can go anywhere in an instant, be anywhere in an instant, visit the past,
travel into the future, be here, there, and everywhere. This mercurial nature
of the mind is very difficult to control. The body, on the other hand, is always
in the present. It can always be located. Now tell me, where is your body now?”
question surprised me.
is here,” I said while making some awkward gesture at myself with both hands.
in the studio,” I said.
here on the chair.”
is your starting point, your body on the chair in the studio. Now tell me, how
do you know where your body is?”
just know,” I said.
to understand, just knowing is not experiencing.” His voice was calm and even.
“Can you sense your body?”
mean the parts of my body like my hands and feet — my breathing?”
but as a whole. Sense your whole body, all at once.”
tried to sense myself in the way he suggested and soon began to experience the
strange, but not unpleasant, sensation of inhabiting my own body.
to sense; be in your body,” he advised.
I worked, I began to notice a mild tingling sensation in my hands and feet: my
whole body was aglow with a benevolent and subtle energy. There was an
agreeable sensation from my clothes against my skin and I experienced an array
of fascinating sensations emanating from my head and face. I was experiencing
the sensation of being alive.
there was also the awareness of thoughts, thoughts about the awareness,
thoughts about other things, and I found them distracting.
body is like a circle — a sphere,” I heard him say. “When you are aware of
yourself inhabiting your body you become the center of that sphere. Thoughts
are like roads running in all directions away from the center. You cannot stop
thoughts for very long and you cannot erase the roads, but you do not have to
travel the roads either. Remain aloof from your thoughts without spending
energy attempting to stop them. Neither follow them nor allow yourself to get
interested in them. Stay in the center of the sphere. Stay in your body.”
was quite different working as he suggested. Not trying to stop my thoughts
saved energy and allowed me to go deeper into the experience, but I couldn’t
entirely stop myself from getting involved with them either. Somehow, without
noticing, I would drift off into my thoughts only to become aware at some point
that I had lost my position in the center of the sphere. The experience was
like making an attempt to keep from falling asleep while being very tired.
Thoughts acquired the quality of dreams that carried me away. When I brought
this to his attention he told me to not worry about getting lost in thoughts.
said, “When you become aware your attention has strayed, just come back. Learn
to feel comfortable in the rhythm of going away and coming back. It is like
breathing.” – From Silence to Sound,
by Michael Kovitz, available through eladi-publications.com
I have been doing as you requested; I have been trying to watch my breathing
every morning for fifteen minutes.”
shall we go to the garden and sip tea and talk about your experiences?”
Grandfather, I was hoping you would say that.”
Once a day, preferably soon after waking up, sit for fifteen minutes —
actually time it — and watch your breath. Really watch it — sense it going in
and out — feel it in your body. That is all, just watch the breath.
every day it is different—and everyday it is more or less the same. I sit down
with the intention of watching my breath but then my thoughts come—like
dreams—my thoughts feel like dreams—and sometimes, most times, they just go on
and on for most of the fifteen minutes. The actual number of breaths I watch on
any given day could be very small. The thoughts just carry me away from my
dear, how does that make you feel?”
I feel foolish, because it’s like they suck me in—high thoughts, low
thoughts—thoughts about anything and everything—I constantly keep getting
is a story from the Arabian Nights: There were two brothers and a
sister. One day, the older brother heard an elder talking about a magic bird
who could grant the wishes—any wishes— of the one who possessed her. So the
elder brother set out to find her. He knew where she would be, but the path to
her was very difficult and thwarted with unimaginable difficulties. The final
difficulty was a valley called The Valley of the Talking Stones.
elder brother had to pass through the Valley of the Talking Stones to get to the
bird. As soon as the brother entered the valley the stones began to call out to
him. Some of their voices were frightening, some were seductive; some yelled,
and some whispered. The task was to get through the valley without listening to
any of the stones, because if, for even an instant, the brother paid attention
to any voice, he would be changed into a stone along the path.”
did he make it?”
