Sunday, May 31, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 56: The Gift of Bread

Once a month, I travel downtown for a yoga study sangha. The word sangha means one's spiritual community. You come together with practitioners to study. The group I belong to gathers with our teacher and we study meditation, pranayama, interpersonal work, and the yoga sutras. It's like yoga church. I love sangha mornings because they are on Sundays. Driving downtown on Sunday mornings is lovely because the highway is empty. It's about 16 minutes door to door. It's usually quite chilly and I love having my breakfast in silence and then having my hot coffee in my travel mug. I gather up my meditation cushion and books and start to head south. The exit that I take lands me almost to the downtown core. It's typical to see homeless individuals sleeping in doorways, curled up like hibernating animals. Some have sleeping bags, some don't. It's one of the quietest times in the city. It serves as a reminder to be humble and grateful and more openhearted. 

Like any other Sunday, I arrived at the red light after my exit and I am grooving out to public radio. As I was waiting for the light to turn green, I looked across the street and saw an exchange between two individuals, a man and a woman. Both were young, probably in their late twenties. Both were bundled up with backpacks and the man had a skateboard. They were wearing hats and carrying sleeping bags. Clearly, they were both experiencing life on the streets. The man put down his backpack and pulled out a loaf of bread. It was wrapped in clear cellophane and was a good size loaf. With both hands, he handed it to the woman. She looked down at this loaf and then looked back at him. Put her arms around him and embraced him. The man hugged her back, they let go of each other, and went their separate ways. He jumped on his skateboard and rode East as she crossed the street and went North. A lump grew in my throat. 

This entire exchange was about 10 seconds, if that. In that moment, a common humanity was revealed. We are all hungry. We all have basic needs. This moment served me in so many ways; a reminder to be grateful, a reminder that there is suffering and love, a reminder that small acts do big things, all that generic stuff. But the real reminder for me was to wake up and look around. I only experienced that moment because I was awake and present in my own life and not fighting to get to the next thing or distracted by the shiny object or digital device. 

There are so many moments like the moment of the gift of bread and we are blind to them. Not because we don't want to see them, but because we create our own curtains and blinders. Stop, breathe, open up, allow it all in. You might be surprised and touched at what gifts you see being given. 

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