a sort of linguistic "mindfulness quest" with Meher Baba

Wrestling with God in the Desert of the Mind

The Old Testament Bible tells how in the desert Jacob wrestled with a man through the night, and when morning came, said, to the man, “I won’t let you go until you Bless me!” Finally, the man did, and from the Blessing it appears that he was either an angel or God Himself.

Last night I felt I too wrestled with God, in a way. Here’s how it happened:

I’d had a hard day at work, and was exhausted. I went to bed at 10 pm, slept 4 hours and woke up still feeling burned out, enough that I could not access my heart, only my mind. I began to take Baba’s Name, but after awhile, when my state didn’t improve, I decided to start trying something new. Call it a hunch, call it an intuition: Baba likes “bold experiments!”


I had started by reciting three sentences Baba has given us in His Message, “BABA’S WISH” that I often repeat to myself: “All this is Baba’s.  Baba has placed me in this situation. Baba is doing this through me.”

When repeating this “formula” several times left me still feeling quite separate, I began to think that I needed a new approach. I began to experiment with finding new ways of saying the same things.

My  quest was to actually describe what I was experiencing, as I experienced it! This, I thought, might really bring me fully into the present!

I no longer remember the words of my first flailing attempts at this. I just took stabs in the dark, using different synonyms each time. After awhile, I started using the word  “Oneness” as a synonym for “Baba”. I liked the feel of that word. It is an essence of what Baba really is.  

I was bolstered in my effort by remembering a story Charles Haynes has told about his first face-to-face meeting with Beloved Baba. As Charles entered the room and saw Baba there alone, he found himself thinking, “Yes, this is Meher Baba, whom my mother and my “Auntie Boo” (the Haynes children’s name for Elizabeth Patterson) have told me about. And yes, He is God. But…His name is not really ‘Meher Baba’. He is really The Nameless One.”

To describe my still-separate state, I created this conscious thought:

“Oneness is experiencing itself as separateness.”

This sentence felt like something of a creative triumph. I felt it came close to telling the truth! It  succeeded in verbally clarifying the utter paradox of what I was actually experiencing. That brought a certain amount of relief!

If God alone exists, as Baba tells us, and we take that literally, then any experience besides the Union, the Oneness that God is, would be impossible! Except that God is also Unlimited and Omnipotent, and can, being God, cause Himself to experience anythingeven the “impossible”!

I was used to thinking of “little me” as somewhere in the outlying backwaters of Existence. But during my night of this wrestling match, I came to realize that my own consciousness is always a front-row seat on God! As Meister Eckhart famously said centuries ago,

“God is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

If I feel separate, I realized, that is itself, in a way, a miracle! The One who in Reality I too am, is experiencing Himself as two! That is really the only way suffering can arise! Oneness as Oneness cannot suffer, so far as I’m aware.

I’m dimly aware that philosophers have gone very deep via their meditations on language. Wittgenstein, a 20th century German philosopher, concluded, I believe, that Silence is the ultimate answer to the riddle of Existence.

I found, in my night of unrest, that my radical quest for words that expressed the real truth of my experience did relieve my mental suffering, enough for me to sleep.

In the morning I looked up that story of Jacob wrestling with God. You can say it was “just” my own mind I was dealing with, but if only God exists, then really, the mind itself is like a koan in which God is hidden! I felt I truly had engaged in a struggle related enough to feel Jacob in the Old Testament as a brother.

September, 2020 

photo credit: http://www.reunionmovement.com/blog/2018/02/02/discussion-guide-genesis-32/