Directives And Procedures For Meher Center Guests
Meher Baba described the Center as his “home in the West”. When he was here in the 1950’s, he said, “I never leave. Remember, I do not leave because this is my home.” In those early days, Baba gave several Directives for guests to follow while staying at the Center. Over the years, additional guidelines have been developed to help ensure the safety and comfort of all Center guests, and to provide the opportunity for each one to experience Meher Baba’s presence.
Meher Baba’s Directives
- There is to be no drug activity or involvement with drugs (including marijuana) at Meher Center. Meher Baba has said, “Drugs are harmful physically, mentally, and spiritually.”
- No alcohol (including beer) is to be brought into or taken at the Center.
- No one is to go to swim alone in the ocean. Do not walk or drive down to the beach after dark.
- Always use a flashlight at night. Stay on the paths. Wear covered shoes outside at all times.
- Fishing or swimming in the lake is prohibited.
- Divining cards, the Ouija Board and I Ching are not to be used at the Center.
- Please remember that Meher Baba does not wish us to indulge in conversations regarding backbiting, politics, or drugs.
Additional Directives And Procedures
Arrival and Departure
Registration and Payment – Each guest must sign in at the Gateway upon arrival. You may occupy your cabin by 2 pm. You may pay for your retreat at the Gateway between 9 am and 5 pm any day during your stay.
Hours – Retreat guests must be inside the Center gate by 11 pm each night, and inside their cabins by 11:30 pm at the latest.
Departure – Vacate your cabin by 11 am. Guests may remain on Center until 5 pm. If you are staying on Center after checkout time, notify the Gateway and you will be informed about where to store your belongings. In respect for Meher Baba’s home, leave your cabin clean and tidy. Place bed sheets in pillow case. Turn off heat, fans, and lights.
During Your Stay
Driving and Parking – Drive very slowly throughout the Center at all times. It preserves the retreat atmosphere, the wild life, and the roads. All vehicles must be parked in the Orchard, Cove or Sheriar parking lots. Guests may drive to their cabins or kitchens and park briefly when loading or unloading. Handicapped persons, with handicap plates or a pass from the Gateway, may use any of the spaces which are marked for handicapped parking. No parking is allowed on the Briarcliffe roads.
Privacy – Respect the privacy of individual quarters. Visiting or taking meals in others’ cabins (including porches) is not allowed, except by administrative permission.
Meals and Food – To help maintain cleanliness, be extremely careful with regard to food storage, preparation and cleanup. Store foods in the appropriate kitchen areas, using proper containers; dispose of garbage only in kitchen cans with lids; wash food preparation areas, dishes and utensils carefully, both for sanitation and control of bugs and pests. Do not take food or beverages into the Meeting Place, Library, Lagoon Cabin, Barn, or Meher Abode. Food should not be kept or eaten in cabins without kitchens.
Children and Teens – For safety reasons, children under 9 must be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times. For children 9 through 14, there should be a responsible adult aware of their activities and whereabouts at all times. Children are welcome to attend programs as long as they can remain quiet and not distract others. If children do not attend programs, parents must be responsible for their whereabouts and behavior. Guests should inform the Gateway when babysitters are scheduled. Young people 15 and over are expected to know and obey the Center directives.
Special Buildings – By Meher Baba’s wish, the Barn, the Lagoon Cabin, and Meher Abode are kept as they were during his last stay at the Center. They are for prayer, meditation and general quietude. Do not converse, smoke or sleep in these places.
Attire – Dress in keeping with the retreat atmosphere; bathing suits should not be worn in public buildings.
Quiet – Respect the needs of other retreat guests for a quiet and restful atmosphere, especially in and near the Lagoon Cabin, Barn and Meher Abode.
Energy Conservation – Help us keep the costs of maintaining the Center down by minimizing your use of water, electricity and gas.
Photography, Recordings, Artwork – Photography and video and sound recording are not permitted during Center programs or inside Meher Abode. In other areas of the Center, these activities, as well as any form of artwork, are allowed for personal use only (not for reproduction, distribution or sale).
Business and Professional Services – No business, including sales or marketing of any sort, is to be conducted on the Center. No professional or healing services are to be rendered on the Center, except by administrative permission. Guests should not be working off Center during their retreat.
Wireless Phones – Cell phone use must be kept to a minimum. Ringers should be turned off, and calls should not be received or made in any area where other guests are within hearing distance.
Practices and Group Activities – The Center does not provide any type of structured spiritual practices. If your personal practice involves movement or sound, please practice away from others, and never in Meher Abode, the Lagoon Cabin, or the Barn. No group activities are allowed at Meher Center without administrative permission.
For Your Safety and Comfort
Reporting Problems – It is very important to report immediately any emergency, illness, or special need to the Gateway (843-272-5777 or 843-272-1118). Anything not in working order should also be reported.
First Aid – Supplies are in the Refectory and Lakeview Kitchens, the Caretakers’ Cabin, and the Gateway.
Smoking and Fire – Fire is a serious danger to the Center. Do not use candles, incense or fireworks, or start any outdoor fires. Report immediately any sign of fire or smoke to the Gateway. Smoking out-of-doors is strictly prohibited except in areas where clay pots are provided. Never walk anywhere with a lit cigarette.
The Beach – All guests should be aware of the possibility of dangerous undertows and strong currents in the ocean. Do not use floats or rafts. Be aware that the beach is public property and is not supervised by lifeguards. Swimming alone is prohibited, and walking on the beach alone is not recommended.
Boating – Call the Gateway (843-272-5777) for permission to use the rowboat or to request a gondola ride. No more than 3 persons are allowed in the rowboat, all of whom must know how to swim. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult (18 and over). A life jacket for each person must be in the boat. No boating after sunset. Guests may go out in the gondola only with a trained volunteer. [Boating is currently unavailable.]
Trails and Paths – Use caution and be alert when walking on the Center: always wear covered shoes (including to the beach), stay on the paths, watch for snakes, do not smoke. It is strongly recommended that guests do not go alone on the more isolated trails (marked in red on the Center maps, available at the Gateway); these trails are not patrolled. Guests who do go alone must call the Gateway before leaving. Children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult, and no one should use these trails after dark.
Biking – Ride slowly and cautiously, especially in the cabin areas. When on the trails, all trail guidelines (see above) should be followed. No children under 15 should be riding on the trails without an adult.
Pets and Wildlife – No pets are to be on the Center. Do not feed or approach the wildlife. The Center property is a habitat for alligators, snakes and coyotes. Be alert and keep close watch on children. Report to staff or Gateway any problem of wildlife in the cabin areas. Due to raccoons, do not leave food on porches overnight.