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Articles

CCCs
  – Billy Goodrum

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

Broken Heads
  – Ann Conlon

Doing "Baba Work"
  – Ann Conlon

On Being Ill
  – Ann Conlon

Enid
  – Ann Conlon

To Each His Own
  – Ann Conlon

Meherjee
  – 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

Dreams
  – Ann Conlon

Amartithi
  – 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

"Baba's Group"
  – Ann Conlon

His Promise
  – 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

Detachment
  – Ann Conlon

Is That A Religion Coming?
  – Ann Conlon

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

A Country of Our Own?
  – 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

To Be Honest

Some people love rules. I am not one of those people. If you give me something in black and white, I will whittle it down with questions and smudge the lines. I love nuance, and contradictions. I'm more interested in how people navigate competing truths than I am in declarations of The Way to live. Essentially, I've never evolved past the 2-year old refrains of "Why?" and "What if...?"

This does not make me very well suited to religion. Religion--that wonderful respite of common belief and shared practice. The ultimate creator of rules to live by and definitive explanations of the great mysteries: life, death, the origins of the universe. And, I notice, when people ask me about Meher Baba, one of the first things I often say is, "There aren't really any rules. He didn't institute rites and rituals. His message was pretty simple: 'Love God. And to love God, love your fellow beings.'" That seems so individualized in practice that it hardly qualifies as a rule. So I can live with it comfortably and do my imperfect best.

But it isn't exactly true that Baba didn't set any ground rules for living a spiritual life. He said many things that, for you rule-followers out there, probably sound pretty black-and-white. One that sticks in my mind, because I struggle with what it means, is: Be Honest. And I especially struggle with reconciling how that directive jives with another of Baba's orders: Be Cheerful. I mean, can we really be both?

If honesty meant only the ability and willingness to say what we think, I'd be in the clear. Those who know me would say that being direct is definitely not my issue--I am not conflict averse and would prefer things be out in the open than left to fester. I try to practice not being afraid of emotions like anger, fear and sadness. And I'm rarely inclined to be something other than what I am. Even Bhau Kalchuri, when my husband and I were just engaged, pulled him aside, looked at him sternly and said, in his most serious playful voice: "She cannot pretend."

But (it will likely not surprise you to hear me say at this point in the essay), it's not that simple. Honesty must include other loyalties and responsibilities we deeply feel, besides our own thoughts and moods. For example, honesty can't mean saying what we think while ignoring the feelings of those we care about. This is dishonest toward our love for others. And honesty, I'm afraid, cannot mean staying in bed all day because we are tired, as this is dishonest towards our commitment to our jobs, families and other responsibilities. Honesty, it turns out, may be just as complex as we are.

When thinking about this topic, I looked for various things that Baba said about honesty, as I vaguely recall many stories and quotes over the years. And I came across this story that Eruch told: A lawyer came to Baba in distress. He said that he was absolutely dishonest, as his profession required him to lie to defend the guilty. He feared he would have to leave his job in order to follow Baba. But Baba said, "To follow me, you have not to give up anything. Begin to remember me from where you are, from what you are and how you are, because I cannot be excluded from any area, any vocation, anything. If there is such a thing as hell for barristers, then you will find me there." And that is why I love Baba so much. He takes us exactly as we are and urges us to bring Him into every corner of our lives. Perhaps the answer to the question 'what is honesty?' embraces all of it--the moments we blurt out what we think, the moments we hold back and our struggle with the question.