Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who Is It We Meet On The Street?

In the early afternoon yesterday I finally got a chance to go outside. I didn't expect the very cool and blustery weather. It felt wonderful and it reminded me of all the beautiful days ahead as we enter into the autumn of this year. The cool air totally revived me. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon just walking around downtown.

Once, on a day like the one I described above, I was walking down Main Street yesterday on my way to a lunch date with friends. A homeless lady, sitting on a bench, called to me as I walked by, "Hey, Grandpa, do you have some money that you can spare"? First of all, she looked older than me so I'm not sure why she called me Grandpa. It would have been more appropriate to call me "Sonny". I felt badly because I had no cash and only a few coins in my pocket. I gave her what I had and she was grateful. It bothered me that she might be hungry while I was on my way to a nice lunch with friends. I've always been told that you shouldn't give money to homeless people because they usually just looking for that next drink. This lady didn't appear to be an alcoholic and street people, even the scary ones, always touch my heart and I usually share whatever money I have. My life is so blessed. I always have food, a warm bed, a roof over my head, and lots of friends. Plus, Jesus says, "Whatever you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me". When I encounter homeless people I actually wonder if I am truly encountering God. Is this person who is sometimes smelly and dirty really God crossing my path? God is not always appealing in appearance. He's not always dressed in pure white robes and glowing with divine light. God is present in any person who needs kindness, regardless of the package in which they are wrapped.

The theme of the 24th verse of the Tao Te Ching is "Living Without Excess". Let me quote part of the verse....

Showing off does not reveal enlightenment.Boasting will not produce accomplishment.He who is self righteous is not respected.He who brags will not endure.When walking the path of the Tao,this is the very stuff that must be uprooted, thrown out, and left behind.

A poem by the Persian poet Hafiz expresses this theme very well.

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, "You owe me."
Look what happens with a love like that,It lights the whole sky.

Here are some highlights from Dr. Wayne Dyer's commentary on Verse 24.

The path of the Tao needs to be cleared of any weeds of excessive personal importance.

Everything you see, touch, or own is a gift so you should suspend your ego and seek an attitude gratitude and generosity.

Walk the path of the Tao by being a giver rather than a taker, providing for others and asking nothing in return.

View your desire to brag and seek approval as weeds appearing on your journey.

Seeing yourself as important and special is walking the path of ego.

Change your life by consciously choosing to be in a state of gratitude.

Let the words, "thank you" be always on your lips. Give thanks for everything. It doesn't matter who you thank, i.e. God, Spirit, Allah, the Tao, Krishna, or Buddha, because all those names represent the great wisdom traditions.

Change your life by examining your urge to boast and be self-righteous.

By returning to radical humility and seeing the greatness within everyone, you have cleared your life of excessive self importance. your kindness to someone who will be totally surprised by your actions.

Here's quote sent to me yesterday after my thoughts about politics, religion, and music.

The best thing to come out of religion is the music.
-George Carlin

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