Encountering a man at his practice

May 23, 2012

Between two medical errands for a family member this morning, I walked past the local high school,which has a lot of grass and trees between its building and Mass. Ave.  There, crouching on a path beneath a tree, was an older man.  He was wearing white or off-white, including his turban.  He apparently noticed my noticing him before I drew parallel to him on the sidewalk, because he suddenly turned round and back to see me approaching, and without getting up, he put his hands together and bowed as I did draw parallel.  I awkwardly returned the gesture but from a standing position, and then came the good part — we smiled, and I found myself as I continued to my second medical errand smiling so broadly, contemplating approaching the divine together the way one might go up to get a book signed by the author, feeling like I had met up with someone of like mind in some aspect.  My smile was not my own as I continued walking, and it was a terrific one.  I don’t know who he was, but the encounter was lovely and it felt as if it included an exchange of blessings, and that he was happy at the encounter, too.

Beyond the encounter itself is what I think it means in my life, or at least in the spiritual progress of whomever I’m helping if it’s not me.  I think I’ve been looking to have such an encounter, but where I hoped it might be, with people I might have known or wanted to know, it wasn’t.  It was here, in front of Arlington High School, with someone I might have no other means of communicating with, whom I know nothing about, and whom I may never see again.

The encounter came after my trip to NJ, where I grew up, and during which I felt a new understanding of an old theme.  It came up in multiple guises with multiple casts of participants.  I saw the theme from different angles, and that seemed to result in a release.  I felt for myself and maybe on behalf of someone else an acceptance of something like the idea that other people’s choices that may seem mysterious to us might actually be best for them.  If we let go of insisting, we open ourselves up to something better, then, is what the upshot of this combination of release and encounter seems to me to be.

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One Response to “Encountering a man at his practice”

  1. Richard Says:

    This brought a smile to my face. I especially like the comment about ” letting go of insisting”‘ It is one of those second half of life things we can now afford ourselves. Opens the world up to some wonderful surprise.
    BTW, I am getting a visit from my sister in July. They own a home in Wayland, but are living in Senegal Africa right now.She once lived on Bartlett St. in Arlington. Small world.


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