All my years with Baba taught me how to live. Baba was a great model for life. When I say this I do not mean that he showed me I should wear orange robes if it is not my dharma. I do not mean that he showed me that I should live in an ashram if it is not my dharma. I do not mean that he showed me that I should be a Hindu if it is not my dharma. Instead, Baba modeled that each of us has a part to play and we should play that part fully. He modeled that we are not to be identified with the part we play; we should be detached and free. He modeled that we are to uncover our Self; we are to reveal who we truly are and be that Truth.
Baba modeled by being true to himself. He knew who he was and who he was not. He was identified with the Self because that was who he was and is. All his action came from there. Baba’s every action shined a light. Whatever he did revealed the Truth of the moment. What did Baba do? He sat, spoke, walked, ate, played, worked, chanted, emoted, mediated, read. And through each and every action the light of Grace shone.
For me, if I cannot be awake in the mundane actions of life, how can I be awake to contribute to the greater good? Most of us are blessed with a life conducive to practice. In other words, we are not bombarded with the frantic life of someone in the public eye or with the horrific pain of living in a war-torn environment. We do and will have challenges, but if we allow for the light to shine on them we can see that they are there for us to grow closer to God. Yes, all experiences provide that opportunity, but some are easier than others.
If we as a whole are maintaining balance, then the swings of pain and pleasure within the world are small. When we are off balance, then pain is great for some and pleasure great for others. When we, as individuals, are off balance, we can alternate between pleasure and pain. Our separateness becomes more pronounced and concealment rather than revelation becomes the goal. Darkness becomes more prevalent, and the qualities of greed, anger and delusion influence our actions. We remain outward turned, and refuse to reflect because we say it is too painful. And yet we do not acknowledge the pain we are swimming in daily.
Baba knew what I needed; he handed me a stick and told me not to be afraid to hit someone. Baba knew how attached to the martial I was. By giving me permission to be just that, he freed me to embrace it consciously and ultimately to still my investment in the fight and be free from that attachment. Baba modeled acceptance, which then allowed the light of consciousness to reveal the truth about the part I am to play.
In class we are now reading “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. For me, this approach is so familiar and comforting; a way to assess the world around us clearly and to proceed in our action effectively. Baba was a monk who understood All. Because of this understanding, he was able to model an appropriate approach for each of us. By allowing me to be a fighter Baba made me into a Lover.
Our world is presently out of balance. We cannot simply decide to be peaceful, because that unbalance informs everything, including our approach to peace. If we each approach the imbalance in our lives with honesty, inwardly turned and recognizing that we are all contributors to this imbalance, then we can take the first steps towards disentangling and finding real balance and acceptance. We can learn, as Baba modeled, to still our narrative so as to reveal our true nature, which has never left. We will then act from the true Self and will right the imbalance within and without. Thank you, Baba, for modeling for us all.
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