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.



Golden Years

smiley-face-2Just 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.


Living in the “golden years”  is not what the 30 year-old version of me envisioned in 1977.  I blame no one other than me for the money I blew on shiny new cars, the time I wasted sitting on a bar stool, and the relationships I trashed in pursuit of good times.  Forty years ago I had the rest of my life to create a retirement stash, to find that perfect profession, and to settle down with a compatible mate.  So much for dreaming the dream because that’s all it was.  Just a pipe dream with no foundation.

Through the grace of sustained sobriety I have reconciled all of that and no longer beat myself up over missed opportunities.  Hopefully, I have gained a wealth of wisdom and acceptance in building a foundation.  But, the fact remains that these “golden years” are a day-to-day struggle and a challenge to survive on minimal financial resources.

Thank God the spiritual resources have kicked in to give me unbounding faith in God’s goodness and provision.  In retrospect I know for a fact that every one of my needs has always been fulfilled and most of my wants have also.  But, this old man standing by the sea of life watching the trappings of affluence and properity pass by is a daily reminder that somehow I have missed the worldly boat.  That gives me a choice: 1) I can stand on the dock patiently waiting for my ship to come in or, 2) I can grab the oars and start rowing my own boat.  Very simple solution, don’t you think?

And I don’t have to do this by myself.  Spiritual blessings are built on a recovery fellowship, on the concept of giving and receiving, and on the readings of ancient scriptures.  In the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching:

“The Tao is like a well:  used but never used up……empty yet infinitely capable.  The more you use it, the more it produces.”

In Christian scripture Jesus said in Matthew 6:

“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them……take no thought saying, What shall we eat?  or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed?…For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things….

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  

The earthly paths of Jesus and the Buddha exemplify the kingdom and teach me the righteousness to seek.  That righteousness is not a moral discipline; rather, it is a way of living which honors and upholds the rights of all  creation.  Both the “Path” of the Buddha and the “Way” of Jesus trust in the mercy and goodness of humanity to meet the physical needs of their temples.  They depended on the promises of a Sovereign Being to feed them spiritually and lead them to a resurrected life in the realm of the Spirit.  They taught me that when the demands of self-awareness are subjugated to the promises of a higher power, the needs of this world become faint in comparison to the provisions afforded by faith and trust in the surrounding and indwelling Light.  I am, after all, a spirit housed in a temporal body.  This flesh which I carry is but a fleeting moment in the universal consciousness of eternal spirit.  I no longer chase after the lies of the “golden years” but, instead seek the golden nuggets of ancient wisdom and truth.

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