Tag Archives: Meher Baba

What They Do to 33 Year Old Carpenters

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Meher Baba and “ThreeB” (for Baba’s Beautiful Baby) AKA Diane Cobb

PR3–131
Fair Is Fairest of Them All

In Sufism atheism doesn’t make sense
Unless our atheist has first tried God
(Tried the Sufi God)
Because fair is fairest of them all:

How can you judge a God you have denied
Before you even tried?
And here’s atheists thinking small thinking
They’ve got me in a cul de sac of argument

(No escape):
They say with their clever entrapment smile
“Which God?”
And so I say to that well deny this:

The God that would be beautiful to you
Try to talk to that God
(In the walk-in closet of your heart)
Because in Sufism one picks one’s God

One chooses a God from the heart
A God specially designed closer than antibodies fit
With their locking ports which admit no strangers
Even my atheist friend

Said she wished she could believe
These reassuring fairy tales
But she never tried to talk to God
Not even the version of Whom

She’d have liked to believe in
Not even to present her terms of belief
She might be surprised
It worked for me because

God made me a counter offer
I couldn’t defuse:
I was kissed (on the lips)
By a lunar eclipse

Gentle Readers,
As I have frequently mentioned, I was an official member of a Sufi order. (Read sanctioned by Hazrat Inayat Khan, the founder of Sufism in the western world–circa 1920)

But maybe some have wondered why just the seven years? (1972 thru 1979).
What happened?
Once in a post seven years ago I confessed it all. And I have a hunch my current followers don’t go back that far, or if they do, they have either forgotten it or (for their long memory) are obviously devoted fans who will forgive the occasional throwback.

So this is a reprise of my post seven years ago, talking about how I got ignominiously dismissed from the Sufi order in 1979:

Gentle Readers,

(Sorry to be so late with this post. WordPress changed how they do things and I only just learned how)

Since last week, I’ve found some Lud* photos to illustrate this. Last week, I featured a photo of Lud’s daughter “Three B” (after Baba’s Beautiful Baby,” a name Meher Baba gave her, which stuck, for obvious reasons) In the photo one could see she was radiantly happy to be with Meher Baba.

I have already posted chronicling how Lud had been so sweet to me when I was dismissed from the Sufi order by Murshida Duce. How he rushed to see me and though I could not believe my ears, to apologize to me, for having suggested I write the letter I did to Murshida. And it was also sweet to thereby know that if it had been up to Lud that never would have happened, and obviously so, since the letter I’d sent Murshida contained nothing I’d not already told Lud, and which had elicited from him nothing but his saying how impressed he was with my honesty. And, of course, stressing the need for a plan to address the issues.

I had been worried, of course, so I had called Lud before I sent the letter off to Murshida. (I think I’ve already told of Murshida’s “Christmas Present” that year. Of how we should each send her a letter saying if we were happy as Sufi’s, functioning well under the requirements, or were having problems, even to the point of not wishing to continue, thus offering what I would have called an honorable discharge).

And Lud said not to worry so it was an honest letter. But afterwards Lud said, it was indeed, too honest. He said, (by way of explaining that he’d never told Murshida about my issues), “I saw you had a good heart, and so I just assumed it all would work out.”

Who knows the value of having someone like Lud say that. Perhaps it was just for that, that I was a Sufi.

I don’t know how many of my gentle readers have ever been thrown out of a group like the Sufis. I remember Murshida saying she’d been asked if Sufis should shun ex-Sufis who’ve been dismissed from the order. She said that would be a horrible thing, since that’s when they needed friends the most. Of course, Murshida saying that, and it being taken to heart, well, while I did have pretty good luck with my close friends, and my wife, Sally, I certainly saw much evidence of being shunned.

And there were others not so close, who proved my friend then, as well. And if any are reading this you know who you are and please know too you have an honored place in my heart.

It’s so much easier to suffer judgment when the judgment isn’t shared by your friends, and even some objective observers. But, and I cannot emphasize this too much, the real psyche-saver in this was Lud.

As for the judgment police, I don’t judge anyone for judging. It’s not the worst sin I have forgiven. (Or committed) And fairness demands no double standards. And as I used to tell my first grade students, “I am the fairest of them all.”

