a friend and i are walking to her car after an event. almost eleven at night. i kind of see a figure approach us and say, you have any change. both of us don't have a dime with us. she says, no, we don't have any money. a little while later, my friend says, can i ask you a question? i say, yeah. she says, were you ignoring that guy or am i wrong? my mind goes blank for a brief moment. then i watch some resistance appear. weak. not strong. i take a look at it and say to my friend, yes, you are correct. we go on to discuss it a little bit. my friend is nonjudgmental. she is as kind and funny and alive as she always is. in such presence all that tendency to defend myself dissipate into the cool night air. i can see how when some one on the street approaches me for money the mind kicks habitually into thoughts like he/she is going to use this for alcohol, cigarettes, whatever and i am not going to be an enabler for that. here i am, the day after, coming out of meditation i see something else. my reaction has to do with poverty consciousness. then i remember something. two days ago i attended a teaching event from a fantastic rabbi. she speaks about the joy of service, serving in joy. among the gems she gave out is this one. in any moment when you can give, choose to give. as i recall these words it dawns on me that i have always had fear and resistance in giving. in all kinds of ways i would hold back while the mind churns up seemingly justifiable excuses.
on the drive home my friend tells me this story. a person stops a rabbi and asks for money. rabbi says, this is shabbos, i don't have any money on me, i'll give you my address, you come after shabbos, i'll give you some money. the person does show up. the rabbi gives him money. the person shows up again. and again. and again. and the rabbi begins teaching him. what do i learn from this story? the first thought i see going through the mind is, o, no, that's dangerous. gee, i can see i have a lot of self-inquiry to do on this one. to be continued. what i do know for sure is this. the rabbi is steeped in a place of fearlessness which is none other than the source of compassion and kindness and generosity. what the rabbi does is right for the rabbi. what i want is not to imitate the action mechanically but to keep anchoring myself in that place within me and from that place i will know what is the right action for me in whatever situation in that moment.
how lucky to have such a friend on the path.