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Articles

Amartithi
  – Bruce Felknor

"You'll find Me in the garden"
  – Jenny Keating

'Heart Tires of Its Gaudy Dress' – Francis Brabazon
  – Buck Busfield

HOLLYWOOD
  – Billy Goodrum

Trust and Intimacy
  – Jenny Keating

Living with Baba
  – Bruce Felknor

When Words Fail . . . Just Use More Words
  – Buck Busfield

Suffering and Service
  – Juniper Lesnik

SPOILER ALERT
  – Billy Goodrum

The charm of His ways. . .
  – Jenny Keating

The Importance of Being Furnished
  – Bruce Felknor

It's Been Fun
  – Steve Klein

Let’s Talk about Love
  – Juniper Lesnik

Cannes
  – Billy Goodrum

In the world but not of it . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Give Me Your Imperfections
  – Wendy Connor

Children of the One God
  – Bruce Felknor

As the Poet Says
  – Steve Klein

Happy Endings
  – Jenny Keating

Thoughts on Furniture
  – Billy Goodrum

Going Home
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Tale of Two Connections
  – Bruce Felknor

The Flowering Seed
  – Wendy Connor

Baby Steps
  – Steve Klein

Patience
  – Jenny Keating

Hold On!
  – Juniper Lesnik

Waiting for the New Humanity
  – Billy Goodrum

Remembering
  – Bruce Felknor

The Beloved's Beloved
  – Wendy Connor

Compare and Contrast
  – Steve Klein

It's in the struggle . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Time
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Tipping Point
  – Billy Goodrum

Learning Poise
  – Bruce Felknor

When "Good Enough" Isn't
  – Steve Klein

Conflict and Joy
  – Jenny Keating

Sleepless in San Jose
  – Juniper Lesnik

Vacation Incarnation
  – Steve Klein

Nerve Endings of the Soul
  – Jenny Keating

"Let the World Wait"
  – Wendy Connor

Religion vs Spirituality
  – Steve Klein

The Bigger Challenge
  – Wendy Connor

Que Sera Sera
  – Steve Klein

To Be Honest
  – Juniper Lesnik

Praise and Blame
  – Steve Klein

Being Right
  – Steve Klein

To Love God is To Love Our Fellow Beings
  – Juniper Lesnik

God is Alive in the World
  – Wendy Connor

Determined to Be His
  – Steve Klein

The Stuff We're Made Of
  – Juniper Lesnik

"I Will Always Be With You": Memories of the East West Gathering
  – Wendy Connor

Half Full or Half Empty?
  – Steve Klein

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

Ordinary Life
  – Juniper Lesnik

Baba Loved Us Too
  – Wendy Connor

Feeling His Love
  – Steve Klein

He is both Father and Mother
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Leap of Faith
  – Wendy Connor

Becoming His
  – Steve Klein

Don't Worry, Be Happy
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Life Worth Living
  – Wendy Connor

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

What a Mighty Beloved our Beloved is
  – Wendy Connor

To thine own self be true?
  – Steve Klein

The Sweets of His Love
  – Wendy Connor

Sickness and Health
  – Juniper Lesnik

Giving Advice
  – Steve Klein

"Garlic-Faced"
  – Wendy Connor

To Love and Be Loved
  – Juniper Lesnik

Talking About The Truth
  – Steve Klein

The Script was Written Long Ago
  – Wendy Connor

Excuse Me, Which Way to God?
  – Steve Klein

Letting Go
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Mosquitoes are Bad Today
  – Wendy Connor

What If A Teaching Moment Never Comes?
  – Steve Klein

Beads On One String
  – Juniper Lesnik

Youth Sahavas '07
  – Wendy Connor

Stop, You're Both Right!
  – Steve Klein

God, Please Give me a Job
  – Juniper Lesnik

"It Just Passes More Quickly"
  – Wendy Connor

Multiple Meher Babas
  – Steve Klein

Winking Back
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Treasure Within
  – Wendy Connor

