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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

Vacation Incarnation

A while back I was reading accounts of people's near death experiences.  Whether these actually represent what happens after death is not the issue for me.  I found them interesting nonetheless.  For example, in one account  a man was wandering through heaven and admiring the palatial homes that a number of folks had there, until he came to one poor hovel which stood out from the rest because of its impoverished condition.  It turned out that this was to be his home.  When he asked why, it was explained to him that the homes were built with materials that people “shipped” to heaven during their lifetimes.  The materials basically consisted of selfless deeds, and because he had done so few, his house reflected this. Nor was he allowed to live anywhere else as you had to live in the home you had “built” for yourself.  This reminded me of the story Eruch used to tell so often about Bahlul building castles in heaven.

Another account was from someone who had been afflicted with a crippling disease.  He had always resented this condition and felt bitter about its imposition until he “died” and found himself in a classroom where an advanced soul was teaching the assembled crowd about reincarnation.  On the blackboard were the names of several diseases.  The instructor explained that ordinarily the shedding of sanskaras (although he didn't use those terms exactly) was a slow process, but that it could be speeded up if one voluntarily took on one of these diseases during the next life.  The man saw himself raising his hand and volunteering for the disease which he had been unhappily suffering from for so many years.  When he woke up in his hospital bed, he found that his attitude toward his disease had changed considerably, and he was able to overcome the self pity and bitterness which had been his constant companions.
 
A feature common to all the accounts I read was the "life review."  In this, one sees one's life pass before one's eyes, but this time around, one feels the sorrow and pain one's selfish acts may have inflicted on others.  One also experiences approbation for any good deeds one has done, although these tend to be fewer and farther in between.  Partly, it seems, because the good deeds tended to consist of spontaneous moments where one is kind to another without having giving it a second thought.  (Which reminded me of a different story Eruch liked to tell: that of the prostitute who kicked some straw to a cow on her way to an assignation.)

It also seems that in between lives one will make a goal for the next life and during this life review you see to what extent you reached that goal.  This got me to thinking.  I have to confess that my life has been relatively easy.  So much so, that when I mentioned this to someone who was talking about all the suffering he had experienced in his life since coming to Baba, the other person said, "Oh, you must be on a vacation incarnation."  "A what?" I asked, and was told that every so often, one gets a break from the hardships of life with a vacation incarnation.  As I thought more about this, I developed a theory as to why I got this break.  Undoubtedly, as I was going through my last life review, it was pointed out to me that my self appointed goal for that just finished life, which had been to love God, had not been fulfilled.   Because one's ego no longer comes to one's defense in the same way after death, I had to admit the truth of this.  But -- because the ego doesn't entirely disappear -- I imagined that I had cried, “But wait, it's not my fault.  I had to slog so hard just to get by.  From morning to night I was busy just trying to survive.  Give me a cushy life in the West next time, where I don't have to worry about such things, and then you'll see, I'll be thinking about God all the time.”
       “Really?” my instructor asked with no apparent sarcasm.
        “Of course,” I boldly asserted.  "Just watch."

And so I was given exactly what I asked for, a cushy life where I didn't have to worry from moment to moment, or even year to year, about how I could maintain my existence, and yet I find that I still devote very little time to thinking about God.  Eruch once said that life reviews are not particularly pleasant and I am beginning to dread my upcoming one.  The sages used to say that just being born as a human was an incredible boon; one that should not be wasted in frivolous self indulgent pursuits.  So what about being given a vacation incarnation?  What can I possibly say to excuse myself this time?  There's nothing for it but to try to start remembering Baba with every breath from here on in.

However, as much as the pall of my life review shadows me now, there is this much to be said for a vacation incarnation.  Despite my self indulgences, my inability to think about Baba, or to love (or, often, even be kind to) others, I can still claim that I love God.  For Baba has said that if we think ourselves more fortunate than many, many others, we are loving God.  And it's impossible to have a vacation incarnation and not at least be aware of one's great good fortune even as you realize you're wasting a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in thoughts of Him.