M EHER S PIRITUAL C ENTER

January Newsletter 2020
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Live more and more in the Present which is ever beautiful and stretches away beyond the limits of the past and the future. If at all you must worry, let it be how to remember me constantly. This is worthwhile worry because it will bring about the end of worry. Think of me more and more, and all your worries will disappear into the nothing they really are. My will works out to awaken you to this. 

The Everything and the Nothing, p. 62

Meher Baba

Dear Meher Center Family and Friends,

We’re happy to announce the upcoming ‘Spring-Cleaning Sahavas’, planned for the second weekend in March. (Full details will be sent out in the next few days.) This is meant to be a time when Baba’s lovers of all ages can come together and serve the Beloved at His home in the West. The focus of the event will be cleaning the buildings of the retreat in preparation for the coming year, all in the spirit of sahavas: the give and take of love between lover and Beloved.

As many of you know, in the past two years there have been some significant programmatic shifts at the Center, including: the Artist in Residence Program, the Young Adult Sahavas, more guest speakers, additional Arti times, and now, the Spring-Cleaning Sahavas. These changes have been the result of an effort to enrich programming at the Center; and in some cases, are the product of years of discussion.

One of the things that really stands out for me when I recall those first years I visited the Center (early 70’s), was how flexible and accepting Elizabeth, Kitty and Jane were. It was really miraculous what those women who were running the retreat during that period did. They not only had to adjust to welcoming the flood of young people descending upon the Center, but also had to alter programming, modify the number of buildings, and upgrade administrative processes, all to address the changing times. And if that wasn’t enough, they had a way of making everyone feel included in the life of the Center, and in their lives with Meher Baba.

While change was in the air in those early years, the core of Meher Center did not change and has remained essentially the same through today. Those core attributes are reflected in the attitudes, and actions of those who help run the Center, including both staff and volunteers. They include, I feel: an awareness of the preciousness of His presence here; a willingness to try to please Him; an effort to keep His place in 100% repair; the focus on His life and message; an awareness that the work of the Center is wholehearted service to the Beloved through those who visit; and, an attempt at the creation of a loving community amongst those who work and visit this sacred place. And this has been possible because of His presence, which enlivens the hearts of those who serve Him here and those who visit here.

We look forward to seeing you at His home in the West some time soon.


In Meher Baba’s love and service,


Buz Connor
For Meher Center board and staff 
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The Eternal Date
By Jamie Keehan


On January 31 st , 1969, at 12:15 PM, Meher Baba dropped His physical form. The grief was unimaginable for so many of the lovers who had grown accustomed to His physical presence. And alongside that grief started to appear something else— a silent, brilliant, unchangeable truth that makes sense of the day’s name, “Amartithi,” or “Eternal Date.” 
 
It started at the epicenter, with the close ones who had been living with Baba. Even in the midst of this wrenching and impossible change, they steadfastly did what they thought would please Him. They attended to their responsibilities, including all the new and unexpected ones. They tried to keep cheerful. They welcomed the thousands of lovers who suddenly flocked to Baba’s doorstep to pay their last respects to His physical being. In their constant and unquestioning obedience, there was no break in Baba’s presence in their lives. And many of Baba’s lovers throughout the world felt the same: that the day was not one of death but of movement, Baba shifting from a small town in India directly into their hearts.
 
There have been fifty, nearly fifty-one, Amartithis since that first one. The experiences of each of them, by each of Baba’s thousands and thousands of lovers, have been innumerable. Even in my own brief time with Baba, the trappings of Amartithi have been so different: my first year as a Baba lover, I accidentally spent January 31 st  at Baba’s Samadhi, after feeling a strong urge to book my first flight to India in late January not knowing when (or what) Amartithi was. Then there were years of celebrating the day on a break from work in Portland, Oregon; or meditating with my new dog on my lap; or singing with dear friends at the Meher Baba Center in El Cerrito. 
 
