I remember Kitty often used to say, “Baba loved challenges; that is His way of working.” Somehow, it’s easier for me to see Baba’s Hand in the big challenges rather than the day-to-day ones. When something happens that I clearly have no control over—like a hurricane, or a car accident, or an unexpected death of someone I love—there is no doubt in my heart that, while I may not understand what is happening, I know He is at work and that what He wants is for me to surrender my fears and worries and trust Him.
For me, the harder challenges are the ordinary ones, the seemingly small ones that crop up on a daily basis—like dealing with people and their personalities. It is amazing to me how much of the spiritual path is about looking at myself first and being honest about my own failings instead of pointing fingers at others.
Of course, I realize Baba arranges things so that we are purposefully placed with people who will push our buttons. This appears to be one of the main ways He cleans house. It’s His role, Baba’s explained, to bring to the surface the well of impressions that surround the journeying soul. The obvious vehicles He uses for this process, it seems, are the natural places our karma takes us. And so, every situation or person is a possible target for the Clandestine One to stir up the ego so we can surrender what is there and He can take it from us. It appears that the real purpose of this frequently annoying arrangement, is that I have to deal with my own personality!
Once, when Buz and I were traveling to India with Kitty, we were accompanied by an older woman who really loved Kitty, and of whom Kitty was very fond. However, I found her ways of doing things very pushy and irritating, and well, not the way I would have done them. It got to the point where I just wanted to burst, and tell her everything she was doing to make things difficult for everyone. Being in the atmosphere of Meherazad and Meherabad Baba somehow got through to me. I felt Him say inwardly, ‘just let it go and see her good qualities.’ Because of His love, I was able to appreciate her love for Kitty and then, in turn, to feel love for her. After that, her personality never bothered me again. All along, the problem with her was me. I remember Elizabeth saying, “Baba doesn’t resolve problems, He dissolves them!”
So herein lies the bigger challenge—it’s much easier for me to be critical of the other person than it is to stop and think that the real problem might be something in myself. Sometimes I will be with someone who does or says something that is clearly wrong, (in my eyes, that is), and I find myself wanting to correct that person. Of course, in some cases, it may be appropriate and necessary for me to do so, and, if it is, then my job is to try to do it in a light and loving manner. On the other hand, it might just be that I am being self-righteous and feel I know best, that ‘truth and justice’ are at stake and I have to set things straight. This is when I find myself stuck in the great jungle of me, and only by remembering Baba can I hack my way through this tangled mess.
What to do? I had been told my whole life that we should look for the best in people, that Baba was in everyone. But this is easier said than done. Once, on one of our trips to India, something Eruch said to me and Buz put a different spin on this idea of looking for the best in people. It was on one of our treasured early morning walks at Meherazad when Eruch recalled something Baba had said long ago. He said: “To love Me is to love all. To love all is not to love Me. To love Me in all is to love Me.” Then He asked those close ones gathered around Him, “How do you do this?” Answering His own question, Baba said, “Be mindful of the goodness in everyone, for I am Infinite Goodness.” Then He added, “Leave the crap to Me, I’ll take care of the crap.”
Somehow hearing Baba refer to Himself as the ‘Infinite Goodness’ in each person made it seem more possible for me to find the best in people. And, even better, knowing that Baba would take care of people’s crap—that I didn’t have to worry about the stuff I didn’t like or the stuff I wished were different about someone. I was off the hook. I didn’t have to fix the other person!
Once when we were complaining to Mani, Baba’s sister, about how unkind someone had been to our family, she told us something her father had said to her years before. One day, her mother, Shireenmai, had come home from being out in the community (in Pune where they lived), and was very upset about the things people were saying about her husband, Sheriar, and Merwan. Her husband had been recently swindled out of his business by his business partner, and people were commenting on how imprudent he had been. And now their son, Merwan, was going about Maharastra claiming to be a spiritual master. Shireenmai was livid. Sheriar said to her: “What do you do when you see a pile of rubbish on the side of the road? Do you stop and put your face in the rubbish and cover yourself with it? No, you keep on walking and pass it by. So you must do the same when people are unkind or cruel. Ignore them; walk away. Take His Name and leave them to God.”
It’s always best to let Baba have the last word:
“Remember that the first step in spirituality is not to speak ill of others. All human beings have weaknesses and faults. Yet they are all God in their being. Until they become Realized, they have their imperfections. Therefore, before trying to find faults in others and speaking ill of them, try to find your own weaknesses and correct them.“Meher Baba