But I cannot over-emphasize my intense gratitude for Lud sparing me that horrible feeling of judgment and then, ostracism.

Because (and here’s a confession) it was Lud I loved. Though Murshida too, in a way powerful enough to make me burst into uncontrollable tears at her funeral. But honesty bids me also say, that sure had come as a surprise to me.

The summer before that fateful Christmas, it was my thirty-third birthday. And little did I know then the foreshadowing it was when, the night of my birthday my mother woke me up in the wee hours, drunkenly phoning to say, “Happy Birthday! Just had to remind you what they do to thirty three year old carpenters.”**

Sure enough, six months later, I felt crucified all right. Talk about synchronicity . . .

When Lud was dying, a few years later, we started writing to each other; I offered to get a marrow transplant if it would help with his bone cancer. But he said it wasn’t that type of thing. I wish though I’d have had a first hand way to judge how much better it is to actually make a sacrifice for someone you love (this transplant is a painful process for the donor) than it is just to know that you would.


And I loved him. I still do, wherever he is now. I will always cherish my last memory of him after I’d been dismissed, with us saying goodbye hugging and both of us crying and me apologizing for not having been a better mureed, and him, incredibly, for not having been a better preceptor. You see, to Lud the hardest thing in the world would have been to be denied the Sufi order. And so he felt bad on my behalf, that that had befallen me.

But if any of my readers knew Lud, and would like to share their stories, I’d love to post them in a blog post. Not to worry if they are short bits. I have some short bits myself that I haven’t gotten to, as it wasn’t enough to develop into a theme for a post. But if we all got together we could maybe do a charm bracelet thing, with a succession of freestanding anecdotes, quotes, or what have you. But about Lud somehow. Sort of like make up for that ill-fated birthday scrapbook. (To read about that, see December 23 post, “The Kind of Tears You Get From Laughing Too Much.” See https://rumi-nations.com/2013/12/23/the-kind-of-tears-you-get-from-laughing-too-much/)
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Lud Dimpfl, my adored Sufi preceptor (assistant Murshid, or head guru)

**33 year old carpenters is of course a reference to Jesus’ age when crucified

Be the Puppet

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John Keats

A Pinocchio Miracle

“He imagines that God is the creator and tries to believe that God is the sustainer; he makes an effort to think that God is a friend, and an attempt to feel that he loves God. But if this imagination is to become a reality then exactly as one feels for one’s earthly beloved sympathy, love, and attachment, so one must feel the same for God.”
–Hazrat Inayat Khan (The Object of the Journey)

You came to love your woman
By gradual approach
By gradual perception
By gradually seeing
Her beauty unfolded

But you can’t see God
You can’t know God
Except after the fact
For the factual clues from your being Sherlock

When in fact
What you love
Is the love God has shown you:

The sweetness of His tell-tale presence
(Dressing down in your actions)
Which you have to believe in to see

It’s natural when you think about it
Because God is beyond
Your brain or even
Your imagination

And so you have to hope
For a Pinocchio miracle
For which there first
Has to be a puppet

Be the puppet

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:

“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

Gentle Readers,
I refer you to the above Inayat Khan Invocation, which I have always included in my posts. It defines God as the perfection of love, harmony and beauty. It is the best summation I have found of the issue of God. In any case it is a tenet of the Hazrat Inayat Khan brand of Sufism: that since we cannot see the Real we must depend on our imagination being in tune with God’s ambassador, the heart.

I am thinking of another possibly soon post about what Inayat Khan said about the imagination.

It reminds me of a favorite quote from the immortal English poet, John Keats:
“I am convinced of two things, the sanctity of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.”