he was distracted by a voice and became a stone. Now, the second brother came
to hear about his elder brother’s fate and decided that he too would try to
obtain the magic bird. But he inherited the same fate as his brother—entered
the valley, became distracted by the stones, and was transformed into a stone
the younger sister heard of her brothers’ fate and was very distressed. She
spoke to the elder who had originally told the story and learned that if
someone succeeds in passing through the valley and obtaining the bird, all of
the stones in the valley would be liberated and become human again. And more
than anything, because of her love for her brothers, she set out to win the
bird and liberate her brothers.”
she succeeded where her brothers had failed. When she entered the valley, she
kept her mind focused on her brothers—she kept her heart one-pointedly centered
in her love for them—and she made it through the valley, won the magic bird,
and her brothers and all the others stones were liberated.”
grandfather, how did she succeed where all the others had failed?”
my dear, that is the point; the others were motivated by their own selfish
desires, but the sister’s motivation was not for herself, but for her brothers.
She was motivated by love, and love alone prevails.”
in God, but tie your camel first.” – Old Persian
Grandfather, it is exactly like that; I am in The Valley of the Talking
Stones and I begin to listen to the voices and I get caught.”
dear, in the story, the one who succeeded was motivated by love, what motivates
you to continue this exercise?”
I ask myself that same question—I say to myself; ‘Okay, you have seen that you
can’t stop your thoughts and you can’t keep from getting involved in them, so
what more do you need to see?’”
there are a few answers—a few reasons—but the main one is that doing the
exercise keeps me in touch with the ‘truth’ of my existence.”
father used to say; ‘Blessed is he who sits in one chair and blessed is he who
sits in another, but much pain is there for the one who tries to sit between
don’t hurt.” – a line by Patrick Swayze in Road House
Grandfather, I do feel like I’m sitting between two chairs—not quite in this
world and not quite in the next.”
state is called Hawa—one who is permanently connected to the path,
yet not on it. Hawa is a sacred state. Thousands of lifetimes must be passed in
the human form before achieving Hawa, though by a Master’s grace it could be
achieved in the blink of an eye. Inshalla!”
come come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving—it does not
matter, ours is not a caravan of despair. Though you may have broken your vow a
thousand times, come, come yet again, come.” – Shams
e Tabriz (Rumi’s spiritual Master).
Grandfather, I love that couplet—especially the line, ‘ours is not a caravan
on the path of love there is no despair, but there is longing—longing to be
united with the Beloved—the longing of soul to know it Itself. All of the three
worlds that comprise the Nothing exist only to sustain the Everything.”
the Universe, the illusion that sustains the Reality.”–
dedication by Meher Baba to his book, God Speaks.
pray relieve our soul, give us Wine, for pity sake, pass round that bowl.
Path of Love, so smooth at first account,
soon we saw how trials came, perplexities did mount,
ho, pass round that bowl!” – Hafez
so dear Granddaughter, watching the breath is practiced with a different
motivation when one is traversing the path of love.”
dear, the path of love and the spiritual path are not the same. The spiritual
path refers to the higher planes of consciousness and implies that the
pilgrim’s journey through the planes is conscious. The spiritual path first
winds through the subtle world with its subtle planes, the consciousness of
which leads to escalating powers and blissful experiences. The path then passes
through the mental world and its mental planes, the consciousness of which
leads to the sight of God and the knowledge that God is everywhere and in
everything. Ultimately the spiritual path leads to the seventh plane, the plane
of God-Realization, the experience of I am God.”
the spiritual path does not sound so bad at all!”
my dear, the journey through the planes is an incredible journey, but it is
long and fraught with many dangers. The path of love is something quite different.”
is the path of love different?”
the path of love has its own kind of Hawa—different than the Hawa that
leads to the spiritual path. The Hawa of the path of love
precedes the direct connection to the Master. One begins to get attracted to a
Master, hears stories about the Master, reads what there is to be read, and
practices whatever practices can be found that have been suggested by the
Master. Eventually the aspirant begins to feel that he is beginning to know the
master and from this knowing love for the Master begins to grow and this love
becomes the link to Him.”
“Love is a gift from God to man.
Obedience is a gift from Master to man.
Surrender is a gift from man to Master.
One who loves desires the will of the
One who obeys does the will of the Beloved.
One who surrenders knows nothing but the will of the Beloved.
Love seeks union with the Beloved.
Obedience seeks the pleasure of the Beloved.
Surrender seeks nothing.
