Last Wednesday I was caught up in traffic on my way to yoga, just a block from the studio on a usually quiet side street, and I found myself instantly irritated at whatever was holding up the cars in front of me. As the traffic began to move, I realized what was holding up traffic—it was a middle-aged homeless man pushing his life’s belongings across the street in the rain. He was wearing only shorts, flip flops, and a tee—as I passed by he looked my way and I gave a hesitate smile. It was then that I realized I, too, was holding up traffic—in a glimpse I saw myself in him, and perhaps he saw himself in me, I am not sure. I went into yoga class and wept; my irritation dissolved into sorrow.
It’s this realization that’s been haunting me lately, and by haunting I mean it’s been lingering, it’s been moving through my body, and it’s been overwhelming. This idea that we extend beyond our bodies, that the stardust in me is the same as in you, that our own separate and beautiful bodies carry the same pools of magic, the same fields of love, the magnetic, palpable energies of the universe. In the most simple moments, like on my morning drive to work or while on my mat, I often ask the universe: How was I so fortunate to be born where I was born? How do I have all that I have when millions around the world do not have access to clean water, or a roof over their head, or safety for themselves and their loved ones? How was I born into so much opportunity and privilege? I’m not sure I’ll ever have an answer to these questions, but I tend to lean towards the idea that it’s more luck based than anything else. How could I say that I were destined or “chosen” by some greater being to live the life that I have? Inherently, this would mean that I was chosen over others, and let’s be honest, I just don’t think I’m that special.
These past few weeks I have been consumed by sorrow—for the destruction of our great mother earth, for the suffering worldwide found in war, famine, and genocide, and for the unknown suffering of those closest to us.
May we move in deep reverence of another, and of all Beings—including the wise old oak trees, the passing monarchs, and perhaps even the reflections of ourselves that we wish we didn’t see—let us move with love and gratitude.