By Jenny Keating
Have you noticed how Baba loves to jump out at you from unexpected places? You glance through the Baba calendar, or you come to a part in the book you are reading, or a quote comes on the Baba listserve, and there in front of you is just the right gem of wisdom that feels like Baba is speaking directly to you about the issue or issues with which you are struggling.
One of these moments happened for me recently when I came across Baba saying to the early Western disciples: “I will teach you how to move in the world and yet to be at all times in communion with Me as the Infinite Being.” I had read this many times before but on this occasion it resonated deeply within me and I knew Baba was trying to tell me something about my present situation.
Almost two years ago I started an extremely busy and time consuming job. It involves five days a week sometimes nine and ten hour days plus traveling in big city traffic for at least an hour or more per day. In the midst of all the busyness and pressure it is hard to find a quiet centre in myself; to find time to do the things I love, activities directly related to Baba; to find the time even just to remember Him. I felt deprived by this change and I would often wonder why my life had taken this turn, what purpose there could be in this new focus and pace. The only thought I managed was “don’t complain, you have a job, just endure it.”
But Baba doesn’t want us to ‘just endure’. This makes Him a task master, and it’s clear He was never that. And when you hear what I do you will probably say ‘what’s her problem, she’s lucky.’ It’s an administration job which involves the processing of inquiries and enrollments of new students into a school. It’s a Waldorf school and the parents that come to find out about us are idealistic, looking for a more enlightened education for their children. And their children are full of innocence and Baba’s light. What more could I want?
But I didn’t see it this way initially. I just complained about all the paperwork and hours in front of a computer, or on the phone, answering inquiries. I also found many of my colleagues difficult: unfriendly, impatient, and even rude sometimes. I felt challenged on many fronts and often felt ready to resign.
But after much soul searching and questioning, and eventually, through the above quote, Baba reminded me that ‘living in the world but not of it’ is the key to finding happiness and contentment in any situation. I had to find a way of making my ‘in the world’ work a way of ‘being’ with Baba as much as directly related Baba activities. And no matter how busy or pressured life is I had to somehow learn to keep the focus on Him.
As I began thinking more deeply on Baba’s statement I realised how difficult it is to actually put into practice. To be ‘at all times in communion’ with Baba ‘as the Infinite Being’ required, if not the experience, at least the thought, that ‘all are One’; the same Being that was in the form of Meher Baba is the Being within me and the Being within everyone else. I had to do away with compartmentalised thinking: this is Baba and this is the world; these are Baba people, and these are ‘other’ people. I had to as Baba has said ‘see Him in everyone and everything.’ A changed attitude was required (as always) and in a natural way, other Baba quotes became like sign posts showing me the ‘way’: “. . . learn to love and give and not to expect anything from others;” “love the One in the many not the many in the One, I am the only Friend who will never let you down;” “. . . do your best, then don’t worry and be happy,” so simple and yet requires constant vigilance and control of the mind that gets caught up in the world and all its distractions; control of thoughts that fall into worry and self focus too easily.
And in Rano Gayley’s memoirs Because of Love, she tells of the time at the beginning of the New Life when she and Kitty had to go from living with Baba in the ashram to working in Bombay and Baba saying to them: “Treat your conditions like a life buoy and stick to it, and I will not let you sink.”
But perhaps the most helpful ‘signpost’ was a gem I heard from Meherwan Jessawala during a recent pilgrimage to Meherabad and Meherazad. He spoke of the power of Baba’s Name – something else I had heard many times but found I really ‘heard’ this time: “Baba’s Name has power and you can partake of that power. Baba said His Name was greater than Himself; even He repeated His own Name. You don’t have to worry about how you repeat it, about breathing in a special way or saying it in a special way, just repeat it naturally, inwardly or outwardly.” Meherwan went on to say that repeating His Name helps to protect, to dissolve, to strengthen.
I don’t actually experience a sense of oneness nor am I able to remember Baba frequently and I still have expectations of people and fail to see Baba in them when they upset me. But somehow repeating Baba’s Name or the words of one of His Messages gives my mind the opportunity to dwell on something positive and inspiring and that helps. Of course there’s never any resolution and I haven’t arrived anywhere, I’m just finding the journey a little bit easier and managing to smile more and feel more content with what is, trusting that what Baba says is ultimately true and that it is all for my higher good – another one of those blessings in disguise.