One who loves is the lover of the
One who obeys is the beloved of the Beloved.
One who surrenders has no existence other than the Beloved.
Greater than love is obedience.
Greater than obedience is surrender.
All three arise out of, and remain contained in, the Ocean of divine
you my dear, it seems that your path is the path of love connected to Meher
Baba and that is why you will soon be journeying to His Pilgrim Center in
Meherabad, India. You will be where He lived and did so much of His Universal
Work and, perhaps, most importantly you will have the opportunity to bow down
in His holy tomb.”
that will constitute my direct contact with Meher Baba?”
dear, I will tell you what I believe, but remember that this is only my belief.
Meher Baba was not a Perfect Master, Meher Baba was the Avatar—the Christ—the
Messiah—and His ways and His means are quite unfathomable. We speak of the path
of love, and Hawa, and direct and indirect contact, but the Avatar
is beyond all of that. His grace and His mercy, indeed, even His whim,
supersede all ways and means and time.
said that, I will tell you that I believe that direct contact is connected to
the physical presence of the Master and the Avatar. It is for this reason that
something Meher Baba said seems so very significant—so very important—to me.
Before January 31st, 1969, the day that Meher Baba dropped His
body—relinquished His physical form—He stated that for a period of one-hundred
years after the dropping of His body, He would remain accessible in the same
way He was before He dropped the body.
course, we are still in that one-hundred year period and what this means to me
is that a direct connection can be made with Meher Baba through a physical
connection that can be accomplished by being at His place of Pilgrimage where
His physical body is enshrined.”
his time has come, the prey finds the hunter.” –Old
so, dear Grandfather, if watching my breath is not meant to achieve the
experiences and powers of the higher planes of consciousness, then what again
is my motivation?”
Granddaughter, there are experiences along the path of love, but they are not
the experiences of the higher planes. Let me clarify more fully the distinction
between the spiritual path and the path of love.
K. Irani, one of Meher Baba’s close disciples, used to say that for those who
follow the spiritual path, it is like decorating the outside of a building. As
time goes by, new colors appear, new shapes, new windows, etc. These new things
give the appearance of change—the appearance of progress—but, the advancement
suggested by these changes is only advancement in illusory consciousness.
Remember, the planes of consciousness are still in illusion.
is different for the followers of the path of love, nothing seems to change
when looking at the outside of the building. Nothing new appears—the building
just starts looking older. In other words, the person seems to remain the same
as he was—no new powers, no experience of the higher planes—the only change is
that he starts to look older.
under the surface, where no one but a Master can see, there is much change.
This change is like termites. Termites demolish the structure from the inside
out, chewing away all the structure, all the support. This action goes on and
on until the right moment when with just one light touch from the finger of the
Master, the whole structure collapses.”
very, very slowly gets painted spiritually;
takes a very, very long time to vanish completely;
the man who has slept for ages (in ignorance)
awakened very, very gradually." --
Grandfather, the building, the structure; what is that?”
is the false self, the illusory self—the limited mind—which must go, which must
what remains is the real self, the eternal self?”
full consciousness minus limited false mind. And so, now returning to your
question, ‘why do you watch your breath?’ the answers lies in this—a very deep,
very significant truth, expressed by Meher Baba in His dedication to His
book, God Speaks, ‘To the Universe, the illusion that sustains
have read that Grandfather and think about it often.”
even one of the editors of God Speaks thought Baba got it wrong!
But look deeply into the statement; see it in the light of everything that
Meher Baba has said regarding the three states of God.”
asleep, God dreaming, God awake?”
since the dream of creation—God’s creation—God’s dream—is the means by which
God as embodied soul gains consciousness of Himself, illusion and Reality
become interdependent—they sustain each other. My dear, what are the three
roles God plays with respect to illusion?”
you mean God as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva?”
the very same that the Sufis call Afridgar, Parvardigar, and Fanakar—and in
English my dear?”
