Ms. Linda Evans, American actress and environmental activist
“I think of all of these incredible qualities that we know that Amma is— the love, the compassion, the forgiveness, the patience—and I try to look at myself and say, ‘Linda, why aren’t you living that everyday?” —Linda Evans
“Learning Motherhood from Mother Nature.”
“Thank you. We are gathered at this conference to consider what we, as women and leaders can contribute at this crucial time in world history. Our choices are to look within and without: without, to see what most needs to be done; and within, to understand how we have contributed to those problems.
“Now, if their origin was within, then the solutions can only come from that same place. It is a great honour and a pleasure for me to be here with all of you today to celebrate Amma and Her extraordinary life.
“I went to AIMS Hospital and saw Her love in action. I saw how each person who worked there was just flowing with love, that service was a joy for them, and it was the first time in my life I didn’t want to leave a hospital.
“I think of all of these incredible qualities that we know that Amma is: the love, the compassion, the forgiveness, the patience, and I try to look at myself and say, ‘Linda, why aren’t you living that everyday? What is it in your life that stops you from being that?’
“I feel very fortunate to have the life that I have lived. I have experienced success, and wealth and fame. I have been loved by many people in the world, people that I didn’t even know, and still there was an emptiness in me—a longing for something that I didn’t understand. I learned that what I was looking for wasn’t outside of me but within me.
“Now, for the last 16 years I have had the greatest adventure of my life. And at last I found the peace and the love and the joy that I looked so hard for in the world. I learned that I had a choice. That if I ‘changed’ my mind, I could change my life. That by going inward, by meditating, by long contemplations, by being present and allowing, I found God—the God within me and you and all people. I feel that we are going nowhere if the inspiration for everything that we think and do does not come from the love of the God within us. We believe that our parents and our children and our husbands and our wives love us. But, in fact, these are not all different forms of love, but one love. What we see as different loves, such as a husband to a wife and a mother to a child, is only that one love as it is moulded to fit a particular relationship. But real love lies deeper than all relationships, no matter what shape or circumstances it it’s found and that is what the love of God is.
“Now the first person that needs love is ourselves. And if that’s not there, we project our unhappiness, our lack, our victimization out on to the world that we experience. And it colours everything we see and do. We pray and hope for the right job, or the right person to come into our lives to take away our sadness or our despair. But what is difficult to realise is that we can never magnetize that right person or situation, unless we ourselves become the magnet. Until we begin to see ourselves as wonderful, I cannot wish for a man or a woman or a child to take away my victimization. That joy will only come if I cease to be sad or I cease to be a victim.
“And we set up false standards for what we believe we ought to be, and then we hate ourselves when we don’t live up to them. We do the same thing when we idolize the impossibly beautiful thin young women on the cover of our magazines. Only one in 10,000 women can look that way. Even I had trouble living up to my image when I was on Dynasty. I found that the solution to all my problems was within me. I will fail if I try to save the world without first putting my own internal house in order.
“How many times did I want to love but I was resentful? Wanted to be patient, but was desperate? And couldn’t be compassionate because of my judgment? I have always believed in reincarnation and that every person comes back in a state of adversity set up by their soul. But our adversity wasn’t meant to define us. It was an opportunity to give us wisdom and compassion where there never was any. I realised that I was meant to let go of my anger and my resentments so that I could become free and allow myself new experiences. I learned that forgiveness started with me. That forgiveness is for our story to end, our past to end, our personal suffering to end, and that the way to end sorrow and victimization is to forgive—even if we have to forgive our abusers a million times. To forgive is to touch the soul of God.
“Now, once we see God in ourselves and everyone around us, we are no longer defined by our race, our caste, our colour or our creed. We think our uniqueness and our differences define us, so it’s hard for us to give those up. But when we do, we honor the core, the God in all people. Then we can no longer harm others or nature without harming ourselves.
“Now during the filming of Dynasty I was asked by President Reagan and then President Bush to be the spokesperson for a program called ‘Take Pride in America.’ It was a beautiful program that inspired men, and women and children to clean up the forests and the rivers and the parks. They were asked to see all of these natural resources as their home and to respect and honour them. For the five years that the program went on, millions of people made an enormous difference in the environment and in themselves.
“I grew up in the city; I have lived in cities all over the world, and now I am blessed to live in the middle of nature, and I love it—I love it, I honour it, and it honours and heals me. We cannot know that God is within us and not honour all of life; the earth, the trees and the animals are all God expressing.
“I am speaking today about how to awaken to the female aspects of forgiveness and love and compassion, and how it can alter all of life. Now, while these values have tended to be more associated with one gender, rather than another down through history they are in fact universal values that belonged to all people of all times, male and female, who have ever succeeded in making a difference. But what does it mean to awaken? Well, to me it means to take responsibility for your mind and its choices, and to decide to stop living in the past with all the negative emotional memories that support the very mind-set that you’re trying to get out of. To be present. To be the love. To be the compassion. To be the forgiveness until you can’t remember not being it. And to be patient, be patient if you don’t succeed right away. And love yourself on this journey. And remember not to judge your progress. We all need heroes, people like Amma, who remind us of how great we can be when we’ve forgotten. But we must always remember that the power is within us. In one minute, we can change our mind. In one minute, we can be our own hero. Thank you.”