Painting - Max Reif's devotional excerptsThe Mindful Word’s Max Reif recently released a book filled with poems and short prose pieces devoted to Meher Baba, the modern-day spiritual guide who lived between 1894 and 1969. The title of the  book, Journey From here to HERE, was taken from Baba himself.

Reif  first heard of Meher Baba when his friend read him Baba’s obituary from the newspaper in 1969. He didn’t think of him again until 1971 when he went to visit another friend at work and saw a poster of  Baba as a young adult on his friend’s wall. He asked his friend a few questions about the man and as his friend answered, Reif felt like he was getting lighter and when he glanced at his friend’s smile, he suddenly felt divine love around him. The love somehow felt pink to him, which is why the colour pink is mentioned so often throughout his book. It was after that powerful experience that Reif realized that Baba actually was a divinity, and he has worshipped him to this day. The following three poems, plus the two prose pieces included below have been excerpted from the book.

The Search

Every morning when I wake up
I wonder when I’ll really wake up.
It’s been years now and still no sign
of really dying and being born,
and like a pilgrim in the desert
I keep plodding on
looking for the only non-mirage there is,
the city called Love.

And how do I know this city exists?
In answer, my mind takes me back
to a small room long ago
and the broad smile of a friend
as he told me God is Love
and Who God is.

And as he spoke
and then stopped speaking,
his smile went on and on
and the room filled with a Presence,
and Time and Space collapsed
completely into Love
into which we both disappeared
yet remained.

And the Sun rose in its Glory,
and bathed me with its Light,
and fed me with its Honey
and Blessed me with its Sight,
and in the folds within my “robe”
for a moment I knew Truth,
as told of since the ancient days,
and I’d found Eternal Youth.

And my friends,
when I left that room
I sang a different song
and searched a different search,

for nothing I’d known before
could matter very much
once Time and Space
had given way to Love
like the thinnest membrane
parting to reveal
the vastest universe inside.

And I saw that what I’d known
had never been very real
but only stood to mark time
as we wind our way
to that Love
uniting all.

 

The Stars

The stars that were over my head this morning
were there from the First Day,
those stars I hid crook-necked from in cities
while travelling my wayward way.

Slowly, then faster, I began to see,
eyes blinded at first by neon and streetlamps
and the stars’ nights’ closeness only speaking
in a few forays into the midnights between cities,
bedazzling my eyes to see the jewels
darkness was strung with!

And always I wanted to stop and enjoy and stare
and pray,
but a motor inside me was going too fast
and in vans or cars
I sped back to cities
to undo my mind’s
tightly wound springs.

Then in a dozen years
I came out under the stars
and behold! The canopy of Heaven
was still there,
and I murmured and prayed in valleys
like green cups for my love, and It said,

“You were too busy before,
but we have always been here,
and we always shall be.”
That which I was too busy to love
patiently waited for me.

Now I have finished my business
and am free to love,
and the morning star’s Song
has come to me with a joy
that had always been concealed
within my breast,

and the Heavens have exploded
into singing
and the weeping
of the morning dew.

 

The Lover, a Rare Bird 

The lover’s a rare bird
who imbibes only nectar,
in fact only the nectar of Love,
for which there’s a single Source.

Its song is so sweet,
fed by this rare substance,
that millions of angels lean near
to hear the sounds sublime.

The lover’s happy in its cage,
warbling away days and nights
as it swings upon a perch
there in that prison of gold.

Once in awhile, though, it’s said,
the One who brings the nectar
stops coming. The lover mourns.
His cage bars might as well be of lead.

Is the Source of Love’s nectar
practicing a cruel kindness,
knowing that only such suffering
will sweeten the song still more?

And when the supply is renewed
the song-joy in angels’ hearts
will be ever more intense?
Ah, this is what I’ve heard.

 

The Factory

I was transported in a dream to where my Beloved
manufactures everything in Creation. I found Him
there in His Factory. The assembly line was
cranking out all manner of objects, of all shapes and
sizes, and He was mirthfully watching.

He saw me and beamed. Pointing to the assembly
line, he silently gave me to understand: “All these
containers I am filling with the very same
Substance!”

And I looked, and saw a pink, laughing substance
being poured into each one. Now and again He
would pick something off the assembly line and
hold it up to examine. Having done so, He would
appear very, very pleased. I continued to watch as
houses, trees, cows, human beings, and every
manner of object, animate and “inanimate,” rolled
off the line.

I woke in the morning still feeling enormous
delight. On some level I felt I’d actually visited that
secret Place where the Beloved makes all that my
eyes behold.

 

Suddenly

Suddenly after the year’s flat-line of living death and
then the slow climb of steady, substantial recovery, a
period lasting roughly a couple months, I felt something
moving inside again.

The Spirit was back! The Bird that had flown its nest,
leaving me dead although technically alive, leaving me
utterly without Wings—which allowed my life to be
entirely predictable—I could feel it again! A magnificent
Aliveness was moving in me, the mighty force that can’t
be suppressed! That which I’d thought was gone was
back!

But as before, it was not a manageable Force! It was not
a Reasonable Force, or a Compromising Force! It was
like a great Roc, a great Eagle, a Phoenix within me,
which demanded its Own Way! It exercised its great
Wings, it lifted off with its enormous Power, and I
simply had to either say yes and make it my will to go
along, or—totally unthinkable—say no to, well, to the
Life-Force itself!

I was well enough to know the difference, to know you
did not say no to this Force!

And so I followed, and to my family who had lovingly
cared for me as I lay in my dead-bed, I would no doubt
seem “unstable” again, and to my doctor, well, I never
would have been able to explain to him. The Cautious
Approach had been all right for awhile, during the slow
climb, all right until the Great Bird, the Spirit showed
up, was breathing and needing and moving in me again!

Until then I had been a humble little mound. I asked
everyone, everyone’s advice before making any
decision, I had few or no ideas of my own, little or no
energy, and I would “work with” anyone.

Now, who could “work with” the Great Voice, the great,
screaming, Silent Voice and the Great Wings that
accompanied it, the power and the Inspiration? The
unlimited had alighted, had roosted in me, and I could
not and would not be able to listen to limitation’s voice
any longer. It did not have the credentials of being
REAL!

And so, suddenly, I was living dangerously again!
Suddenly, I was following something inside me once
more, across the table-top of this plane of reality, this
world.

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