He was walking through the rainy streets of the town he grew up in. Nothing here changed and yet he has trouble recognizing the scenery he looked at, as his eyes are colored with experiences that molded him into another human and which are not allowing him to ever go back.
As he was walking through the streets, his eyes met the eyes of many others and they all told him a story of restlessness, anxiety, depression and worry… rarely did his eyes looked into a pair of eyes that were emanating this mysterious glow that made himself feel connected and somehow understood. “Blessed are they, strongholds of light, threads of radiance woven into the fabric of a seemingly darker growing world.” He thought to himself.
He went into a cafe to buy a coffee and sat down on a bench in a park nearby, looking around he saw a young couple madly in love with each other, looking further he saw a drunk homeless person talking to himself. He just sat there for a while and inhaled the fresh and rainy air. As he looked around taking in all the things his senses dictated to him he thought to himself:”My senses enable me to enjoy the whole beauty and glory of the world and at the same time they make me receptive to all the ugliness and horror and I wish to be able to love them both..”
It started to rain again but he kept sitting there, it didn’t bother him all that much. In a way the rain felt good, the feelings of helplessness and despair that were present in him for a long time, almost like a second skin were being washed away. His heavy heart flushed fear and doubt out of his bloodstream and started beating in the rhythm of freedom.
He smiled at the encounter with this freeing sense of lightness that spread through his whole body, combined with the rhythmic bombardment of his face by the rain he couldn’t have imagined anything else to add to the immense peace he felt.”The world we grow up in is built upon fear, but I choose to live with trust, despite all the madness and ugliness I see, I won’t let my heart grow cold, I have to keep it alive, it’s the only thing I and everyone else really owns..” he said to himself.
“Ahhhh… I like what I hear there.” A voice said behind him. As he looked behind his back, there was no one to see. He scratched his head, wondering where the voice might’ve come from, from one second to another an old man sat on the bench left to him. As their eyes met, he saw a radiance in the old man’s eyes, a glow that looked foreign and yet carried the touch of something that felt like home, as if through the doors of those eyes, a certain radiance enters the world.
“Why are you looking so sad, young man?” Slightly suspicious and yet thankful someone asked, he answered:” I’m sad, but not about anything in my life, but about the way we treat life around us. People have grown cold and walk carelessly through the world and I’m frustrated because there is nothing I can do about it.” “Son…” the old man started – “people treat life the way they do, because they aren’t able to treat themselves with respect, people have grown cold because their attempts to show warmth has been answered by people who’ve grown cold themselves, they wander carelessly through the world because they feel nobody else cares. People are good in their heart you know, it’s just that this seed often times does not get the nourishment it needs to flourish and so it withers away.”
“But what can we do about it all? It’s so overwhelming. People are suffering, the earth is suffering, Life in all its forms has to go through so much suffering and most of it is unnecessary and I want to understand why? Why do we make it so hard for ourselves? It’s all there… we have this beautiful home we call earth, that provides for all of us and how do we give thanks? We poison the soil, the rivers, cut down the lungs that produce the air we breathe, endangering ourselves and all life to suffocate under the weight of our ignorance and greed.”
“Yes I know and I understand your anger well.” The old man answered with a trace of sadness in his glowing eyes. “It’s a great danger, a great mess we got ourselves into, not because the world is messy in itself.. it is perfect, always was and always will be it is man’s alienation from it and his way of life that causes great turmoil within himself and in the world. Our world is our mirror you know, what she shows us is what is inside us and what is inside us at this moment in time is very clear to our eyes and ears. Our climate suffers and storms because of man’s inner climate storms, because the climate in man is suffering, led astray and confused man’s spirit is in torment, but redemption is found, the moment he returns home in himself. Young man the world lies broken and lacks the bond of unity because we are disunited within ourselves.”
He just listened to what the old man had to say, he didn’t even bother who he was or where he came from, all that mattered is that he felt understood in his concern. “So.. what can I do about it?”
The old man just stared at the lake and took a deep breath, breathing out he said: “Well… that’s a good question, I’d say do the revolutionary thing of looking within yourself. You know.. so many people who want change, want to change the system, to change the climate, to change other people.. nobody wants to change, now imagine what would happen to all the things people want to change if they would change ?”
“I guess they would change as well wouldn’t they ?” “Of course they would, in a more drastic and phenomenal way than you could ever imagine. If we want to change the world, one first has to stop wanting it to be different than how it is and start to be different.”
He knew what this mysterious man said was true but he wasn’t sure what to do next, he still carried a great deal of confusion within himself.
“Okay, but how can I proceed, what can I do except to look within and to be still?” The old man laughed out loud, so loud that other people looked at him like he was a crazy person, or they are so dangerously sane that a refreshing laugh disturbs their perception of sanity, for no one is more insane than the one who is sane all the time.
“Oh boy… oh boy.. first learn to be still and look within as I said. Doing this, doing that, day in day out… everybody is doing something and almost no one allows themselves to just be. Good and wise action must grow out of the ability to be still because, underneath your confusion, a decision already awaits you that will show you what to and all you have to do is to -” “Be still?”
The old man laughed again and he had such a contagious way of laughing that the young man couldn’t help but laugh as well. “Hahaha you took the words out of my mouth young fella, exactly that’s what you and everyone else should be ‘doing’. Be still and change the world, be still and be change.” The old man’s phone rang in his pocket, he answered the call and talked for a few minutes with someone and hang up the phone.
“Okay I got to go son, there are lot’s of things I have to do.” He said it with great laughter, knowing that those things didn’t matter all that much. “Was nice meeting you. Enjoy the rain and maybe even your own company.” He jumped off the bench and went on his way. The young man was left with a feeling of astonishment and gratitude for what just happened, soaking wet and smiling at this helpful, yet strange encounter he just had.