The Divine Art of Cheerfulness
A snowy egret in Myrtle Beach
“Life is so beautiful. It is meant to be happy.”
—Meher Baba, 1934
When I arrived in Myrtle Beach this spring after an absence of more than two years, I was surprised to find so much darkness here. The prevalence of crime, disorder, and neglect in what Meher Baba called his home in the West has taken us all by surprise, although it shouldn’t have, for conditions here simply mirror the current state of our nation and the world. We are at the climax of the Kali Yuga, the age of disintegration. Nearly a century ago, Sri Aurobindo explained what we are now living through:
“It is the work of the Kali Yuga to destroy everything by questioning everything in order to establish, after a struggle between the forces of purity and impurity, a new harmony of life and knowledge that is the Satya Yuga” (that is, the age of Truth now dawning).
And he says, “The law of the Satya Yuga is the large development of the whole truth of our being in the realization of a spontaneous and self-supported spiritual harmony. That can only be realized by the evolution of the spiritual ranges of our being, and the unmasking of their inherent light and power, their knowledge and their divine capacities.”
That is the transformation from the “old Adam” to the New Man, for which you are all destined. You are nothing but Light, and you are to live that Light here on earth. But as Aurobindo says, one’s inherent light must be unmasked. And in these times, darkness seems to surround us, obscuring everything.
Meher Baba’s remedy for this is to banish negativity, to deny it expression in thought, word, or action. He noted that the lower nature feeds on gloom, self-pity, despair, criticism, worry, and doubt. That is its nutrition, and when it is starved of that, it dies. He stressed the importance of “unfailing cheerfulness” as a central condition of his New Life. Good cheer is an attribute of higher thought and feeling which, as we sustain it, keeps us linked with higher realms of life. Baba said, “It is a divine art to look always cheerful. It helps others.” It is expressed not just in a smile or a positive mood, but every day: in your grooming and attire, how you care for your surroundings, and how you walk through life. If you make good cheer a meditation practice, in time, everything you do will flow naturally from higher love. As you do this, you increasingly release radiance, dissolve darkness for others, and yourself become pure light.
In His Unbounded Love,