Creator, the Sustainer, and the Dissolver.”
and is it not so, that the Avatar, the Ancient One, the Messiah are all names
we give to the incarnation of God in the role of Vishnu—Parvardigar?”
when I was at Meher Baba’s Pilgrim Center, Eruch Jessawala, one of Meher Baba’s
closest followers, was commenting on a line from one of the Artis dedicated to
Meher Baba. The line was, ‘Creator, yet creation-less You are, Truth
and Truth’s body divine Avatar…’
was talking about the significance of Truth’s body—the body that Infinite,
Eternal, God takes on in order to bring to His creation a personal
representation of their creator and, by extension, their (real) selves.
reality—God—to descend into His creation without the covering of a finite
sentient body—without the covering of illusion—, that Infinite Eternal God
would absolutely destroy—annihilate—the illusion of creation.
so, the Ancient One appears to come and go, be here among us, encourage us to
love Him in the form of personal God, while warning us that He is not what we
see—that He is not the body that we love. Oh, what a game He plays with us; Oh,
what a game He plays with Himself. It is a game, yes, but it is His mercy, it
is His love for us. What it is that He said? ‘I Love you more than you can ever
when I woke up today I was so out of sorts. Everything mother said and did
irritated me. I found myself getting angry.”
so, when I sat down to practice the exercise of watching my breath, my mind
kept returning to the things mother said and did.”
did you do Granddaughter?”
stayed with the exercise and began to notice that when I was with my breath all
of my irritation immediately would go away. I was in a very clear and light
state—until my mind stole my attention again and then I would get irritated
I stayed with the exercise, going back and forth like a ping-pong ball; though
in the end I was able to stay with my breath more and when I finished the
exercise I found that my state was noticeably better. But the questions arose
in me; ‘Why do I keep letting my mind call me back to its heaven and hell? Why
am I not able to stay in the more lucid clear state?’”
Earlier we were talking about His game—our game—your game. One thing is for
sure, He wants us to choose Him over everything. Gurdjieff said that the most
difficult thing for a man to give up is his suffering. He will hold on to his
suffering above everything else.”
yes, as strange as it seems, yes—because man derives some strange satisfaction
from believing that his suffering serves some high purpose.”
and yes. When suffering is conscious it can serve a purpose, but when it is
unconscious, flowing from the thwarting of one’s desires, then it is totally
unnecessary. Meher Baba made the distinction by saying hot tears or cool
tears for self, cool tears for God?”
tears one way or the other?”
until the Final Fauna—union with God—is reached. Until then, there are tears
because there is suffering—suffering for self, or suffering for God.”
how does one suffer for God Grandfather?”
called it ‘Being Partkdolg Duty’.”
a funny word Grandfather, what does it mean?”
know my dear, the last time I was asked that question was in India in 1979 by
Adi K. Irani.”
Baba’s close follower?”
the very same. We were sitting in his little office in the Trust Compound
talking. In those days, many of Meher Baba’s Mandali were still alive and very
accessible. As for me, it was my first trip to India and my first pilgrimage to
Meher Baba’s tomb shrine. How I got there is another story, but there I was
sitting in Adi’s office talking to him about Meher Baba, though at the time, I
was still involved in what was called the Gurdjieff Work.
so happened that Adi asked me about Gurdjieff. He said, ‘Who is this man
Gurdjieff and what was his work?’ I answered him this way. ‘I’m sure if we
asked that same question about Meher Baba to a hundred followers we would
probably get a hundred different answers. And, no doubt, you would get a
hundred different answers from a hundred different followers of Gurdjieff were
you to ask them the same question about him.
the way I would answer your question is to say that Gurdjieff’s work with his
followers was to teach them Being Partkdolg Duty. Being Partkdolg Duty was a
term he used to suggest the ability to labor consciously and suffer
intentionally in order to help share the burden of our Common Father
Creator.’ Having said that, Adi immediately and forcefully replied
to me, ‘I like this man Gurdjieff, his work was the work of effacement.’”
