“Live more and more in the Present,
which is ever beautiful and stretches away beyond the limits of the past and the future.”
For me, this is one of Baba’s most challenging and inviting statements. What I’ve come to realize, from my own limited point of view, is that Baba, in essence, is asking me to turn my back on the world and surrender everything to Him. Naturally, I’ve wondered how I could even begin to do this, how is it possible? The world is so interesting and alluring and has me firmly in its grip. Slowly, over time, a kind of intuitive understanding has grown in me that, of course, the only reason it is possible is because of Baba’s Divine Love, and everything else compared to His Love has no meaning.
My first conscious inkling that such a life is possible, (for an ordinary mortal, that is), came during the year I lived at Dilruba with Elizabeth and Kitty. I had grown up with these extraordinary women from the age of five, surrounded by their love and acceptance. And now, at twenty-three, Baba had gifted me with something precious and rare—an opportunity to fully participate in the daily lives of two of His closest disciples, people I had loved and adored since childhood. I now had the privilege, as a young adult, to witness how they brought Beloved Baba into every aspect of practical day-to-day living.
I had always known that life at Dilruba was continually busy—that each day was packed with activity. But living in the house all the time was an eye opener. Some days, there was so much going on at the same time I could barely keep track of my tasks. In fact, because so much happened in a day, Elizabeth said, “Life here is spur of the moment.”
How true this was. I saw both Kitty and Elizabeth respond without hesitation to whatever Baba presented in the moment. They didn’t plan a response, but followed their intuition, acting immediately to fulfill His Wish. In the ashram days, Baba kept His mandali constantly busy by keeping their focus on Him. As Mani often said, He kept them “ever ready, on their toes, to do whatever He wanted.” Each of them had years of practice in carrying out the Master’s wishes and to learn what pleased Him.
It was wonderful to see up close how Baba used Elizabeth and Kitty for His work. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of how precious they were to Baba, I just hadn’t experienced the daily practice of the Presence of God. I was and continue to be inspired by their examples of love and service for Baba. But many years would pass before I began to consciously (key word being “consciously”) tackle this job of living in the Now with Beloved Baba. In time, I had a pretty good idea of what it entailed. As I journeyed inward, I realized living in the present moment covers a lot of territory in the spiritual life: Baba is asking me to remember Him in thought, word, and deed; to trust that my intuition is His Voice; to let go of my imperfections and surrender them to Him; and the list goes on, the seemingly infinite list of Maya.
For me, all this is a giant leap into the unknown, and it takes tremendous trust in Baba.
I remember something I often heard newcomers ask Elizabeth and Kitty: how to live for Baba now that He was no longer in the Form. The two long-time disciples would invariably reply, “But He is training us now in the same way as He did in the ashram.”
I experience that. When I remember Baba, I find myself in the presence of His tender love and acceptance. I find I have the capacity in that moment to let go of worries about the future and regrets about the past. I experience joy and freedom from Me, My, and Mine. As my inner relationship deepens, Baba inspires my efforts to please Him in daily life.
Sometimes I complain to Baba about how difficult it is to live every moment in His Presence. His answer comes instantly on the heels of my complaint: “Try and My love for you will make it possible. Trust Me and I will help you.”
I don’t know, of course, but at times it feels I am lifetimes away from the pure life of obedience and surrender to the Beloved exemplified by the lives of Elizabeth and Kitty. But because of them, I know the possibility exists, and I can only do my best to remain present with the Beloved.
I want to close by sharing something I wrote in my diary during that year that goes to the heart of my experience of living with these two great disciples of the God-Man:
“I know I’m learning and I know simultaneously that I don’t know what really. It will likely be years before I realize what took place internally this year.
“There are some things that are more obvious, probably because those lessons are big ones that I haven’t learned and are ones that take lifetimes to cultivate. One such lesson is living in the Now. I mean truly living in the Now. In this house, each day is dedicated to Baba. Thus, the only thing at hand is that moment, that day—to be lived fully and well for Baba—to please Him in one’s work daily. There is nothing beyond, no next year, next month really because when they arrive they will be lived in the same way that this day is—for Baba. The only reason for existence then is to please Him, to love Him, to think lovingly, speak lovingly, and act lovingly.”
Published August 2017.