Tag Archives: karmayoga

Errands

Spirituality

Very late one Friday afternoon on a cold day while driving near the center of town, a friend who is accompanying me on errands comments on the twenty-five-plus people congregated with their bags near the edge of a parking lot.

“They are homeless,” I reply.

“But so many?” my companion asks in disbelief.

“Yes. They are probably waiting for a ride to a local shelter. Because of the profoundly Christian nature of this community, there are several shelters operating here. People in this area take serving the homeless quite seriously,” I explain.

“But where do they go during the day time?”

“Many of them spend their time among the various library branches. From what I have been able to discern, most of them are looking for ways to change their circumstances. They search for jobs, try to reconnect with family who might take them in or attempt to take care of more serious medical concerns via email and telephone.”

“That is an awful lot of people,” my companion comments.

“Yes it is.”

Giving Away Coats

There came a point in my relationship with life’s physicality when I realized that I did not “own” anything. The over-arching, all-encompassing nature of Grace was so complete that it became very clear to me that everything actually belongs to the Divine.

With this realization, I was reminded of a story, which I had encountered early in my spiritual reading. The story is about a Parisian Rabbi of tremendous reputation, who lived in a small garret apartment—a single room—immediately under the rooftop of a tall building amid the early-morning haze of the City of Lights.

Spirituality

In this tale, a senior rabbinical student travels with the desire to consult with this Rabbi on a very pressing scriptural matter. After a journey of many days , the student reaches the top floor of the building where the Rabbi lives. Approaching the large wooden door of the Rabbi’s apartment, the travel-weary student gives the door a stout knock. The Rabbi himself opens the door.

Upon entering, the student looks about to see a stack of twenty books on a small wooden desk, a few writing tools with some paper, a solo chair before the desk and a single bed in the corner of the room. To this, the student exclaims in amazement, “Where are all of your things?”

Shrugging his shoulders indifferently, the Rabbi responds, “I do not maintain a great number of personal possessions. You see, I am just travelling through.”

We are all, in essence,  merely travelling through.

Yet, in travelling through this life, one of the most sacred activities in which we can engage is the redistribution and gifting of goods to those in need. And, although—at first—this process may seem unsettling, unfamiliar or even a bit frightening, there is no greater feeling than the lightness that comes with sharing.

Spirituality: Closer to Home

Walking up the steps, out of the basement floor of a governmental building, I stop when I spot a small earthworm in my path.  S/he is still moist, so I bend to see whether or not s/he is still alive. (Worms are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female genitalia for purposes of efficient biological reproduction.)

Spirituality

We have had several days of relentless rain and ice; and, the poor creature is at least twenty-five to thirty feet from any actual ground, being fully surrounded by impenetrable concrete.  The earthworm probably landed here after trying to escape the flooding of her/his home.

As I bend closer, the worm moves ever so slightly.  I take this as an answerto my inquiry.  So, I finish bending over to pick her/him up and proceed to walk forty-five feet to a grassy place at the base of a young tree, standing on the building’s grounds.

The worm does not have much fight or kick left. (I know this because I sometimes perform this service of moving worms from concrete and asphalt to grass, after severe rainstorms, on my regular walks.) One passerby looks at me inquisitively.

But, the way I figure it is this.  If I were that worm, I would rather have the opportunity to burrow back into the earth and expire in terra firma–closer to home–than to become dried to a crisp and cross over after having become too tired from hopelessly lurching across asphalt or concrete.

Where is home for you?