Last Amartithi, I found myself in the Barn, along with hundreds of members of my Baba family, all crowded in what felt like concentric circles around Baba’s chair. The fire was burning, and so was the affirmation of Baba’s continued presence—in the chair in front of us, yes, and also in each of our unique hearts, and maybe out and out through the wood of the Barn into everywhere, and everything.
 
Now, for the first Amartithi since that first one, I’m packing up to go back to Meherabad.
 
My experiences of Amartithi are not that numerous and not that special. But in each of them, and I daresay in each of all our experiences over the past fifty-one years and on into eternity, is the same quiet thread of truth— the truth that the Mandali acted on from the beginning, and that poured out into the hearts of every one of Baba’s lovers across the world on that day in 1969. That Baba’s grace and smile and laughter and presence and love are fully present and real wherever we are, and are as fully alive in us as they have ever been.  

Upcoming Events
Amartithi
January 31st
Shaw family photo


January 31, is the   anniversary of Amartithi, the day when Meher Baba dropped His body to live in the hearts of His lovers everywhere.

9am-6pm
Compound of Meher Abode open

11:30am
Amartithi Program at Barn
A ll to gather at 11:15am
Refreshments afterwards at the Refectory

3:30-4:30pm
Chai at Original Kitchen

4-6pm
Meher Abode open

8:15pm
Guest Speaker: Larry Karrasch
Meeting Place

Meher Baba's Birthday
Celebration

February 25th
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5 am
Prayers and Arti
Meher Abode

11am - 1 pm
Meher Abode open
4:45 am - 5 pm
Compound open

8:15 pm
Guest speaker
Meherwan Mistry
Meeting Place

Birthday refreshments afterwards
In the Refectory


Coming Home to Paradise

By Preeti Hay

Jonas is thirteen years old. Three years ago, I remember checking his mother Jessica, brother Ezra and him into the Center for their first overnight stay. Jessica had seen the Center on several occasions while driving by. She eventually did her research and had already watched Baba videos when she came into the Center with a keen interest to learn more. The family was palpably thrilled, adding lightness to my own day. When I took them in to their cabin, Jonas could not contain his excitement. He said to his mother, “Mommy this is paradise.” As I witnessed this instant recognition, I knew then that this child had been here before.

Since then Jonas and his family visit the Center quite often. He is seen on the back of the Center work truck helping the laundry team, offering to clean cabins or riding his bike all over the Center. “There is something about being here that makes me want to do work. At home I might just be spending time on my phone or playing video games, but here I feel like I want to give back, especially to all the people I’ve met here who have been so kind to me,” he says. One of his dreams for when he grows up is to work at the Baba Center. 

The Center is an oasis, its beauty in the fact that it camouflages itself to suit the whims of its playmates. For a child it will reveal the wonders of childhood much like a fairytale. “One of my favorite memories is when I was in a golf cart with Jamie and saw a raccoon steal a bag of trailmix and run up a tree. My brother literally tried to chase him up that tree,” he chuckles. Jonas loves spotting alligators in the lake. But has not had a snake spotting yet, “Can you believe it?” He hopes that will happen this summer. Some other things that he loves are going to the community picnics, afternoon chai time and standing on the bridge, endlessly watching the fish with his brother.

When we talked about Baba, Jonas said that he does not know anything about Him. He definitely feels Baba’s energy here and looks forward to starting to read more about Him. “But you know I saw Him,” he says very matter of factly. “I was walking to Baba’s house from chai one afternoon and for a flash second, I saw Baba sitting on the porch outside His house drinking chai.” 

Jonas’ purity of desire is almost tactile. He feels in the depths of his heart that he has been here before. He knows this place, it is like coming home; a reunion of unexplained connections and longings before they can even be articulated. After being with him, I am reminded of the time when Elizabeth Patterson was asked about the common phenomenon of pilgrims feeling like they have been here before. “You see,” she said, “they feel a sense of familiarity because of an inner connection with Baba. People find Baba here because they bring Him here in their hearts.”