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Letters to the Editor: Nov. 14, 2007
Tuesday, 13 November 2007 10:25

ëDonít Worry, Be Happyí termed
silly slogan, but be happy anyway

I never cared for the phrase ìDonít Worry, Be Happy.î

You (John North) made a good argument against it (in a column headlined ìëDonít worry, be happyí ó OK, if you prefer tyrannyî in the Oct. 24 edition of the Daily Planet.)

Iíve been a Meher Baba devotee for more than 30 years.

You wrote a good article. I appreciate it.

But you donít get off entirely scot-free.

You might look deeper into the psychology of the phrase, and, of course, youíve read Peter Nordeenís response.

There was one follower of Babaís who actually tried very hard not to worry, to be happy. He found it a difficult path. I canít do it. He was Meherji Karkarian, a Parsi businessman who visited the U.S. in the 1970s and ë80s.

I have about 1,200 ordinary pages of Baba quotes on this computer.

Hereís one:

ìLearn the art of taking your stand on the Truth within. When you live in this Truth, the result is the fusion of the mind and heart and the end of all fears and sorrow ... a love which is illuminated by the intuitive wisdom of the spirit will bless your life with ever-renewing fulfillment and never-ending sweetness.î

Hope you get a raft of responses to your article. Youíll love them.

Best to you. Hey, Be Happy!!!!!

San Leandro, Calif.


EDITORS NOTE: The following was appended to Leetís letter: ìLove is its own excuse for being.î ó Meher Baba

Meher Babaís intent? Planet column
said to miss the mark by 1,000 yards

I read your (John Northís) recent article about ìDonít Worry, Be Happyî with sad amusement.
Sad because I feel your understanding of Meher Babaís intent missed the mark by a thousand yards.

Amused because I can imagine taking it all at face value and visualizing grinning zombies wandering the earth with bumper stickers plastered to their heads.

As a follower of Meher Baba for over 30 years, I have had the privilege of meeting many of his close disciples. No finer bunch of people have I ever met.

Early among those drawn to the truth he brought through the very example of his life was Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi first met Meher Baba in 1931 on the S.S. Rajputana en route to Europe. They stayed in contact up to Gandhiís murder in 1948.

Gandhi was no ninny. He was certainly no self-involved slacker. If anything, his relationship with Baba gave him courage to pursue a most courageous course, standing up to tyranny as we do today.

Iím no Gandhi, but Iíve been on the front lines with Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney and others in recent weeks making our voices heard. I find the directive to not worry and be happy difficult. However, I take it seriously and do my best.

As a political cartoonist. humor is one of my main tools in pointing out the hypocrisy of the day. Knowing Meher Baba has my back, in a sense, helps me stay sane and not give in to constant worry and misery, which the daily headlines readily promote.

On the wall of my studio is a photo of Meher Baba containing the quote, ìReal happiness lies in making others happy.î

I do my best. I draw my cartoons, I teach kids at the Charles Schulz Museum, but I do worry and get depressed. Fortunately Baba is there to remind me of a higher truth. As a result, I bounce back faster and get back to work. Tyranny loves self-involved zombies. I have no ambition to be one.

Rohnert Park, Calif.

Being happy idea called a struggle
ó and not a negation of struggle

... (sic) And people without knowledge of Him (Meher Baba) interpret this wrongly, I think.

They read, ìTake it easy, be cool, youíre not supposed to struggle. Just ignore what is troubling you and stay amused somehow.î But thatís not it at all, really. A better interpretation would be something like this:

The practice to which we are called is to choose happiness; to deliberately and intelligently, even bravely, through an act of internal will, exercise the innate power of our spirit to return, right now and in every moment to a state of complete sufficiency ... already happy ... even when confronted with every apparent reason why we should retract from that happiness into doubt and self-concern. It is to stand free, in the midst of all the misery in the world, by the conscious action of simply turning our thoughts to God; by remembering our inherent being in God. This remembrance is possible through having the God-Man to relate to.

We should always do this, but especially when negative experiences arise. We should remember at those times that which is cause for celebration: our knowing that God actually exists and that He has begun, somehow, to awaken us to His Reality. We must establish this practice of remembrance and, from this state, begin to function as happiness.

Not that we should close our eyes to what is difficult or disturbing in life. If anything, we are more present, more aware of suffering. But beneath it all we are rooted in joy, buoyed up from within by our very existence as conscious Spirit, confident that all our (real) needs will be met. We are not upset by factors that we cannot change or control or have; not fearful of what might happen next; not dependent on any particular response from life to make us feel OK. And thus we look with a full heart at others around us and consider how we might serve as an instrument of this awakening, so that it might become a little more accessible to everyone.

This then is the practice, the choice. It is a struggle, not a negation of struggle. It is the very struggle that leads to the Goal. Moreover, we find that to do any less than this when facing the crush of events and circumstances is to allow worry to choose us, so to speak. And it will! It will catch us up in endless complications, maintaining its control over us by a kind of mental inertia until at last we realize that the problems are never solved. Circumstances will never be made perfect. Life will never be all fixed up.

Rather, then, we choose happiness in each moment ... NOW! ... and by this practice gradually build ourselves a new life, right here, in this happy place that outshines the old and dissolves the illusion of separation perfectly. It is a process of conscious choice and remembrance. And if death intervenes before the process is complete ... so what?!

Prague, Okla.



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