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Articles

Burned by Beauty
  – Buck Busfield

CCCs
  – Billy Goodrum

Amartithi
  – Bruce Felknor

"You'll find Me in the garden"
  – Jenny Keating

'Heart Tires of Its Gaudy Dress' – Francis Brabazon
  – Buck Busfield

HOLLYWOOD
  – Billy Goodrum

Trust and Intimacy
  – Jenny Keating

Living with Baba
  – Bruce Felknor

When Words Fail . . . Just Use More Words
  – Buck Busfield

Suffering and Service
  – Juniper Lesnik

SPOILER ALERT
  – Billy Goodrum

The charm of His ways. . .
  – Jenny Keating

The Importance of Being Furnished
  – Bruce Felknor

It's Been Fun
  – Steve Klein

Let’s Talk about Love
  – Juniper Lesnik

Cannes
  – Billy Goodrum

In the world but not of it . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Give Me Your Imperfections
  – Wendy Connor

Children of the One God
  – Bruce Felknor

As the Poet Says
  – Steve Klein

Happy Endings
  – Jenny Keating

Thoughts on Furniture
  – Billy Goodrum

Going Home
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Tale of Two Connections
  – Bruce Felknor

The Flowering Seed
  – Wendy Connor

Baby Steps
  – Steve Klein

Patience
  – Jenny Keating

Hold On!
  – Juniper Lesnik

Waiting for the New Humanity
  – Billy Goodrum

Remembering
  – Bruce Felknor

The Beloved's Beloved
  – Wendy Connor

Compare and Contrast
  – Steve Klein

It's in the struggle . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Time
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Tipping Point
  – Billy Goodrum

Learning Poise
  – Bruce Felknor

When "Good Enough" Isn't
  – Steve Klein

Conflict and Joy
  – Jenny Keating

Sleepless in San Jose
  – Juniper Lesnik

Vacation Incarnation
  – Steve Klein

Nerve Endings of the Soul
  – Jenny Keating

"Let the World Wait"
  – Wendy Connor

Religion vs Spirituality
  – Steve Klein

The Bigger Challenge
  – Wendy Connor

Que Sera Sera
  – Steve Klein

To Be Honest
  – Juniper Lesnik

Praise and Blame
  – Steve Klein

Being Right
  – Steve Klein

To Love God is To Love Our Fellow Beings
  – Juniper Lesnik

God is Alive in the World
  – Wendy Connor

Determined to Be His
  – Steve Klein

The Stuff We're Made Of
  – Juniper Lesnik

"I Will Always Be With You": Memories of the East West Gathering
  – Wendy Connor

Half Full or Half Empty?
  – Steve Klein

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

Ordinary Life
  – Juniper Lesnik

Baba Loved Us Too
  – Wendy Connor

Feeling His Love
  – Steve Klein

He is both Father and Mother
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Leap of Faith
  – Wendy Connor

Becoming His
  – Steve Klein

Don't Worry, Be Happy
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Life Worth Living
  – Wendy Connor

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

What a Mighty Beloved our Beloved is
  – Wendy Connor

To thine own self be true?
  – Steve Klein

The Sweets of His Love
  – Wendy Connor

Sickness and Health
  – Juniper Lesnik

Giving Advice
  – Steve Klein

"Garlic-Faced"
  – Wendy Connor

To Love and Be Loved
  – Juniper Lesnik

Talking About The Truth
  – Steve Klein

The Script was Written Long Ago
  – Wendy Connor

Excuse Me, Which Way to God?
  – Steve Klein

Letting Go
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Mosquitoes are Bad Today
  – Wendy Connor

What If A Teaching Moment Never Comes?
  – Steve Klein

Beads On One String
  – Juniper Lesnik

Youth Sahavas '07
  – Wendy Connor

Stop, You're Both Right!
  – Steve Klein

God, Please Give me a Job
  – Juniper Lesnik

"It Just Passes More Quickly"
  – Wendy Connor

Multiple Meher Babas
  – Steve Klein

Winking Back
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Treasure Within
  – Wendy Connor

