The following riff by Meher Baba is quoted from: Lord Meher p. 2544
What is spirituality? It is the undoing of what you have been doing since ages. You always thought of selfish motives for eating, preserving your life, and attending to every need with zeal. All these lives you have made a habit of looking to yourself. If the slightest thing goes against your habit you are upset. Now, to undo all these selfish bindings, you have to do what you have not been doing, or not to do what you have been doing.
What you have been doing always is thinking of yourself, so now you must not think of yourself, but think of others. This is what is called “love.” But it needs character, poise, perseverance. Poise – what is it? That state of mind where nothing excites you, nothing upsets you. Only if you have poise can you help others, then only can you make others happy. That means love: thinking not of yourself but of others.
If you are in the Sahara, and for four days you have no water to drink and, all of a sudden, one bottle of water appears – how do you react? If you have poise, you will let your companion drink and not mind dying and letting her live. But if you fight and grab for it, you lack poise and spirituality. It is this poise that makes you sacrifice and makes others happy.
For example, I always say: “Make the best of everything.” Here you have food, swimming, boating. Make the most of them and feel happy. Do not say it is not spiritual to enjoy innocent pleasures. But when we are driving on tour and there is dust and we feel hunger, thirst and feel sick, then feel as happy as you do now. This is poise. If you do not feel happy now, it is not easy to feel happy while travelling. Do not feel you are not spiritual in enjoying swimming, boating, et cetera. Is this clear? I do not mean making a show of being happy, but to really feel happy.
For my circle, it is all right. You live with me, leave all for me, so you are serving the universe. But for those who are not living near me, this poise is one hundred percent essential for spirituality.
Again, what is spirituality? Poise, perfect poise. Make the most of every situation. He who upsets no one is a good man. He who is upset by no one is a God-Man!
This is priceless, because it’s the the difference, for me and most of the people I know, between wanting to serve, and actually being able to pull it off. Poise can look like selfishness, because it means that you just don’t react as you’re supposed to or fail to react at all, and then go off in an unexpected direction which damps the whole interaction (in the case of an interaction which is getting out of hand). And of course, we’ll be accused of that, which is just another circumstance in which to demonstrate poise.
This particular riff by Baba was given to the women mandali in Karwar on 06 April 40. Baba gave the most exquisite direction to his women about how to control interactions, and if gathered together, it would be the best manual on diplomacy ever written. The problem is that it’s all scattered throughout the volumes of Lord Meher, at least the ones I’ve read so far, so to post it, I really have to compile it, which I’m just not ready to do yet.
But for right here, where does poise come from? How do you develop it? One thing that will bring it about is Buddhist meditation, but you have to persist in it for at least ten years to obtain that result. I don’t think that simply being immersed in Western extroverted culture does it. I think that what that develops is advanced skills in scapegoating, back-biting, dominant psychology altogether, and omni-directional and habitual lying in the general case.
Genetically, Westerners are predominantly Aryan. That word literally means Noble in the Sanskrit root, and I feel that this is something we need to understand about ourselves to arrive at poise. We are noble! Compared to the majority of the people who live on this planet, our lifestyles are noble. There’s no point in being confused about that. And I think that for us as a whole cohort, the way we arrive at poise, to some extent at least, is to call each other to our inherent nobility, and here’s an example of how to do that:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
You’ll be more than a Man, you’ll be a Peer of the Realm, and so be it.
Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!