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Articles

Silence on Silence Day
  – Jenny Keating

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

Meher Center – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

Armageddon, Anyone?
  – Ann Conlon

What Does Baba Want Me to Do?
  – Ann Conlon

Baba's 'Things'
  – Ann Conlon

The Way It Was – Meherabad
  – Ann Conlon

What Does THAT Mean?
  – Ann Conlon

Doing "Baba Work"
  – Ann Conlon

Broken Heads
  – 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

Praise and Blame

When I started writing my last column, I intended to tackle the idea of being impervious to praise and blame, and then ended up talking about being “right” and never got around to it. Of course, the two are linked. One reason we like being right is that we tend to get praised when we are and blamed when we’re not. But even when we’re right, inevitably someone, (especially if we’re married), at some point, will blame us anyway.

Therefore, as with so much of life, the trick is not so much to arrange outer circumstances so that we never get blamed, but to arrange our inner landscape in such a way that we don’t take it so seriously when we are. Eruch used to love to tell the story “Is that so?” in which a person responded to both extravagant praise and unjust blame by merely commenting, “Is that so?” This was the equipoise Eruch said we should have.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It seemed to me that the mandali had an interesting method of trying to help those working with them to become more dependent upon one’s inner sense of pleasing Baba, and less so on the opinions and reactions of others. They did this by, for the most part, giving praise or blame without much correlation to one’s actions. Thus I could accomplish what seemed like a great feat in my eyes, and the mandali would appear completely indifferent, never even acknowledging my action. Or they would simply nod their heads as if it was understood that the work would get done and, again, wouldn’t say a word of praise. Sometimes, they might even find fault with what I had done, or criticize me for using my initiative.

I found this disconcerting, to say the least. And then, every once in a while, out of the blue, Eruch might suddenly launch into a peroration of praise because I had done something absolutely trivial, like putting a stamp on an envelope. I don’t know how others reacted to this but I found it maddening. I was hungry for praise, but for something I deserved; this effusive and excessive commendation seemed like mockery.

It took me years to begin to discern that my desire for praise was just another attempt by my ego to perpetuate its separateness, its feeling of being special. I sensed that the mandali wanted us to feel special not because of who we were, or what we did, but simply because Baba was within us. And, concomitantly, they wanted us to persevere doing the right thing, not because we would be praised for it, but simply because it was what Baba wanted us to do. They were alert to always direct us towards seeking His pleasure, and not theirs.

By making their praise and blame so random, they sought to wean us from seeking praise or fearing criticism altogether. Or at least this was the conclusion I came to. A feeling that was strengthened as I noticed that even when the mandali disagreed with something someone had done, if the motive had been to serve Him and not merely to aggrandize one’s self, then they respected this.

My sense was that the mandali wanted us to always focus on doing what He wants and to not worry about whether others approved or disapproved of our actions. This didn’t mean ignoring others, or arrogantly asserting ourselves; it might mean apologizing profusely even when we felt we had nothing to apologize for, but it also meant persevering in seeking His pleasure, despite the reactions our behavior might produce. I can’t pretend that this is a lesson I’ve mastered, but it is something I try to remind myself of when I get too puffed up with praise or disheartened by blame.