M EHER S PIRITUAL C ENTER

August Newsletter 2019

"Be pure and simple, and love all because all are one. Live a sincere life; be natural, and be honest with yourself."

Meher Baba

Meher Baba's Call (1954)

Dear Meher Center Family and Friends,

I recently wrote to you about our Christmas/New Year’s holiday reservation form, and some upcoming events at the Center. Now, I’m honored to introduce this August newsletter, with more detailed information about those events, along with two stories we wanted to share.

As always, I hope this note finds you well and happy. We look forward to seeing you at Meher Center one day soon.

In Meher Baba,
Buz Connor
For Meher Center board and staff 

Shaw family photo



Remembering Kitty at the Community Picnic
By Preeti Hay


Kitty Davy, one of Meher Baba’s Mandali, lived at the Meher Center from Baba’s first visit in 1952 until her death in 1991— at age 100! Born in London, she met Meher Baba in 1931 and was one of the few privileged souls to be granted permission by Baba to “leave all and follow Him.” For many who met Kitty she was a delight, a living spark of His love on Center. 

The Center's Community Picnic started as a way to celebrate Kitty’s birthday. Kitty loved her birthday and she loved picnics! So on her birthday Kitty met community members on the lawn outside the original kitchen to enjoy picnic lunches, deserts and communal mirth. The community included many kids who remember this time as a way to celebrate the end of summer and to begin school. No matter what changes happened during the year, the picnic with Kitty and her birthday cake was always an end of the summer gift.

Roz Taubman, who has baked for Center events for about fifty years in some capacity or other, remembers making cakes for Kitty’s birthday. “Kitty’s favorite cake was the Victoria Sponge Cake, named after Queen Victoria who enjoyed this cake with afternoon tea. It is a very classic British cake with raspberry fruit jam and whipped cream. I used to make it for Kitty as a big, layered cake, much like a wedding cake," Roz reminisces. 

This year Roz thought to bake the very same cake, as the picnic continued the tradition of the end of the summer and a community coming together in His love and service. In the whiffs of sugary trails, Kitty’s rippling laughter was remembered as a symbol of eternally loving the Beloved.

Individual cakes from this year's Community Picnic.
Upcoming Events

Artists in Residence
Sally Pearson
& Patrik Widrig
September
16th - 21st

Sara (Sally) Pearson heard of Meher Baba in September of 1969. She first danced at the Center in 1970, and at Meherabad and Meherazad in 1972. Patrik first heard of Meher Baba in 1986 in NYC, where he had recently arrived from Switzerland to study modern dance. Sally and Patrik have been co-artistic directors of PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER since 1987, choreographing, performing, and teaching throughout the US, Europe, Latin America, India, Asia, and New Zealand, including performances at Lincoln Center in NYC and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In addition to their concert stage dances, their site-specific performances outside of the theater include the Eiun-In Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan; the Museo de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile; the lobby of the New Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Zeche Zollverein, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen, Germany. Their work is a mix of experimental dance, spoken word, video, and innovative set and costume design. Most recently, they choreographed a dance with Arangaon college students that was performed in the Meher Theater at Meherabad, and they have been invited to China, Slovakia, and Puerto Rico to choreograph, perform, and teach in 2019-20. They are currently associate professors at the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, where they delight in mentoring the next generation of arts activists and ask for the Beloved’s help in navigating academic politics.

Check our website calendars for timings and updates.
https://www.mehercenter.org/programs/
Blue Bus Talks
with
Susan McKendree

Part 1: Saturday Sept. 28 
Part 2: Sunday Sept. 29  


Susan Mckendree is a poet and artist who has devoted years of research to Meher Baba’s Blue Bus Tours, and will soon be publishing a book on the subject. The Blue Bus Tours were a unique stage of Baba’s work starting in 1938 when He and His women Mandali traveled extensively throughout India in a vehicle called the “Blue Bus.” Intended for 16 people, the bus ended up holding more than 24 women and children, plus a number of pets. Baba indicated that He did significant universal work during the tour, and said that “the Blue Bus is like Krishna’s chariot.” Over the course of two days, Susan will delve deeper into what happened during this remarkable journey.

Check our website calendars for timings and updates.
https://www.mehercenter.org/programs/



Young Adult Sahavas

Oct. 31 - Nov. 3


This year marks the Second Annual Young Adult Sahavas at Meher Center! This is a time that the Center is reserved for young adults to gather and experience Sahavas with one another in Baba’s home in the West.

Check our website calendars for timings and updates.
https://www.mehercenter.org/programs/

At the Gate
by Jamie Keehan

Wilbert spent his youth seeking God. As a child, he’d had an asthma attack that killed him— until he felt a minister’s prayer calling him back. Since that time, Wilbert had a burning desire to meet God, that “Universal Truth” he knew was there.

But it wasn’t clear where to find Him. Wilbert spent time in the military, and as he traveled, he explored different religions and spiritual paths, from Buddhism to Theosophy. But despite all his reading, his conversations with people from various traditions, his exploration of communities across the country, and his internal journeys to different states of awareness, Wilbert never felt that he had found the One he was looking for. 

Then one night, Wilbert was lying on a small cot in Arizona, reading a book called The Everything and the Nothing . Suddenly, he was surrounded by light. Looking up, he saw the face of a man with a moustache radiating from the center of that light. The figure said, “Go to India.” 

It was an impactful moment, but Wilbert didn’t know where he would get the money for such a big trip. The next day, he was sent a $5,000 check from the military as an unexpected repayment for some of his service. Across from the bank where he cashed the check was a travel agency with an advertisement in the window: 'GO TO INDIA.’ So he went.

Wilbert wasn’t sure where in India to go, but he followed his tour group, his intuition, and his sense of adventure— and later saw that many of the places he went traced the routes that Meher Baba and His disciples took when traveling through the country. Looking back, he feels he was “following in the footsteps of the Master,” perhaps gaining on the One he was seeking.

Finally, after returning to the U.S., Wilbert saw the mustached figure again. This time, it was in the window of a bookstore in Berkeley. He rushed into the store, and discovered that the man was Meher Baba, whose book he had been reading on the cot in Arizona. He found Elizabeth Patterson’s number at the Center and called her. She simply said, “This is Meher Baba’s home in the West. You should come.” So Wilbert got on a bus to South Carolina.

Two days later, the bus was driving through Myrtle Beach. It had been a long ride, and Wilbert had been dozing, but suddenly he felt a sensation like his heart being pierced, and the strong urge to pick up his head which had been resting on the window. Looking out the window, Wilbert saw Meher Baba, smiling and gesturing to him, standing next to a wooden gate. 

There’s more to Wilbert’s story. There’s the faces of Kitty, Elizabeth, and Jane when Wilbert asked them if he could go to Baba’s house to meet Him, and described what he had seen. There’s the deep relationship with Jane, especially, that Wilbert developed, of intense support and trust, describing her as “a mother over me.” There’s the prejudice that Wilbert sometimes endured as a Black man, and his work to find a place for himself in Myrtle Beach. But in some ways Wilbert’s story ended on Highway 17 that morning, at the top of that nondescript driveway, when he realized the One he’d sought all those years not only had invited him home, but was waiting at the gate.