So I thought for today I would let Inayat Khan elaborate on this theme of harmony and beauty. Which elsewhere he says is (we being imperfect beings) dependent n the imagination. You see each day I receive (free!) a pithy bit of succinct stuff from the writings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.* Which was a nice fit for me, because normally I haven’t had the patience for a close application on spiritual themes. But in this instance it all seemed so clear and interesting. I love Inayat Khan’s way of analyzing the situation. **

Which I was set to study as a student of Sufism (1972-79 in the San Francisco Bay area).
Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:
(the links below each show the origin of the quote, in case one should want to see more context.
“Love produces harmony and harmony creates beauty. Therefore the chief motto in life is ‘Love, harmony and beauty.’ Love, in all things and beings, the beloved God, in harmony with all in the right understanding, and beautify your life by observing the beauty within and without. By love, harmony and beauty you must turn the whole of life into a single vision of divine glory.”
–From Vol II, Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word, Aphorisms ,” by Hazrat Inayat Khan

”How the words ‘love,’ ‘harmony,’ and ‘beauty’ delight the heart of everyone who hears them! One may wonder what it can be in these words that is able to exert such a natural power upon the human soul. The answer is that if there is anything in life which appeals to the human soul, it is love and beauty. If one asks, ‘And what besides those?’ then the answer is, ‘There is nothing else.’ Why is this? Because they are the very nature of life. Love is the nature of life, beauty is the outcome of life, harmony is the means by which life accomplishes its purpose, and the lack of it results in destruction”
from https://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_1.htm

Our virtues are made of love, and our sins are caused by lack of it. Love turns sins into virtues, and its lack makes virtues meaningless. Christ said when a woman was brought before Him accused of sin, ‘Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much.’ Heaven is made so beautiful with love, and life becomes a hell through the lack of it. Love in reality creates harmony in one’s life on earth and peace in heaven.
from https://wahiduddin.net/mv2/V/V_22.htm

God be with you,

Eric Halliwell
*You can too! Just go to:
https://wahiduddin.net/saki/saki_new.php

**I wonder if it’s analogous (in a different sense of course) to true romantic love in which the study of the beloved is an engrossing pleasure. And of course it’s not often one comes across such compatibility. But so sweet when it happens!

A Reindeer Unto Caesar Thing

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Charley Brown

That Ironic Stem of Stunted Light

I have never liked the phrase
“The better angels of our nature” and now

I find it was coined by Abraham Lincoln
Who suspended habeus corpus–
So stuff gets complicated one could argue

Because it connotes there might be some
Rotten angels in the barrel . . .
Though come to think of it the name Lucifer

Has that ironic stem of stunted light
And then also of course you have Lucy
With her Charley Brown football ploy

Like I say
Things are complicated

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”

Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”

Gentle Readers,
Up to now, except of course indirectly (and poetry which is the epitome of indirection, is also included as a possibly more extreme form of indirect) I haven’t (or have I?) dwelt overmuch on my personal Sufi philosophy which in a bombshell nutshell consists of an interest (at least as a favorite hobby) in the nuts and (sometimes) lightning bolts of adhering to the often curving (sometimes a bucking bronco ride) road which leads to being happy.

And so to start with, okay, yes I do have a self-serving personal philosophy in which I coddle myself, justifying it by saying one needs to negotiate a peace treaty with one’s lower self. Kind of a reindeer unto Caesar thing, if you get my Christian drift. (ho ho ho)

But to “bribe” (too strong a word, really) it the way I bribed my erst first grade students. Which was like* “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” (my picturesque way of presenting my personally-invented preventing boredom (the arch enemy of education) in the classroom ploy.

Yes, I would dance and make jokes and funny faces, sneak up behind to scare them (with the pretext of curing their hiccups) and, you know, your kiddie version bag of slapstick tricks. And Dani, my best friend (the nonpareil Venezuelan artist) in these parts has a nickname for me:”Payaso” (clown).

So I fancy myself suited to the role.

It kept the kids on their toes. They never knew if what’s next might be a pitiful (and thus amusing) teacher pratfall.

But in the meantime, in between time, I would be delivering reading lessons or a how-to-draw-nice-letters game which involved a contest between students which I called, “Pink Chalk Time!” Etc etc. (And there were much sought after gaudy prizes!)