Meher Baba was once asked about what yoga he taught. His reply was that his
yoga was the yoga of you go.”
so it always comes back to that, doesn’t it Grandfather?”
dear, it always comes back to that. The question is how? How can man jump over
his own knees?
saint is bound by a golden chain, the sinner by a spiked one, but the Goal is
to be free of all chains.” – Meher Baba
Upasani Maharaj once said, “All of you look like God to me. If,
however, you think you are like impure gold, then it has to be purified.” Is
there really any other way to see it then as a great divine enigma wrapped in
an irony? Without thought there can be no consciousness, yet, thought obscures
consciousness. Everything appears to be Nothing, but Nothing appears to be
Everything. Doing does not exist, yet we are prompted by mind to do, and for
the wrong doing which is never done, we are prompted to repent. What are we to
think? Meher Baba tells us it is all a mighty joke and yet the jest is on His
all, animate or inanimate—the whole creation is borne out of happiness—from
Bliss—and hence, to have higher stages of happiness that Bliss began to ascend
up in the evolutionary process from its original lower inanimate stages. The
creation thus originated from Bliss and has to return back ultimately to its
origin—the Bliss.” – Upasani Maharaj
so Grandfather, we all feel like we’re doing and feel that we need to do more,
and yet, there is nothing to do and nothing that can be done. But still, I wake
up every morning and my mind tells me there is much to do and my mind tells me
if I don’t do, there will be unfortunate consequences. I mean, that is what I
dear, what you say is true, that is how it is. We have to live the dream that
is ours acting as if it means everything while knowing that it is just
your talk stirs in me a memory of when I was very young and you took me to a
I remember it well too. It was a special Tibetan Buddhist ceremony called The
Black Hat Ceremony.”
was beautiful Grandfather. So many monks chanting, doing various thing, while
that man; What did you call him?”
while the Karmapa sat on a high platform watching it all, directing it all.”
Karmapa is a title, only the Karmapa has the authority to conduct the Black
Hat Ceremony. He was the only man on the planet who held that title. Do you
remember that the ceremony was for the transmission of the attribute of divine
do, and I remember too that I felt a little disappointed when we left because I
didn’t feel any more compassionate.”
Baba said that the greatest gift is given by one who does not realize that he
is giving and received by one who does not realize he is receiving. Seeds are
planted, they disappear into the earth, they sprout at some fixed time
corresponding to their destiny, and only then do they, as seedlings, break the
surface of the earth and become visible to us. Seeds were planted in you my dear,
seeds were planted. Meher Baba also said, ‘Things that are real are
given and received in silence.’”
sincerely hope so grandfather, in my mind, I feel that compassion and love are
very much the same—that compassion springs forth from love and that love gives
rise to compassion. I remember something else about that time when we viewed
the Black Hat Ceremony—something that has stayed with me ever
was that dear?”
was watching the Karmapa and I noticed that he was attentive to everything that
was going on. When necessary he gave a direction, said something, did
something, but at the same time he appeared to be unattached to what was going
on and what he was doing. He expressed such grace in his movements and actions,
yet did not seem at all like he was posturing or posing. He laughed, sometimes
he scratched, once I even saw him pick his nose.”
what did you take away from this experience?”
I felt that I was being given a gift in the form of a living example of how I
could lead my life. To be attentive is not such a great thing. People are often
seen to be attentive, but only when they are attached to something. When there
is no attachment there is a kind of sloppiness. But, to be attentive and not
attached at the same time, that is very rare. It seemed to me to be a special
do you think can motivate attention without attachment?”
that is the question Grandfather, I have come to believe that it is compassion
that springs from love. It was the Karmapa’s compassion for all life that
motivated his attentiveness.”
see the bird fly – I am the enjoyer of that,
hear her song – I am the enjoyer of that.
see the rain fall –I am the enjoyer of that,
feel it’s warmth and wetness upon my skin – I am the enjoyer of that.
am the enjoyer, I am the eater, I am the experiencer.
is joy—everything eats everything—everything enjoys everything—
enjoy, but am I enjoyed?
can the enjoyer be the enjoyed?
yourself to the Master,
the Master eat you for His enjoyment,
in His enjoyment you will experience the ultimate enjoyment—the bliss—
bliss of the Infinite Bliss.” The
Enjoyer – Michael Kovitz
when we first came to the garden it was to speak about my experiences of the
technique of watching my breath. This has been very helpful and I have, as
always, thoroughly enjoyed your many stories. Now, it occurs to me to ask you
about your own experiences of watching your breath, particularly, the question
of why you do it.”
