By Renate Moritz
My friend Yolanda Koumidou from New York and I worked as volunteer caretakers at Meher Mount this year in January and February 2017 for 10 days. It was a most colorful experience.
I live in London, and my contact to Avatar Meher Baba happened in a Don Stevens’ study group in Europe 30 years ago. Don was the author of a number of books about Meher Baba, including Listen Humanity. At Meher Baba's request, he was one of the editors of God Speaks and Discourses by Meher Baba.
I knew of Meher Mount from Yolanda's poem “Under Baba’s Tree” and of moments inspired by what she found at Amartithi 2016. I became curious and accepted the invitation to join her.
My own travels have taken me to places Meher Baba visited in France, Italy and Spain. I also have visited Avatar’s Abode in Australia; Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC; and Meher Baba’s Tomb Shrine in Meherabad, India.
NOW FOR THE FIRST TIME, I VISIT MEHER MOUNT
Now for the first time, I visit Meher Mount in Ojai, CA. I adore it. Always loaded with spiritual expectations, we get stripped there. All what one might envisage of a spiritual center was not there: no discourses, no meditation sessions, no designated prayer spots, no singing.
What I found was a gigantic space, breathing, moving and changing, outside human grasp and habit patterns. Colors I never knew, made of light and air, mingling and transforming the earth with its mountains, valleys, and ocean into layers of incomparable depths, expressing a breathtaking beauty.
I stood looking at this heaven’s huge landscape, witnessing moments – which would never repeat themselves – and inadvertently entering a form of meditation.
With real helplessness to grasp such a dimension, there was one thing left for me, deep adoration. Adoration seems to move the “I, me, mine” aside and allows the soul to reach out in silence, recognizing and rejoicing in the wondrous.
Other times, the realization that we would never see this again produced a frenzy of photographing, to fix these moments so they could be repeated, looked at, sent to friends and, strangely, also to be owned. All a most bewildering fallacy of course.
IS THIS THE PRICE TO BE BABA’S TREE?
I went to Meher Baba's Tree. Somebody called it a “cathedral tree.” I experienced it also like that, as an architecture, but in the center I found an amazing drama. The tree's grandeur is connected with the grandeur of a wound which opened the entire trunk.
The fire long ago burnt out this inner part, showing us its ferocity and letting us see this hidden space. I observed the tree's will to survive, noticing the folds of the outer bark layers moving inwards to one day close the wound. I am told about its history; it is Baba's Tree. Is this the price to be Baba's Tree? Ongoing ponderings...
THE SILENCE HAS A UNIQUE SOUND
Being alone up there I instantly felt the silence, which has a unique sound, surrounding us day and night. To some this is unbearable, as life is so crowded with noise. In all this stillness, visitors come to see and to be on the Mount.
At times, there is the music of the wind chimes, I am told.
THE STORIES JUST UNFOLD
When Buzz and Ginger Glasky, [the resident Manager/Caretakers] are at home, there is time to tell stories. And the stories just unfold. Comical ones, moving ones, memorable ones.
The compassion with visitors’ idiosyncrasies is palpable in Buzz's stories together with a wonderful sense of humor and patience with people’s ego expectations. Many phone calls in their absence illustrate how much visitors relate to both companions, wanting to be sure that they will be there during their next visit.
GRATEFUL TO BE THERE
Yolanda and I had time to work together on this Mount regarding a book project that has been developing over some time. The luxury to focus on this work within the Mount’s own concentration and stillness made this time a unique period of collaboration and insight.
I feel hugely grateful, that I could be there and also so happy that Meher Mount has been guarded to remain, as it was meant to be.