By Bruce Felknor
Those who do not dare to love Me seek safety on the shores. You who have been loving Me are swimming in this Divine Ocean. Love Me more and more until you get drowned in Me. Dive deep and you will gain the priceless pearl of infinite Oneness. ~ Meher Baba
We have all experienced how worldly life tends to encroach on inner life with Baba. Recently, I reached a tipping point between the demands of my various activities − which left me feeling very much away from Baba − and my longing to be ever closer to Him. I found myself living in the details of my experiences and routinely enumerating my woes: things for which there were no time, things I didn’t like, or things I didn’t have. Taking Baba’s name, which is my long habit, felt like it had become reflexive at times and was increasingly a matter of “hanging on” and less about “being with.”
I knew intuitively that I had to take some action, but I was at a loss as to exactly what I should do. All I knew was that I had to dive deeper. While I was in this state, I left my home to attend a meeting in Myrtle Beach.
I often find answers to pressing questions when I visit Meher Spiritual Center. In each of the kitchens there are message boards: “Notes for staff, suggestions, repairs, needs, and also notes to guests.” I’m sure they are used for their stated purpose from time to time, but I usually find notes from Baba there, addressed to me. This time, there were the following lines −from the Perfect Master and poet, Kabir− which Baba had instructed Mehera J. Irani (Baba’s Beloved and closest woman disciple) to memorize when she first joined Him in the ashram at age 17:
Once and for all make the resolve
That everything is God’s and nothing is mine.
Let that be your resolve.
In me there is nothing of mine
Whatever there is, is Yours.
Having made over to You what is Yours
What concern have I with any of it?
The message was quite clear to me: I have not yet made the resolve that everything is Baba’s and nothing is mine. In order to draw closer to Him, I have to make that resolution – once and for all.
But what does it mean to make this resolution? It’s not merely a trick of the mind, but something that has to come to life – to be lived and practiced – in order for it to be real.This and everything is all God’s.
Later in my stay, I picked up another clue during a conversation with a friend about the early influx of young people to the Center from the mid 1960s onward. He was reflecting on Kitty Davy’s and Elizabeth Patterson’s natural, whole-hearted, and loving welcome to the young people who were drawn to come to the Center. The mid- to late 60s in America were wrought by division, misunderstanding, and distrust between the younger generation and the “Establishment” generation. In worldly terms, it’s hard to imagine a less likely response from two elderly ladies on meeting these long-haired and sometimes unkempt young people. Nevertheless, Kitty and Elizabeth were always alive to what Baba wanted from them. They put Baba first, and their response to any circumstance or situation was: “What does Baba want?” That’s very different from the conventional view at that time, which was more often asking, “What is wrong with the younger generation?” It’s also a very different response from what I had to my own challenges. I found that I wasn’t always putting Baba first; I was putting my world and my problems first. We can want what Baba wants or we can want what we want; we can’t have both.
Near the end of my visit, I went to Sheriar Books for some new reading and listening material. I was directed to a book Baba had recommended to Kitty Davy and which Kitty then used to recommend to others: The Practice of the Presence of God. Comprised of conversations with Brother Lawrence (mid-seventeenth century) and his collected maxims, this book is indeed wonderful, and it’s easy to see why Baba recommended it.
Most striking to me is how constantly Brother Lawrence remembered God in his mundane life, and how he drew Him into all activities. Sometimes in the form of lengthy exhortations and sometimes in the form of pithy, intimate expressions, he made God first and foremost in his life, whether at work, at prayer, or at rest.
I returned home from the Center enthused and refreshed. My world is still here, but I’m trying more whole-heartedly to live Baba’s wish, to make Him my constant companion, to put Him first, and to bring to life Kabir’s words in me.
…to love God one has to keep Him present and never be absent from Him. This means while doing all duties, doing all deeds, while thinking all thoughts and speaking all words, we have always to have His remembrance, remembering Him as the background to everyone and everything. This means in every little thing, good or bad both, we should remember Him and then all responsibility rests with Him. ~ Meher Baba
Published December 2015