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51

 

for the first time, I clearly remember that it was as if I were not reading it at all, but that it was being spoken to me, from within, in a voice like thunder. I was immediately convinced of the Divinity of Meher Baba, and my whole being seemed to receive this Truth.

 

I gradually started to collect more information about Baba through books and conversations with others, and since this first awakening in Him in the autumn of 1970, I have been trying to love, obey and surrender to Him, the Maker of all life.

Michael Siegel

 

 

THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES

 

In the fall of 1979 I took a trip to Europe. Actually, it had been at the prompting of my parents after a particularly unpleasant summer. A friend had committed suicide and I had been thrown into the most serious and dire inner searching I had yet experienced — so, I went to Europe as a sort of retreat.

 

After about a week. I ended up in Munich at a particularly dirty and smelly youth hostel. One night there was enough to make me determined to move into a pension no matter what the cost. The next morning I was standing in a line to check-out when I noticed this other American fellow who seemed to be in similar straits. I don't remember the details of the dialogue, but we both complained about the hostel and agreed to get a room together.

 

After a light breakfast, we set off in pursuit of a pension and began to talk. He was an artist living on a grant from the college he had attended. When he asked what I was doing in Europe, I wasn't sure what to reply. Eventually I disclosed my confusion over my friend's suicide and intimated that I was here perhaps just to think things over.

 

Now this fellow, whose name, coincidentally, was also Bruce, would periodically make enigmatic comments. When I told him about my plight he said something like, "Well, it's no accident you've come here and we've met. I have experienced a similar thing and things are not quite as bleak as they may seem to be now." It is difficult to capture the feeling I had about Bruce, but somehow I felt he had something to tell me, and that somehow I was meant to hear what he had to say.

 

We spent the day talking and talking about God, reincarnation, death, suicide and lots of things of this nature. I felt by the end of the day that this single experience might be the most crucial of my entire life. Bruce was saying things which I already knew in my heart were true, but he was putting them into words for me for the first time. That night, Bruce turned to me and said, "Do you want to see a photo of God?" For the first time since we'd met, I felt a ray of cynicism shoot into me. It had been a beautiful, important day, and I suddenly felt I was going to be given a sales pitch about some guru or other. With trepidation, I consented to look at the photo.

 

Bruce showed me the "Don't worry, be happy" card photo of Baba. I looked at it. God? No, I didn't think it was God — a sausage salesman, maybe . . . but I did love looking at that photo. Slowly a smile began to grow on my face, and it got bigger and bigger, and I couldn't get rid of it — I didn't even want to get rid of it. That night I went to sleep looking at Baba's picture with these words going over and over in my head: "Don't worry, be happy. I will help you." I felt perhaps that the Eastern idea of the teacher appearing when the student is ready might actually be true.

 

We spent a few days more in Munich talking about Baba and also about the Christian church. It was a momentous few days for me and I felt inwardly that I was getting food for the heart for the first time in years and years.

 

We parted company and over the next few weeks I traveled, and read the New Testament which I had decided to re-read after meeting Bruce. I finished reading it one day while traveling on a train to Venice. I was disappointed for I had, somewhere in my heart, hoped that THE ANSWER would pop out at me, but it hadn't. There was something missing and I found myself thinking, "If only I could talk to Bruce now, I'd really like to hear more about Meher Baba.” Just then I looked up and found, to my utter

 

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