Holding On, But Losing One's Grip
  – Steve Klein

1969
  – Ann Conlon

Obedience
  – Ann Conlon

Armageddon, Anyone?
  – Ann Conlon

Meher Center – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

What Does Baba Want Me to Do?
  – Ann Conlon

Baba's 'Things'
  – Ann Conlon

What Does THAT Mean?
  – Ann Conlon

The Way It Was – Meherabad
  – Ann Conlon

Broken Heads
  – Ann Conlon

Doing "Baba Work"
  – Ann Conlon

Enid
  – Ann Conlon

On Being Ill
  – Ann Conlon

To Each His Own
  – Ann Conlon

Meherjee
  – Ann Conlon

Youth Sahavas
  – Ann Conlon

Kitty
  – Ann Conlon

The Lonely Path
  – Ann Conlon

Isn't He Enough?
  – Ann Conlon

He Said What?
  – Ann Conlon

Goher
  – Ann Conlon

Taking a Dare
  – Ann Conlon

Seeking Suffering
  – Ann Conlon

Dreams
  – Ann Conlon

Amartithi
  – Ann Conlon

Margaret
  – Ann Conlon

"The Disciple"
  – Ann Conlon

I Wonder ...
  – Ann Conlon

Backbiting, etc.
  – Ann Conlon

Hearing His Name
  – Ann Conlon

Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies
  – Ann Conlon

"Baba's Group"
  – Ann Conlon

His Promise
  – Ann Conlon

Then and Now
  – Ann Conlon

Middlemen Revisited
  – Ann Conlon

Padri
  – Ann Conlon

Gateway Days
  – Ann Conlon

The New Life
  – Ann Conlon

Books, Books and More Books
  – Ann Conlon

Elizabeth Patterson
  – Ann Conlon

His "Last Warning"
  – Ann Conlon

Detachment
  – Ann Conlon

Is That A Religion Coming?
  – Ann Conlon

Manifestation: Did He Or Didn't He?
  – Ann Conlon

A Country of Our Own?
  – Ann Conlon

Remembering Mohammed
  – Ann Conlon

Advice (Sort-Of) for Newcomers
  – Ann Conlon

You're a Baba Lover If...
  – Ann Conlon

Real Happiness
  – Ann Conlon

Baba Lover, Baba Follower or Both?
  – Ann Conlon

Meherazad – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

The Strongest Memories
  – Ann Conlon

All (Baba) Things Considered

What If A Teaching Moment Never Comes?

One of the things that struck me most forcibly about the mandali was the degree to which they were able to make people feel unconditionally loved. Eruch, especially, seemed to concentrate on making people feel loved and was very reluctant to tell people what they "should" do.

In fact, this used to be a source of friction for some, because there were those around him who used to plead with him to take more of a role in teaching others, or would give him a hard time for not reprimanding those who seemed to need it.

When I asked Eruch about this he said he had a brotherly duty to bring it to people's attention if they were doing something which was grossly displeasing to Baba (actually, he didn't use the qualifier grossly, but I have added it because it seemed to me he tended not to say anything about all the little things we constantly did which displeased Baba, but would speak up only when there were larger issues at stake) but otherwise who was he to speak out.

Although at times I found this frustrating, I also saw how effective it was. Only once a person felt loved, could they accept any advice without feeling defensive or rejected. And Eruch had the patience to wait until the time was "right" before saying anything.

In 1980 a Baba lover wrote and asked Eruch if he could do anything for him. And Eruch wrote back and said that since he asked, would it be possible for him to stand in the queue during Amartithi to take darshan instead of skipping to the front of the line? I was flabbergasted. Eruch, I exclaimed, he's been doing this for 11 years and you're just suggesting now that he take his turn like everyone else? Why didn't you tell him years ago? Because, Eruch said, it's only now that he asked.

But what do I do with this kind of example when it comes to parenting? Who can wait 11 years for the "teachable moment," especially when our foster kids tend to already be teenagers when they come to our house? I think, perhaps, with the sense that I don't have much time to pass on the lessons our kids need to learn before they go off on their own, my natural tendency to "teach" (read: nag, criticize and lecture) is reinforced. Don't I have a duty, I ask myself, to create ethical, or moral guidelines for those in my care? How will they learn right from wrong if I don't teach them? How will they develop compassion and empathy if I don't help them see that the universe is not constructed for their exclusive enjoyment?

As you have probably guessed, this approach is counterproductive. Because our kids are older, paradoxically, they need, to an even greater extent, to be loved and not lectured. They want to feel accepted for who they are, not how they behave. So they become defensive if they sense criticism, they dig in their heels, find justification for their behavior and respond with anger to those who have the temerity to suggest they need to change. In short, they act just like adults.

I really shouldn't be surprised. My own experience with the mandali reinforces my belief that only when we feel completely loved and accepted, and not judged, do we feel free enough to let go of the negative habits we've been holding on to so tightly under the mistaken belief that this was necessary to ensure our sense of identity.

There is a balance here, to be sure, and I'm not suggesting that no ethical guidance ever be offered. The mandali certainly held up an incredibly high standard as to what constituted true obedience but what was so marvelous was the way they could make one (me, anyway) feel completely loved and accepted in spite of my inability to meet their standards. As one who loves to preach and has very little capacity for expressing love, this is a daunting example. But it brings home for me, from a new perspective, the profound wisdom in Baba's words that He did not come to teach, but to awaken.