Holding On, But Losing One's Grip
  – Steve Klein

1969
  – Ann Conlon

Obedience
  – Ann Conlon

Meher Center – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

Armageddon, Anyone?
  – Ann Conlon

What Does Baba Want Me to Do?
  – Ann Conlon

Baba's 'Things'
  – Ann Conlon

What Does THAT Mean?
  – Ann Conlon

The Way It Was – Meherabad
  – Ann Conlon

Doing "Baba Work"
  – Ann Conlon

Broken Heads
  – Ann Conlon

Enid
  – Ann Conlon

On Being Ill
  – Ann Conlon

Meherjee
  – Ann Conlon

To Each His Own
  – Ann Conlon

Youth Sahavas
  – Ann Conlon

Kitty
  – Ann Conlon

The Lonely Path
  – Ann Conlon

Isn't He Enough?
  – Ann Conlon

He Said What?
  – Ann Conlon

Goher
  – Ann Conlon

Taking a Dare
  – Ann Conlon

Seeking Suffering
  – Ann Conlon

Amartithi
  – Ann Conlon

Dreams
  – Ann Conlon

Margaret
  – Ann Conlon

"The Disciple"
  – Ann Conlon

I Wonder ...
  – Ann Conlon

Backbiting, etc.
  – Ann Conlon

Hearing His Name
  – Ann Conlon

Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies
  – Ann Conlon

His Promise
  – Ann Conlon

"Baba's Group"
  – Ann Conlon

Then and Now
  – Ann Conlon

Middlemen Revisited
  – Ann Conlon

Padri
  – Ann Conlon

Gateway Days
  – Ann Conlon

The New Life
  – Ann Conlon

Books, Books and More Books
  – Ann Conlon

Elizabeth Patterson
  – Ann Conlon

His "Last Warning"
  – Ann Conlon

Is That A Religion Coming?
  – Ann Conlon

Detachment
  – Ann Conlon

A Country of Our Own?
  – Ann Conlon

Manifestation: Did He Or Didn't He?
  – Ann Conlon

Remembering Mohammed
  – Ann Conlon

Advice (Sort-Of) for Newcomers
  – Ann Conlon

You're a Baba Lover If...
  – Ann Conlon

Real Happiness
  – Ann Conlon

Baba Lover, Baba Follower or Both?
  – Ann Conlon

Meherazad – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

The Strongest Memories
  – Ann Conlon

All (Baba) Things Considered

Suffering and Service

There seems to be so much suffering in the world right now. Maybe this is always so. But between violent extremism, the refugee crisis in Europe and beyond, gun violence in the United States, and such shocking divides between the rich and the poor, today’s world seems full of strife. And in the face of these realities, it is hard not to ask that timeless spiritual question: how could a loving God allow such horror and heartbreak?

I was looking at what Baba has said on the topic in hopes of finding some relief. Baba tells us “suffering comes through. . . attachment to illusions,” comparing our attachment to the world to children’s attachment to their toys. He calls for “firm and unfaltering love for God” and says that it is only loyalty to the Truth — not the events of the world — that can bring Peace.

To be honest, I don’t find this that comforting. It doesn’t make me question God, but it does make me feel a little helpless. Accepting all the world’s hurt as His whim is one thing on paper, but I find it bitter balm in the face of anguish. If the goal of life is to get closer to Love, it is hard to imagine that a child dying, an entire country being torn apart, the suffering of a mother who has no water for her thirsty son, or a kidnapped journalist dying in the desert, is what is necessary to help us get there.

When moved by suffering, it’s also hard not to wonder what we can do. How can we be of help? This question of service reminds me of the first conversation I had with my husband — truth be told, it was an argument of sorts. A mutual friend had gathered some of us young (at the time) Baba lovers in his San Francisco apartment to feed us Indian food (thanks, Brian Collins) and debate the nature of service. My husband, raised Catholic, thought it was a moral imperative, perhaps even the point of life, to be of service to others however one can. Whereas I, raised a Baba lover, said that most service benefits the giver more than the recipient; I'd been taught that selfless service is rare, and the minute you think you’ve been of help, you’ve just created new bindings.

He laughed and told me the story of the first time he went to Meherabad. He showed up (unintentionally) right as Amartithi was starting. It was the first time they were using the MPR to host pilgrims, even though it hadn’t opened yet. One night after dinner, one of the residents stood up and said: “Ok, we need some help. All the pilgrims' luggage needs to be carried up to the MPR. Can we get some volunteers?” Michael, assuming this community of God-lovers must be all about service, thrust his hand in the air, assuming he’d be joined by everyone in the room. But he looked around, and his was the only hand up.

I don’t pretend to know the dance of what we each raise our hands for, or why some of us are dealt hands with more suffering in the cards than others. I don’t know the best response when we are face-to-face with gripping sadness, or cruelty, or pain. Though I trust Baba, I cannot get my heart around it. And though I know we are asked to surrender to His will, suffering is a tough thing to surrender to — or, as Baba asks, to face with grace and fortitude. I don’t have an easy ending for this one, except to hope that Love prevails, not just at the end of time, but in a thousand little ways, right here and now.

Published September 2015.