I lost my house in Fire and my aunt died inside….
August 30, 2009 § 3 Comments
My office used to be at the Himalayan Institute, located on 5th avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan, NYC. It was a great location, with a lot of traffic in the East West bookstore — not to mention a great opportunity to serve the people of the tri-state area. I believe that was the vision of my master, my teacher, to serve the sincere seekers from all walks of life. My office was at the back end of the East West bookstore in those days, before we moved upstairs on the second floor. Well, I am not bragging about my office space, but trying to entice you into a very serious story that I would like to share with you today.
Many people came in, many asked for books, tapes, and lot more. A few would stay until the bookstore was about to close, and we had to request them to move on with the rest of their day until we saw them next day. I happened to receive a lot of sincere questions that came from all walks of life. It was breath taking — very diverse in content and the range of emotions. I could not even begin to talk about them! Anything from “I and my boyfriend recently broke up. I am so sad and missing him. Can you help?” to “I have breast cancer, and I am going to die” and that left me with no sense of discrimination. I had to answer them all, since they saw me as a Spiritual Teacher. Believe me or not, somehow they thought I had all the answers. Wow! What a commitment, what a challenge! However, I tried to handle them the best that I could. Nevertheless, you are not always prepared for surprises on your way.
One day, a woman walked in crying profusely and lost, looking for someone to help her. One of the guys at the cash register, in the front part of the bookstore, told her ‘a great man’ sitting in the back office would be able to help you. Some people just know how to make your life miserable, don’t they? It was not meant to be malicious, but testing my skills.
The woman came rushing into my office, crying and dazed, and sat down even before I finished saying, “Yes?” She, as if exhaling a fire ball at me said, “My house has burned down and my aunt died inside. I have nobody. I do not know what to do. Can you please help me?” I just could not believe what I was listening to! Now, I had to think quickly and help her, but before I do that I had to stop the freight train hitting me so hard. You get the point, don’t you? She was crying and sobbing uncontrollably. “Can you help me,” She cried again.
“Wait a minute”, I injected, “where do you live right now?”
“Oh! At my mom’s,” she replied. I saw her calm down a bit.
“Wait a minute,” I exclaimed, “You just told me that you have no one!”
“No, no, I have my mother,” she was showing the signs of agitation.
“Well, you have a roof over your head, don’t you? Does, she feed you?” I had a smile on my face.
“Yes,” she says. “Why are you asking me these funny questions? You are a funny man.”
I grabbed at the opportunity. “You just told me you have nothing, no one in your life. Not only do you have someone in your life, but you have a roof over your head, and you are being nurtured by her, as well. Do you know that there are millions out there who have no roof over their heads and food? If they got to eat once, then they do not know where and when the second meal is coming from. Aren’t you in a better position?”
She was surprised, “Yes, I think you are right.”
“Do you have anyone else in your life?”
She nodded her head, “My daughter.”
“How old is she?” I continued.
“Well, she is sixteen”.
“Wow, half of the battle has been won already?”
“What?” She was confused beyond belief.
“I said, half of the battle has been won. Just think. If your daughter was four years old, you would have to take care of her. She is sixteen, not only do you not need to take care of her, on the contrary, she can take care of you.”
“You are really funny, aren’t you?” She smiled. I saw, my interrogation technique was working. I proclaimed victory!
“You see, just think how many good things you have in your life. You have your mom providing housing, food, and shelter to you — not to mention emotional support. You have a daughter, sixteen going on seventeen — what am I missing?”
“You know, you are so right. I did not think that way. Now, since I am thinking that way, I think I will be all right.”
“Oh! Great, but not so fast,” I said. “I want you to go back to your house and talk to your house.”
“What is this man thinking?” Wrinkles on her forehead were screaming at me.
“I will work hard, get a second or third job if I have to, but I will rebuild you again.”
“Why would I say that?” She was surprised and a bit doubtful of my sanity.
I said, “Why not? It is your house. Something bad has happened and you have to take ACTION to correct the course of your life, don’t you? Once you are done saying that to your house, go ahead and feed a few hungry folks in the memory of your late aunt, so she can rest in peace. Can you do that for me?” I was done!
“I will try.”
Quickly I pounced. “There is no such thing as trying. Either you do it, or you don’t. Take action now and you shall be free forever from this horrific event of your life. Why would you wait?”
“Okay, thank you so much for your help.” Those were the words that came rightfully out of her mouth. I never saw her again as long as I was working there. I hope she could take care of it. Suddenly, I saw that guy who had sent her to me, in my office, dying to know what actually happened and why this woman left smiling, with so much resolve on her face and gait. She was not together at all when she walked in. I flatly ignored him and sent him back to his station at the cash register.
Can you really learn from this real story? Leave your comments on my blog site.