Excuse Me

Something amazing happened to me today.

I was at the park meditating. It was a blast. The sun was radiating love, a breeze was gently blowing, and the dirt and grass beneath were cool to the touch. Breathing and appreciating everything around me, I was in the epitome of mindfulness.

Then the sun became hot. I breathed deeper to settle into the heat, as if in a sauna. My nose ran from too much dust in the wind. Suddenly I  struggled to relax, choking on snot, and sweating.

At last, I gave up. Standing, I turned my back to the sun, and let the air take heat from my skin. I put my hat on and blocked out the sun. This was nice. And then I heard some rustling in the grass, someone approaching very close behind. Dammit.

I turned slightly, and a young man stood there tentatively. I looked at him carefully. He had a bit of a smile, but frowning with dark eyebrows, nervous it seemed. Tanned, tattoo on one arm, silver chain on a muscular neck. I felt a bit defensive, but something about his cautious nature, perhaps his short stature as well, didn’t entirely threaten me.

“Excuse me?”

Seriously? Me? He was looking right at me. Yea, me. Maybe asking for a cig. I don’t smoke, this should be easy.

“What’s up?”

“Hey sorry, but I just wanted to ask you, about meditating, because I’m trying to meditate, can I ask you about meditation?”

Haha. What a wonderful world this is.

There was a stark contrast in this guy and me, in age, drug of choice, and shoe shops, among other things. He was asking me for advice. Here I was, wild man with a fisherman’s hat, fumbling with myself, struggling for zen, nostrils oozing down my mustache.

“Yea, what’s up man?”

He asked me how I meditate. Do I use a chant?

I got the same feeling as when one of my staff used to come to my office with a question. I felt a bit elevated, and wanted to give some formal, well-packaged response. “Manager” mode. But as phrases formed, I met this man’s eyes, and saw he was looking for truth.

So I gave that. Start with breathing. Let the in breath be natural. Be a part of the out breath, feeling it go out the mouth, touching it until it stops, and allowing a pause. And let in breath again.

He understood. We continued to talk. Two of us embodied teacher and student in that moment under the blue sky. The sun gold-plating our connection, we shared in the experience. We were changing the universe. He with his initiative, I with my purpose.

I was afraid, skeptical of this man when he first approached. I didn’t believe there was some way we were brethren. Even to the end of our moment together, I did not let go completely. I felt a large amount of trust inside that wasn’t released, and should have been.

We shook hands but did not exchange names. As teacher, I had the  power to embrace him as kin. But I withheld, fearful from unexpected vulnerability. I hope we meet again.

Today I felt more fully my purpose in life as teacher. Not someone who has credentials, or certification. But someone who does and can help do. I realize today that this requires trust. Much more than I am allowing at the moment. Trust in myself, in the universe, and in the person in front of me. Trust that there is a true, earnest desire to learn. And that I am here to teach. To give.

I’m forever grateful to this man for his courage.

To powerful living,


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