don’t worry, be happy

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.

Western culture is familiar with this title of a Bobby McFerrin song from 1988.  George H.W. Bush used it without authorization in his 1988 presidential campaign prompting McFerrin (a Democrat)  to publicly protest the use of his intellectual property and further distanced himself from Bush by dropping the song from his performance repertoire.  Later rumors circulated that McFerrin had committed suicide.  Born in 1950, he continues today as a prominent figure in the world of jazz.

Lesser known is Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual master, 1894 to 1969, who taught that “the Universe is imagination, that God is what really exists, and that each soul is really God passing through imagination to realize His own divinity.” His spiritual transformation began at age 19 and lasted seven years until early 1922.  From 1925 to his death in 1969, he maintained silence communicating only by an alphabet board and unique hand signals.

Meher Baba’s most noted quote is, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

I find his spiritual insights easier to swallow that many other of today’s religious theologies, but I especially appreciate “don’t worry, be happy.”  Even Christian scripture exhorts me to this same practice.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own.  There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.”  Matthew 6:34

This chapter of Matthew 6 describes how the lilies are beautifully clothed and the birds of the air are fed without any concern for tomorrow.

“Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?”  Matthew 6:27

The verses do not promise trouble-free days, but they do advise me that to worry about those difficult days will accomplish nothing.  Modern Christianity with its promise of worldly prosperity and eternal good feelings is a setup for a major spiritual crisis when those promises do not materialize and I am left holding a bag of remorse and guilt for being immensely deficient in my faith.  I refuse to go there anymore.

Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Life is designed to follow the footsteps of  the One we name as Lord and Master, that same One who directed his followers to not worry about the incidentals of living, but rather to attend to the eternal values of life.

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