September 7, 2015
I take the Metro to my office by Dupont Circle in DC. I decided a while back that the 35 minute ride was a wonderful opportunity to meditate. Sometimes I even fall asleep and wake up exactly at my stop.
I’m not unaware of what’s going on around me. A couple of weeks ago while in my deep meditative state, I was aware of something happening in the seats across the aisle. There was a young man under 30 years making attempts, quite loudly, to speak with the woman next to him. He didn’t read social cues at all as this woman had erected an invisible fort around her. Even with my eyes still closed, from a deep-rooted place within me, I realized his frustration at this situation. I was pulling myself out of my meditation to be awake and engage with him when we came to a stop.
The woman got out. I was getting ready to talk with him, but another woman sat down and she lovingly engaged him in conversation. She was a woman in her late 40s or 50s and they ended up talking about the characters in Frozen. This is something that I would not have been able to do.
He got off the metro at the next stop more calm and collected. Another woman standing there holding onto the railing started to speak to the woman, “I have a nephew just like him”. And they began a conversation more or less on kindness and accepting people where they are.
In every situation there is time for recognizing our humanity and connectedness and to find that heartfelt, loving place from which to respond. Practicing acts of kindness are now considered a health practice. Studies show that it has a positive effect on the immune system and on the production of serotonin. But don’t do this as a health habit. Just be kind as a way to love yourself and everyone else, and to connect and be part of the natural flow of life. There are so many opportunities.
If you can’t imagine being like this woman then donate blood, or write a sympathy or thank you note, smile at people, or give a complement. And remember that we really are all one family. Being kind to each other is one of the best things about being alive.