Surrounded by mighty redwood trees, I sat on the beach of the Russian River preparing to meditate. I listened to Water Is Life by Sara Thomsen and watched chakra-colored shimmers waltz atop the river. These are ideal conditions for quiet contemplation and prayer, I thought happily.
Breaking my reverie and somewhat startlingly so, a man wearing a long dark coat and walking a dog approached me. The stranger’s wispy gray hair blew around his weathered face defying the hat trying to contain the long wild strands. He stood close above me, smiled, and began talking.
A part of me wanted to politely, but firmly, make the man with the dog go away. Being a self-professed “boundary queen,” I’ve become skilled at deciding and acting upon what I will allow in. Then hearing the man proclaim he was homeless and living off the grid could surely have become the catalyst to dismiss him, pity him, or judge him as one who had perhaps made poor choices and was now paying the consequences.
My heart, however, wisely led me a different direction. As I allowed myself to listen to the man, truly listen, as though he was the most important person in the world, I began to marvel at his brilliance. I quickly realized I’d been given a gift by hearing his wisdom and experiencing his presence.
I saw this man’s humanity. He was just like me, like each of us, with a beating heart, challenges, delights, obstacles, joy, and hope.
I am glad I did not turn him away.
Feeling separate from the homeless man can stem from judgment about his situation, a fear of becoming homeless (or without possessions) like him, or his lack of having a home to call his own (and all that implies).
These three dividing walls can easily be brought down when we:
- stop judging others as less than
- let go of fear and replace it with love
- as a society, choose to make sure every person has shelter
- let ourselves feel some discomfort in order to have different perspectives and outcomes
More and more, American culture employs greed, exclusion, and inequality—and is getting very poor results for many of our citizens. When those of us who care and are compassionate use our free will and consciously make the moment-by-moment choice to let go of judgment and fear—we are literally creating a new world.
Making sure every person has a home may seem like a radical idea, yet radical love is what will save and bless us all. What happens to one of us, happens to each of us.
We are being called to see with new eyes and uncover the love we are always talking about—not just as a mental concept we read in a book or nice words we say that make us feel good.
How can we begin to truly see one another without judgement, prejudice, superiority, unkindness, and fear?
Remembering we are all in this together is a path toward oneness, and being the love we long to see is another.
Genuine nonjudgmental love can be messy and take us way out of our comfort zones. Yet, deep in our souls we know the way to be loving—and if we forget or need support—let us ask for our fear to be lifted and replaced with a radical form of love. As we join hands and hearts we walk together into the loving, kind, glorious world that awaits. Right now, in this moment, is a good time to begin.