Stop Ignoring Who We Are
I watched this today and have not gotten it out of my mind. I'm thankful for that.
You may have already seen it as Mr. Williams and the positive messages that have spun from this are making their way through the online world. I hesitate to throw in my opinions, but believing that all perspectives are valuable I offer the following:
I am astounded by his voice. That is the "duh" part. I could watch again and again just to see a human face connected with that voice.
But the part that stays with me goes beyond his voice deep into his humanity. I could say some things about homelessness and the deep humanity of each person standing out there with a sign. I could offer some viewpoints on our levels of comfort and discomfort as we are made aware of our individual choice to offer something to each person (or not). I could comment on the nature of a society that allows homelessness, or personal responsibility, or.....
But I want you (and me) to take it even farther, deeper, broader. Mr. Williams is a happy story of someone who took charge of his life ("clean" for 2 years) and who has an obvious talent. His circumstances were sad and challenging, but the outcome is one with which we all breathe easier. (On the notes on YouTube, it says he has offers pouring in.)
Can we remember, though, that every single person with whom we interact is just a miraculous as he? Can we take this beautiful message into our hearts and then, though difficult, put it into practice? When you pass by someone tomorrow, or see someone's face on the news or on the internet, when you interact with a cashier or waitress, can you see the fascinating stories that comprise that person? Can you see the beauty (a talent, a drive, a perspective, ...) that they have to offer?
In a PBS document titled, "The Buddha" (available via NetFlix if you subscribe), one woman talks about the Buddha within all of us. (Read this however you would like: Christ within all of us, the Goddess within us all, etc.) She wonders what it would be like if we walked around, looking at everyone, acknowledging, "Buddha. Buddha. Buddha."
I have put this into practice - with a twist. I like to think, "Human, Buddha. Human, Buddha." It reminds me that everyone is acting through pain, their struggles, their fears. Every single person is human and scared, feeling trapped in some way, ignorant. And yet everyone is, at their core, an absolute Buddha. They are me. (You are me. Yep.) We are infinitely wise.
May Mr. Williams celebrate his continuing journey. May we celebrate with him. May each of us find our own talents, our own wisdom - within ourselves and within each other.
It is time to stop ignoring who we are.
For another valuable perspective on this story, you can also visit this post on The Buddhist Blog: