint, here is a 10 minute video that serves as a solid introduction:


Anyway, back to the dream. Piles of paper were strewn in a semicircle around my lap. I pointed in an arc and gesticulated toward Amma to show her my frustration. She smiled, and for a moment I was angry at her persistent calm. Why couldn’t she acknowledge I had legitimate worries? Or at least care that I was worried?

Suddenly she swept the papers out of existence and looked directly into my eyes. Her voice seemed to come from all directions, and without moving her lips, she said, “Nothing is worthy of worry. Only concern. And if you are concerned, you can take action.” The last thing I remember is her encouraging smile. As I woke up, that feeling of weightlessness stayed with me for a few moments. Even my heart seemed to feel light.

Whether my mind conjured up a kind face from some recess of my subconscious to give me some relief, or whether real-life Amma has genuine mystical powers and decided to grace my dream with her presence, I am incredibly grateful. Now, when I feel anxious to some substantial degree, I remind myself either to stop worrying or to start doing something about my concerns.

Isn’t the mind a wonderful thing?

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