Mickey Finn: a remembrance

by Will, Kenny, Devan, Julian,
Sri Aurobindo, and 
Sam and Eric of Matagiri
Mickey Finn
Twas a twenty-something drop-out, confused and aimless, starting to look into occultism, when someone came up to me, an older guy with a weathered face and gravelly voice, and a Boston accent so thick you could carve it, and said, 'I wanna see if the people here ['heah'] would like to take a yoga class, and that guy over there said I should talk to you.' 

So I went to his apartment on the Fenway  - 91 Kilmarnock St. - and entered into a new World!  Here was this old guy [as old as my own father], sitting on the floor in the lotus position, and talking to me earnestly about some Indian guru who used to be a revolutionary and about evolution, which hasn't ended with us, but which we can continue.  And that all the old ways were dying, and we had the golden opportunity to be part of the new World that was seeking to be born. 

And then this guy talked about someone called The Mother.  And all of a sudden, the room got larger, and quieter... and warmer too, somehow.  And love poured out of this man, this old street-wise con man, as he described "Th' Mothah", and how She comes to us in response to our aspiration and devotion. 

He never had to refer to a book when he spoke these words - he had lived them, every one of them, and had experienced the truth they represented in his daily life. 
I realize now, thinking back, just how blessed I was to meet not only Sri Aurobindo and Mother, but also this living example of the human Soul struggling to rise above some of the deepest depths, aspiring to the highest Heights - a pure Devotion and gratitude that never failed, and a divine Warrior for the Truth. 

*  *  *

Mickey is a very special being in the community that associates itself with Sri Aurobindo's teaching, especially in the U.S.  For over thirty years he has given nearly his entire life to furthering the message that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother brought to this planet, in a very personal and generous fashion.  Rather than make larger public offerings in the form of classes, lectures, books etc. he spent an incredible amount of time presenting the Integral Yoga one on one, asking for little or nothing in return. 

For many years, he placed a simple advertisement in a local weekly offering yoga instruction with his phone number.  Those that were called from within, would get in touch with him and among those a small number would wind up at his tiny  apartment on Kilmarnock St. 

Over the years, there have been perhaps hundreds of souls that have been 
introduced to the Integral Yoga and subsequently deeply touched through Mickey's efforts.  Many early Aurovillians came to this path through Mickey. 

It has always seemed to me that he has been one of the strongest grounding forces and lightning rods for Sri Aurobindo and The Mother force in the U.S. in general and the Boston area in particular. I will always think of Mickey as someone with unwavering faith, devotion and focus, a boundless enthusiasm and good humour. 

*  *  *

Eugene (Mickey) Finn died October 20 at the Boston Veteran's Hospital at the age of 76 from liver cancer in the loving company of his wife, Angel. An admitted thief, con artist and addict, Mickey had a remarkable experience of choosing to go to his yoga teacher rather than his drug connection and "forgetting about heroin for two weeks". This "cold turkey" conversion experience was part of his inspiration in teaching hatha yoga and pranayama from his one room Boston apartment for free for decades. 

Bob Lawlor called him "the back street bhakti" and Sam Spanier thought of him as a "Golden Bell" ringing out "Sri Aurobindo" in his resonant voice. 

Mickey introduced hundreds of people to the fundamentals of yoga, created "Sri Aurobindo Books" on Charles Street along with other devotees, many of  whom drove cabs, and pooled their money to support the center. He was the inspiration behind a number of activities in the Boston area over the years, the heart of which was a weekly meditation in his apartment. 

His last wish was that these weekly meditations Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. continue in the Fenway which hosted so many visitors from the Ashram and Auroville over the years: 

Angel Hall 
108 Kilmarnock St., Apt. 102 
Boston, MA  02215 

Mickey's ashes will come to Matagiri next August 15th. We hope that some of 
you can join us. 

*  *  *

Mickey himself confirmed, with that unpretentious sincerity and those flashing smiles of his, that he had begun as a drug addict and con-man. But a yoga teacher whom he met introduced him experientially to a radically different understanding of the significance of life. His and Angel's were those of dedicated practitioners of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. Few are those who are infinitely more interested in practice than in the discussion of theories about this, that or other aspect of Truth. Why rattle off incessantly about spiritual experience - about the pros and cons of this, that or other approach? Why not taste the experience, instead of discussing it. Such was the predominant mood one detected about Mickey. How refreshing, like invigorating mountain air, his entire personality and approach was! And how many have so spontaneously evoked interest in the search for Truth. Even among the cabdrivers of Boston! Such are the true forerunners of the Future. They don't cerebrate about the path. They simply walk it. And these few, these precious few, are scattered here and there, in all climes, under all skies, in white, brown, black or yellow skins, and speaking a hundred different languages - all over the globe. They don't make the headlines. Neither do they make speeches, nor send their views and opinions to fora such as this. But every moment of their lives is like a swelling canticle rising up to their beloved Sri Aurobindo and Mother. And it was my immense privilege to have met such wonderful people like Mickey and Angel. 

Mickey was "Nobody". Yet he, in his own unique way, was preparing for "Everybody" of Tomorrow. And I knew that I had met a true seeker. 

Some two or three weeks later, Will informed us of his hospitalization. I spoke over the phone to Angel, and arranged to speak to Mickey in his hospital bed. He knew he would soon leave his temporary abode. But how weakly cheerful he sounded. He thanked me for calling and expressed the hope that the weekly get-togethers in his Boston apartment would continue.  A few days later, he left. And I found myself reciting over the phone to Angel that wonderful line from Savitri : THE EVER LIVING WHOM WE NAME AS DEAD. 

There will not be another Wednesday evening, wherever I may be, that I will 
not greet Mickey in my heart. 

*  *  *

 "To walk through life armoured against all fear, peril and disaster, only two things are needed, two that go always together -- the Grace of the Divine Mother and on your side an inner state made up of faith, sincerity and surrender. ... And when the grace and protection of the Divine Mother are with you, what is there that can touch you or whom need you fear?  A little of it even will carry you through all 
difficulties, obstacles and dangers; surrounded by its full presence you can go securely on your way because it is hers, careless of all menace, unaffected by any hostility however powerful, whether from this world or from worlds invisible.  Its touch can turn difficulties into opportunities, faliure into success and weakness into unfaltering strength.  For the grace of the Divine Mother is the sanction of the Supreme and now or tomorrow its effect is sure, a thing decreed, inevitable and irresistible." 

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, p 11
* * *

At 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 20, 1997, "The Golden Bell" rang for the last time as "Mickey Finn." But the sound and vibrational effect shall play upon this earth for eons to come. 

That which he truly was, was greater than he himself even knew.  The act of 
his life brought hundreds of souls to the awareness of the message of Sri 
Aurobindo and the Mother. 

He acted as a bridge to carry so very many to Matagiri; without him we 
would not have moved along and grown as we did. He lived as a true saint 
and holy man. 

At the hospital on Oct. 14, I saw the Mother's spirit enter his bodily form 
and fully take him to her. 

We are all richer for the experience of his presence upon this earth. Now 
he has returned to the Source; He is now with us forever! 

Halleluia! Halleluia! Halleluia! 

-Sam and Eric of Matagiri
Contents || Top || editor@collaboration.org