At a stoplight on my way to the bank this past Friday I saw a man with a handwritten cardboard sign. It said something to the effect of being in need, anything helped, and loose change accepted. I remembered I had some change, so I rolled down my window. He approached. He looked at my ear cuff and said, "that is beautiful, bad ass .." I apologized for the fact that I was giving loose change, he smiled. Time seemed to be somehow suspended…
–That’s what my sign says!–he said.
And then he said something like: –I’ll tell you what my sign doesn’t say… He started telling me how a guy had come in his earlier in the week, rolled down his window, yelled at him and then threw a kitten that clawed for dear life at his chest. I blurted: –Why??? Has the world gone mad? What would make anyone throw a kitten? The beggar, said: –I don’t know, and I surely did not need a kitten; that’s not what my sign says… He said that the kitten’s claws dug through his shirt. I asked him what he did with the cat, and he said that he contacted a shelter, a home. And then I asked him: –What’s next, a baby? Someone might just throw out a baby… And his reply was: Don’t go there…
The light changed. We touched knuckles (fist bump), and I drove off touched inside and thanking the universe for this moment of sharing.
Has the world gone mad?
I find that as of late, I feel very frequently called to wake up and be in the moment. I feel constantly called as if by invisible forces to lower my guard, to notice when or if it is going up, and to relax in order to soften it’s grip. If I relax and soften, I can respond (not create answers) but truly respond and meet my world. As of late too, I have noticed "quickenings", i.e. my coming across conversation topics, places, people that I would not have engaged in the past, talking with people who I fear or resent. The call is to wake up and to shed my constructs and my fears. Any and all activities of this world, any and all moments when we can touch and be touched, be awake, are the voice of the Guru, Dharma.
But the moment must be naked and accepted as it is. And I must be just as naked-open to be in the moment without the need to hide. Practicing being in the moment and not hiding seems to be relevant. I am thankful for the teachings that sing themselves into being right in front of me in the strangest of places, and through the lips of a beggar, a trainer, or a co-worker. And I pray for the ability to listen and understand, so that Dharma may increase, and perhaps bring us closer together in depth, and heart-felt understanding as humans. May all beings find a way to work and touch their beauty and depth. May all beings find the discipline to keep coming back to depth. There is no growth possible without looking into the human mirror. May we have the bravery to look and truly see our own reflection.
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