When you walk out the door and feel confident enough to raise your eyes and notice your surroundings, you have a special power.
At my father’s funeral, I was impressed by story after story of people who described how my dad was kind to them. The two stories I remember best are these:
A childhood friend said, “I always loved your dad. Whenever I saw him, he would make me feel special. His face would light up and he would act pleasantly surprised to see us!” Those encounters typically lasted just a few seconds, as we raced in the house or up the stairs.
An elderly neighbor said that she often saw Dad as he walked down her street, on his way to work. Many mornings, she would be out in front of her house with her dog, as he passed. She said, he would always tip his hat and say, “Good morning, Mrs. Jones!” Sometimes he would stop to pet the dog. She said that many days, that was the only human interaction she had, as she lived alone with only her dog for company
I later told my friend, a Buddhist nun, about my dad. I finished my description of him, then added, “He never did anything big. Like, he didn’t save the world, but he was kind to people. And people noticed. It made a big impression.”
The next day, my friend corrected me. “You are wrong. Your dad did save the world. He saved many worlds. Each person whose life he brightened, he saved their world.”
That’s it. He understood the power of that and he did it.
That makes sense to me now. He was a superhero to me.
So, if you want to save the world, make sure you feel good enough yourself, so that you can give cheer to others. You save the world by choosing to be beautiful and compassionate to those you encounter, with even a simple hello.
I love the greeting of India, “Namaste,” with hands folded in front in prayer position.
I have heard many interpretations of the meaning. One simple meaning is, “The divine in me recognizes the divine in you.”
The hand movement is also profound. Bringing together the left hand (representing the past) and the right hand (representing the future), together in front of the body, one person is recognizing another.
Together the words and movement are a deep way to hold the person in front of us in awe and gratitude for a brief, but important moment …now!
- Tomorrow, as you move through your day, notice the greetings you receive. What is the best greeting you received? Was it expected or unexpected?
- The following day, before you leave your home, make sure you are feeling calm and centered. Then with each person you encounter, try to make your greeting as sincere as possible. In that moment, how does it feel?
- Hold the door. When you walk through a door, make it a point to hold the door for the person behind you. It won’t slow you down but a few seconds, and you and the other person may love it!
- When you greet your loved ones, take a couple seconds to make your greetings warmer and less rushed. Hold onto the hug for a second longer. Look into the person’s eyes, smile and appreciate the miracle of the being in front of you.
Every greeting is a chance to recognize the miracle of the two of us being alive, in the same place, at the same time!