One day I was walking with a friend, and as we passed a man living on the street, she exclaimed ‘what a loser’. She shocked me and it saddened me deeply….that anyone, anyone on this earth, would consider this term for someone whose path had taken an unfortunate, or in fact, a different direction than ours. I believe that the majority (if not all) of these people do not choose to sleep on a park bench, in the freezing cold or in the stifling heat, without shelter, food or a friend to talk to.
We are all different on the outside and come in different exteriors, different packages so to speak. But when one looks inside the box we are the same. We have the same essence and for that essence to thrive we need to be able to connect with the essence in others. Rather than thinking outside the box, perhaps we can consider there is no box. It is through that flow, that essence, that we learn about one another and in turn we learn about ourselves. The action is called tolerance.
Just like a plant that is not watered, if you do not nurture it, and it becomes disconnected from the elements, it becomes starved of life. It dies inside and out. To me that is what happens to those referred to as the ‘down and out’, those you see sitting against walls in street sidewalks, begging to be noticed. They were once someone’s child and now have no home, emotional, or otherwise. They are the world’s ‘home-less’. They have lost their home. They have lost their place.
Human kindness from others allows their essence, their nectar to flow, even if just for seconds. As my father taught me, ‘buy those on the street a meal or a coffee’. Something to nurture their body and soul. Yes, a coin is fine too, of course. So what if that coin is spent on a cigarette? I don’t know what it is like not to have a roof over my head, let alone sleep out in the cold! So I am not in a position to judge. I have learned to look into their eyes as I pass them by. Let them know they are part of my world too!
Often I reflect upon the question – Am I connecting in my own world?
We need to remember that when we are gone, no one will remember what we wore at their party; how many honours we obtained at school; how many languages we mastered; what car we drove; how many houses we owned; or what our title was at work; they will only remember how we made them feel. They will remember the kindness we bestowed upon them. However some will also remember being hurt or bullied, controlled or cut down by us too. There is a choice!
There is a wonderful Arabic proverb which says: ‘The Axe forgets, but the tree remembers’.
Isn’t the greatest wealth in any being found in their ability to connect, to offer kindness and compassion?
All of us have the ability to nurture the essence in others and in by doing so we nurture ourselves. When we feel fear, anger, hatred, envy or in some way believe we are superior to those whom we meet, there can be little, if any connection. And not only does our own energy deplete by transmuting these emotions, we deplete the energy in others and soon they will move away.
For so long, we have valued knowledge as being the most important element in our lives, but in fact isn’t it understanding? Is it not understanding and acting upon that understanding? Knowledge is just a commodity. Understanding is the key in turning knowledge into something valuable.
Doesn’t this apply to how we treat others in every aspect of our lives? Knowledge or understanding?
If we think that by behaving as though we know better, are smarter, wealthier, faster, happier, more valuable, then we are being foolish and show up our own stagnant thinking and lack of understanding and compassion.
Acquire knowledge. Understand it. Act upon it. When our thoughts, understanding, speech and action are in line going forth……then we are in harmony.
It also takes courage to find the ‘heart’ in things. And where does the word ‘Courage’ come from? The French word ‘Coeur’ – heart.
Do we have the courage never to cut down or look down upon another? Do we have the compassion to bestow upon those who are hurting?
If so, then we will truly thrive, simply by connecting…..
P.S. I would like to honour whoever took this photograph. It came to me, I don’t remember how, nor can I recognise who took it. But I thank you, whoever you are. It says it all.