But I digress (my guess though is that there’s more progress with more digress. But there I go again . . .(self-serving wise)

And I apply these same lessons to myself. Fortunately, half of my (aka my better angels**) personality is really of a “spiritual” bent. I mean things like I am (fortunately) fascinated by metaphysical speculation, just for instance, pondering the meanderings of the “spiritual” path. And suchlike ancillary Sufi fun. (Which interests do keep me on a sort of Sufi path)

But yup I have to admit there is another half that’s like first graders who need to be distracted to be attracted. So I have invented my own personal Gospel of Fun. (And yes, I do cheat a bit what with the head start of my as I say built-in fascination with for instance Al-Hallaj etc. *** in which I coddle myself but then I cleverly get away with it, justifying it by saying one needs to bribe the lower self with the pretext of fun and enjoyment (kiddie fashion). And yes I will stipulate that I am from a metaphysical school opposite those hair shirt lovers with their austerity artists (the whips and chain gang).

I have no such hair shirt philosophy.

Because it is just not fun. And I worship at the Gospel of Fun.

This may be the downside of believing in reincarnation. Meher Baba said we have over eight million lifetimes as a human being (before finally reaching god-realizatiion (aka nirvana, or as the Christians put it, the peace that passeth understanding) I refer to my lack of ambition as in “there’s plenty of time.” No hair shirt for me, not when I can just cultivate a situation in which spiritual progress is a fun thing. Even if arguably it takes longer. I guess I prefer what my erst dear friend Gail, the trance medium’s spiritual guide used to refer to as “the scenic route.”

But yes I do hear the self-accusing voice that says I have thus gone astray. But as I say, I was a first grade teacher (Just before I left for Guatemala twenty years ago) and too, thereby hangs a tale. (Which you can peruse in this post: https://rumi-nations.com/2013/07/01/the-fates-found-her/)

But I digress (like a fierce tigress!)

So here’s an example from today. (aka the kick in the pants that started this post): As some who have been paying attention know, I tend to live in Guatemala. And in these parts, now and again, the electricity gets shut off, Ostensibly for maintenance and repairs.

And when this recently happened I decided to console myself with some sophisticated fun. Para precisar, I decided to sit down on my veranda, make up a tea tray (with muffins!) and read from my current favorite novel, Middlemarch by George Eliot****

I decided it was high class fun. And like with teaching first graders, I thought to teach myself via fun. Anyway but then I spied my sweet cat Dahlia (frequently an inspiration to me*****) with her contented post-exploratory look. And I noticed that I was noticing her and not so much my usually absorbing book. You see, I love Dahlia, and merely liked the book. Which made Dahlia the more interesting object of study. Which reminded me of what Inayat Khan had said about meditation. He was drawing a dichotomy between the study of meditation, and the spontaneous meditation of a mother as she gazed upon her child. He said that such love taught a better meditation than any study could have done.

And I succumbed to comparing myself to that mother with my cat as the child. But it was a pleasant feeling, thinking that. And I decided that sort of spiritual pride was okay. At least in my case. Perhaps because I lack ambition.

But to me it could be classified as a “good fruit” (as in when Jesus said, “by their fruits shall you know them.”)

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*I cribbed this reference from the Emmy-winning episode of the Mary Tyler Moore (“Chuckles Bites the Dust”) Show)

**Which reference now gives me the excuse to include my rotten angels poem (see above)

***A very interesting story of a yes hair shirt lover. So you see, I do keep an open mind on that. Perhaps someday I may take to that, but I bet if I do it will be because I have found it to be “fun.”

Any who are interested in Al-Hallaj, can find somewhat about him in the thoiusand year old Hujwiri treatise on extant Sufi saints circa 1200 A.D. (Kashf al-Majub–(Revelation of the Mystery) But a more accessible bit of Al-Hallaj explanation can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hallaj

****FYI (in case you need a heads up) George Eliot was really a woman denombre Mary Ann Evans. I think she did this because when she wrote 150 years ago, women writers were discriminated against, and so (also as did George Sand aka Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) wrote under a man’s name. Of course in those days writers didn’t travel every which place doing readings for the public, to garner publicity to help book sales. In which case the sex cat would have gotten out of the bag.

And bye the bye Middlemarch in my opinion was overflowing with spiritual insight.

***** Dahlia, incidentally inspired my book of poems The Cat Who Threw in the Tao.