Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Learning To Be Lost

Paris. Rush hour. I was on a crowded bus, daydreaming. Someone bumped into me, breaking my reverie. "Excusez-moi," a man said happily. "Pas de problem," I responded and looked up to see a blind man with a wide smile groping his way, inch by inch, toward the front of the bus. He spoke to the driver and a moment later the bus made an unscheduled stop. The blind man offered a heart-felt "merci" and he tenuously felt his way down the bus stairs to the busy street. A walking stick would not have helped in this concentration of people. He stepped brazenly and alone into the rapid current of foot traffic. After a few steps, just enough to avoid the bus he stumbled up onto the sidewalk, stopped, lifted his bright face upward, and asked the deaf ocean of people if there were anyone who could might point him in the right direction. Immediately a lovely and stylish woman materialized from the busy crowd, a complete stranger. The woman gently touched the blind man's arm, wrapped her other hand affectionately through his bent elbow, and the two of them made a quarter turn. Then the two strangers set off together across the crowded Pont Neuf, talking and laughing as naturally and casually as if they were on a date, strolling toward the opera matinée. The smile on the blind man's face never once strayed as if he had expected this woman to be right there when he stepped off the bus. He had set a date with destiny. As I sat in the bus again staring out the window, I wished that I could somehow, magically hear their conversation as they dissolved into an ocean of people.

I think about that experience sometimes. Sometimes, I feel like I'm stumbling through life like a blind man, walking around busy streets, tripping off the bus, bumping, into the sidewalk, and graciously, not without some self-deprecating humor, asking humbly for some kind soul to give me direction, to hold my arm and steer me to the other side of the river, over the bridge. And sometimes I think, "don't give me the answers right away. Nor give me back my sight. At least not yet. Let me be blind, if only for a while, so that I may learn to feel my way, so that I may learn to ask for help and know of something deeper within, so I may learn to trust my deepest hearts direction. Let me look inside to find my vision."

To find my way I close my eyes, like the blind man I suppose, and look inward. I find my way onto my yoga mat and mediation cushion and by so doing I hope to find my way. There, I discover a faith inside that says that what's more important than figuring out the specific details of my life, my true work lies with first coming to know my deep inner-Self. That's true sight. I see that I must learn to feel with my heart and trust that feeling and not just intellectualize each direction. Armed with inner sight and feeling, all of the details and particulars of my life will naturally grow and evolve as they should. I can go on blind. My gut tells me to go ahead and make my plea to the Universe against the din of the world and ask for what I want, where to go, and what to do, and then watch to see what emerges. It tells me that I must learn to be lost, to ask directions, and ask permission. I must risk a little. I must keep my heart open and ask myself regularly how my heart feels. I have faith, just like the blind man, that by feeling, I will find my way to where I need to be and that along the way I should expect something lovely.

I hope you stumble onto your mat this week and find some inner vision. Let's expect something lovely as we move blindly through this life together, arm in arm like we're heading to the opera matinée.

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