Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Look Beneath the Surface

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.” ~ Lao Tzu

A woman I randomly went to today to cut my hair was talking to me about the lottery. I guess it's up to $2 billion or something right now.

Anyway, as she was cutting my hair, she said if she won, she wouldn't even know what to do with the money. She said she would likely save some, give some to her family and donate the rest to charity. She then said her 39-year-old son passed away four years ago to a cancer that is so rare, only one other man in the world had the same form of cancer. She said she would donate money to cancer research and other related charities.

Her story touched me ... as I'm sure it would anyone. And I'm not sure if she was just the type to tell that to anyone ... but something tells me she wasn't.

It got me thinking about how we never truly "know" most of the people we come into contact with every single day. That led me to think about this time of year and how easy it can be to only see the surface of it all ... to miss out on the depth beneath the snow ...

It's a bittersweet time of year in some ways. I mean, you have all the wonderful Christmas food and drink specials every where ... you have the warmth of holiday movies and songs, family, decorations, a hint of that old excitement many of us have experienced as a child.

But there is a much deeper level to this season as well.  It's a time of mixed feelings for a lot of people I know ... especially those who have lost someone close to them, like this woman who cut my hair. Or perhaps someone who is single for the first time in a long time ... or has been single for some time and is ready for more, but isn't there quite yet.

I've talked about in the past the strange phenomenon of feeling more alone in a crowded room than by myself. I think perhaps, for people who are alone or have lost someone or perhaps are just going through some tough times, the holidays could feel like a crowded room.

I don't bring all this up as a downer. I love this time of year in a lot of ways, but also can commiserates with having felt the above way for many years, too. And I guess where I'm going with this is sort of simple.

As we begin or finish up our shopping lists ... as we endure the long lines, the money stresses, the equally impatient or disgruntled shoppers around us ... as we go about our day-to-day lives in society right now, look a little bit closer at those you encounter. Especially the ones who are complaining most or seem dismissive, judgmental or altogether despondent. And as you look closer, keep in mind you haven't a clue what their lives are like, whether they're just having a bad day or whether they've just gotten the worst news of their lives.

You just never know.

Most people in this world are so "unconscious," they almost can't help themselves. But that doesn't mean we can't choose, every day, to become more and more conscious, to remember who we are and what we're truly about ... what our lives are truly about. You'd be amazing the ripple effect it can have, even if your kindness or patience simply makes another person's day a tiny bit easier ... or perhaps even coaxes a smile.

I have had some rough days in the past. And I can't tell you how much it affected me when a random person or someone unexpected extended kindness to me, without wanting a single thing in return. They hadn't a clue what my life was like, whether I was just being grumpy or impatient or whether I was projecting much deeper issues.

So, as we begin our day tomorrow and those that follow ... perhaps we can make it a point to look a little deeper at every person and moment that befalls us.

Because the truth is ... we never truly know what's beneath the surface.


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful and deep post. I believe you're right when you say that the ripple effect of being more conscious would be a pronounced one indeed.