dear, you are wise beyond your years and you intuitively find your way to the
heart of the matter. I am happy to answer any of your questions and hope my
answer satisfies you. Granddaughter, the simple answer is that I have no idea
at all why I continue to practice the exercise of watching my breath. I cannot
say that the practice is not enjoyable to me, but neither can I say that the
enjoyment of the practice is why I continue to do it.
dear, I have, over time, begun to perceive myself as being in a rather strange
state, for this not-knowing why I continue to practice the exercise of watching
my breath is quite consistent with almost everything else I do, or not do, in
my life. I really don’t know why I do, or don’t do, any of it. I used to know, I
used to think I knew, but now I don’t—and I don’t even want to know, or even
entertain the question. It’s like I wander around in a dream, aware, but not
quite aware of myself, until someone asks me who I am and then I look at myself
and think; ‘ What should I tell him?’ and then some answer comes out.
dear, see how beautiful this garden is, see how beautiful you are, I am not
blind to beauty—to beauty, to favor, to privilege, but also I remain aware that
it is all transitory, all passing, and that love alone prevails. Yes, love is
K. Irani used to say, ‘A kiss and a kick from Meher Baba are one and the
same—still, I prefer the kiss.’ Adi’s very honest statement reveals his state
of being conscious of illusion, adrift in the sea of illusion, affected by the
heavens and hells of illusion, yet, also maintaining the conviction inherent in
the association with reality—with Meher Baba—the conviction that life as we
live it is illusion and that reality which we do not experience is the only reality.
is the link between reality in reality and reality in illusion. What we do,
what we think we are doing is not important, but doing it with love, or at
least realizing that love is there, that love alone prevails, awakens us to the
foolishness of making distinctions between illusory things and placing
importance on those distinctions. From the perspective of reality, why make
distinctions between the beggar and the king when they are both illusory states
of consciousness? The same goes for all dualities; smart and stupid, beautiful
and ugly, black and white, female and male—if God makes no distinctions, then
why should I?
so many seekers, so many pilgrims, make it out to be so difficult, so
complicated, when it is not complicated at all. Why do we make it complicated?
For the sake of the mind, for the mind thrives on complications and fears
simplicity, because with simplicity the mind is out of a job.”
“How simple is that
Grandfather—nothing to figure out, nothing to change, nothing to do accept to
do what comes to you with love.”
said, ‘Leave all and follow me.’ What did that mean?
(Stevens) replied, ‘I assume it means literally to leave everything and follow
Christ within yourself.’ Then Baba continued:
the meaning behind it was not to leave all these things; not to renounce the
world, it was to obey. Leave all thoughts, your selfish thoughts,
and simply obey me. Then, you are liberated, you are free. But if you cannot,
then more and more bindings are created, for every action creates a binding.
are very old, Don, ages old! And you are bound. And you will be bound and you
will go on getting bound age after age. Age after age, the same bindings will
be created, you'll try to free yourself and in so doing, get re-bound. But once
you are liberated completely, then you will realize that there was no binding
at all. It was just imagination – a dream; you were seeing and experiencing
only a dream.
of you here are very old – ancient ones. All are God, God is within each one,
and God is not bound by time: He is eternal. You are all eternal. Now you are
bound. You feel you are bound and you continue to get bound; but there will be
a time when every individual gets freed, gets liberated. Then that individual
realizes that all his bindings were just in a dream – he was seeing a dream.
took upon himself the sufferings of others. Why? To liberate humanity. And the
bindings are still there. Mankind is still bound. Yet, liberation does not
require time. You are bound for ages, but when you get liberated, it is
instantaneous – it comes in a flash!
think of it. God is within all, in everyone, and He is infinite. God is
all-powerful, God is all-bliss. And yet, though God is in each one, how
helpless we feel! We weep, we feel pain, we feel sorrow, although God, who is
so infinitely powerful and blissful, is there! Why? It is because of our own
bindings. But there is one way to get liberated from these bindings, and that
is through love.’”– Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri,
Vol. 14, p. 5019.
Labels: Adi K Irani, Arabian Nights, Being Partkdolg Duty, Eruch Jessawala, Gurdjieff, Hafez, Kabir, Love, Meher Baba, Michael Kovitz, Parvardigar, Road House, Rumi, Shams-e-Tabriz, Sufi, Upasni Maharaj