Growing up in a Baba family, I got early doses of the good stuff: love, humor, spiritual serendipity, exposure to people who were doing their best to live from the heart, the unbelievable fortune of getting to mingle with His mandali and be in the presence of truly great souls. I wrote poems and did art and swam in the ocean by His home in the West.
Somewhere in the crossroads of being a child in the embrace of His family and my lifenow, it dawned on me that most of my time would be spent at work and the work I chose would matter very much to the life I had, the person I would become. This was something worth deep consideration, I decided, and so I began asking Him what my life’s work was – hoping that an answer would rise up from the wells of the heart, where our best conversations usually unfold. But no answer came clear; the well took those questions into the dark and surfaced no clear path in return.
I wanted a God who told me to serve the poor, or write novels, or bake bread. Sweep this floor every day for forty years because it is good work, it is what I want you to do. A sense of divine purpose, freedom from waking up one day and realizing I made the wrong choice, I’d lost my life in work that had done nothing for me or for the world.
But Baba didn’t seem to work that way, at least for me. In my twenties, I , like many Baba lovers I know, considered a life in India, close to His home and His body, where service to Him could be abundantly clear. Inside though, I felt a calling into the world. And here I am. My job now, as a lawyer, often feels crushingly intellectual and stressful enough that I go whole days when I barely take a breath. Beside my computer, is a Baba card, the one that reads “Do Your Best and Don’t Worry Be Happy…Leave the Rest to Me.” He smiles out at me as I cradle the phone, type away, shift endless piles of paper from one stack to another on my desk. And sometimes I ask Him, especially on the days when the heart quality I long for seems to recede behind the press of deadlines and demands, “Is this really where you want me to be?”
Of course, this question itself may be one of the lessons that life in the world offers us. Finding, in the moments that feel distant from whatever it is that makes us feel spiritually alive, a trust that we are exactly where He wants us to be. As Hafiz wrote, knowing that, “this place where you are right now God circled on a map for you” even if that place is a courtroom or a line at the post office or at a baseball game. Recently, I received a sweet reminder of how Baba is always with us, guiding us in ways that deepen that dependence on Him. It was a frantic day in the office, one where each task hurtled me full force toward the next, and I was tired, definitely not at my multi-tasking best. My supervisor, frantic herself, rolled a chair up to my desk for a difficult conference call we had scheduled. Out of nowhere, she said, “And does He help you?” “What?” I answered, having no idea what she was talking about. “Does He help you?” she repeated, gesturing to the Baba card. “Yes,” I answered, surprised and delighted that after two years of working together she was suddenly asking me about Baba, “He does.” “How?” she asked, genuinely curious. “Well,” I said, “take today. I was tired this morning and had so many responsibilities. I knew I didn’t have the energy to get everything done. So, I turned to Him inside, and let Him know that I needed some help, that I couldn’t do today on my own. And then little things happened. I got a swell of energy from some unknown place, you helped me get that assignment done, others stepped in and made the way easier. And I was no longer worried that I’d fail or disappoint.” “Oh,” she said, “that must be very comforting, to have someone to rest in like that.”
That was the end of the conversation. We made the phone call, the day hurtled forward and I went home tired, but refreshed. She helped me realize something that I sometimes forget. That maybe the work we do is not the important thing. That He puts us in situations that urge us to lean on Him. And, most of all, that life’s work with Him is not about finding the right job but about remembering that He is the doer and we need only keep Him close. That the real job is to keep His company, do our Best, and leave the rest to Him.