Friday, January 07, 2005

Don’t Worry

There’s a guy works in my building who is, I swear, the spit and image of a young Meher Baba. The wild locks, the big, beneficent ‘tache. I’ve seen this man in the halls (it’s a large building) but have never spoken to him: But somehow it makes me glad to know he’s here—glad that his presence makes me think, even fleetingly, about the Avatar, and about Reality and the immanence of God.

Once, many years ago, I attended a Coptic Orthodox Mass, and what got to me was the way that even the tiny details are prescribed—like how you hold your hand when you make the Sign of the Cross: ring and pinky fingers tucked into the palm—two fingers representing Jesus's dual nature, fully human and fully divine—middle, index, and thumb touching at the tips to represent the Holy Trinity.

A small thing. But it has stayed with me, and it's how I make the Sign of the Cross today. And every time I throw this shape with my hand, every time I make this gesture, it prompts in me a conscious mini-meditation—lasting no more than a second—on the nature of the Christ and the Trinity.

That’s mindfulness, basically. And it’s not a huge, exalted thing available only to Ascended Masters. It's a humble, everyday sort of spiritual tool. And one, I think, with immense value.

Pete Townshend, who is or was a follower of Meher Baba, has long contended that his most misunderstood song is, on the surface, one of his simplest: “Let My Love Open the Door” (which Pete himself calls a “ditty”) is best understood, he says, not as a boy-meets-girl love song but as a song of God’s dogged, unshakable, all-giving love for Humanity. And, y’know, I read that in the interview, and I knew it intellectually.

But I never felt it in my guts until I heard the slow, spacey remix of the song on the soundtrack to the film Grosse Pointe Blank. A remix is a small thing: strip away the drums and guitars, strip away the hooks, leave the voice keening across a bed of synthesized arpeggios, somehow soothing in their perpetual motion.

A small thing. And in my listening something broke inside me and in a very visceral way I got it. Now whenever I hear it I can’t stop crying. That’s what it feels like.

Be happy.

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