Last week’s note had one of the highest views of all other notes. Apparently, the topic was controversial enough to cause additional shares by my subscribers. While I received many positive feedbacks from my compatriots, I also received messages from friends outside of my heritage, (i.e. Latin, Asian, European and few friends from the south of the United States) who expressed how frustrating and confusing behaving outside of how they feel has been. Apparently, Taarof, to some degree is prevalent in other cultures as well.
As expected, I also had one offended compatriot friend, who felt her culture was under attack and was expressive about it. In her defense, I had asked her to read and provide feedback on the piece; otherwise, she would probably be going about her very busy and challenging life. (Note to self: don’t impose your notes on anyone)
Either way, my notes are just my observation and opinion. I think, in my introductory page, I shared the disclaimer that these notes are not peer reviewed academic writings; they are simply my humble opinion. While I have no issues hearing opposing views about them, I can even be convinced to think differently, if approached with love and kindness…
That’s why, Today’s note will focus on a quote by M.S. Irani (AKA Meher Baba), who is my spiritual guide, mentor, and a mutual teacher of the friend who was offended by my note last week. In his book, God Speaks, Meher Baba claims that his teachings “…shall bring about a happy blending of the head and the heart…” and “…shall revitalize all religions and cults and bring them together like beads on one string.”
The “blending of the head and heart” perhaps was the purpose of last week’s note, where being kind and considerate has to be effortless. I believe if the head is forcing the heart or vice versa on any action, that act of kindness is hypocritical.
Moreover, “the beads on a string” concept resonates with me, as I also believe, wherever we come from or whatever religion we may practice, we are all part of the same string. Just like the droplets in a river that is heading to a vast ocean, we all are heading to the same place. My religion, culture, or ways are neither better nor worse than any others. Furthermore, the “how long” a culture has been around, has no impact on how well, it is adjusting to the new insights available to us now. Just like how a child may know and understand life better than a parent; it does not mean an ancient culture is better or worse than a new thought form.
Because of Meher Baba's teachings, I am the universalist that I am; accepting everyone as they are, and comfortable enough to bring attention to the downfalls of my own heritage. After all, if you can’t see the issues with yourself, how else can you correct your ways? Finally, I want to reiterate, that I am not against being polite and being kind, but I believe our action must be intrinsically motivated and not out of obligation. Thanks to my dear friend, I was able to share some of my mentor’s views in this note and I am grateful for that.