Do you ever wonder why some business transactions work like a charm, and others fail miserably? Have you been in relationships that brought you immense joy, while others left you cold? Is there any science or logic to why some lives succeed gloriously and others seem to tank?
I found my answer at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Meher Baba was an illumined sage who lived in India during the first half of the twentieth century. At a young age Baba proclaimed himself to be fully God-realized, and he devoted the rest of his life to teaching principles of divine love. He popularized the phrase, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” (To learn more about Meher Baba’s life and teachings, visit www.avatarmeherbaba.org.)
Baba’s center is a teaching in itself, 500 pristine meditative acres surrounded by a noisy resort town with more tiki-wielding miniature golf courses per capita than any other place on earth. The moment I entered the retreat grounds I felt a deep tranquility, as if I was stepping into another dimension. I was. Go there if you want to feel peace. (Better yet, just go to peace.)
How the center came about is as inspiring as the place itself: In 1941 Baba (who then lived in India) dispatched two devotees to find an appropriate site for his center in the west. Baba gave his scouts five conditions for the place: (1) It had to have a pleasant climate; (2) virgin soil; (3) ample fresh water; (4) and land that could be self-sustaining to a large number of people. The fifth condition, which I consider the most significant, was: (5) the property had to be given with love.
Before long a benefactor graciously donated the Myrtle Beach property, where it continues to refresh the souls of many sojourners. My few days there were an oasis amidst a blur of travels.
Even now I continue to discover deeper meanings of the fifth condition. It has inspired me to revisit all of my business and personal transactions, and consider if love is a factor in the exchange. How much have I tried to influence someone to do something they would not love to do; buy something their heart did not call them to purchase; or agree with some idea they really didn’t resonate with? Ultimately none of these transactions succeeded, for they failed to meet the fifth condition: given with love.
Is there anything in your life that you are giving without love? Are you going to a job you hate? Sleeping with someone you don’t feel connected to? Participating in a diet you detest? Attending a church or spiritual group that leaves you feeling empty? Are you doing anything at all that proceeds from fear, obligation, owingness, guilt, resentment, or boredom?
If so, consider applying Meher Baba’s fifth condition, dropping any transaction or interaction that does not include the element of love. If you can, you will be amazed at how your life reconfigures. You may even get all the things that anxious manipulation could not achieve. Even more important, you may find peace.
Next, consider if you are exerting any effort or strain to get someone else to do something they would not love to do. Are you fighting with your ex- over alimony or child care? Or struggling to breathe life into a relationship with someone who is not really there? Do you need to convince someone to agree with or adopt your political or religious persuasion? Why would you ever want anyone to do anything they did not choose to do of their own joyful free will? Are you really that desperate, and do you not believe that the universe has the resources to supply you with everything you need, and is happy to do so?
True motivation proceeds from inspiration, and real success issues from delight, not force. Unless you act from the inside out, you will have to return to the choice point at which you left your heart behind, and make a new choice that includes it. So tell the truth now and beat the rush later.
“But if everyone just followed their bliss,” someone once asked me, “what kind of world would this be?”
It did not take me long to answer: “A very blissful world.”
It is difficult for the fearful or critical mind to comprehend a joy-based economy. Simplicity is a challenging concept for twisted minds. It has been said that “the truth is simple. If it were complicated, everyone would understand it.” Yet the simplicity of acting out of love rather than force may be the answer the world sorely needs. Simplicity is the flower that brings the intellect to its knees, as the power of giving with joy is apparent only to innocent hearts.
So the next time you make a deal or have a relationship or do anything, apply Baba’s fifth condition. You may suddenly find yourself amidst tranquil acreage in a world that is scurrying about looking for peace everywhere but where it lives.
By Alan Cohen