I don’t see a homeless but a human being who needs love and compassion.
The other day, I was riding the NYC Subway. When I transferred to the express car, I noticed one car was empty. The time was close to the end of rush hour. At this time, the cars are still half crowded. Usually, when a car is empty it means either the car is dirty, there is no heat, or there is a homeless. So, when I got inside I saw two homeless sleeping. I just stood in front of the homeless and watched how people doubt whether to enter the car after looking at the homeless sleeping. Some of the people who entered distanced themselves or just went to the other side of the car, despite that there was plenty of space. I just stood looking at the homeless and didn’t even know whether it was a he or she. As the next stop arrived, I saw more people looking at the homeless with distress and just took more a distance from the homeless. I was sad to see this situation.
“I don’t see a homeless but I see a human being who has a storytelling and we can do something to help ease the situation.”
When I see people avoiding the homeless, I see the mind working. The survival mode at work where there is fear, the aversion of “I like or I don’t like.” We can discriminate unconsciously. When we do this, who is the one in pain? Is it the homeless or the person who is avoiding? Is the person avoiding who lives in fear. Lord Buddha said that we create our suffering. If you see someone who needs help, we should not seek avoidance. Rather, we should embrace the situation and see the world we live in and there is work to be done to help those in need because they are crying out for help. Not everyone has the same economic situation or life situation. We are all different and there is a lot of suffering. The homeless sleeping in the subway, I don’t know how many hours of sleepless nights he or she has had, or how long he or she has been in this situation. I don’t know whether he or she has been rejected by family or friends, or even abuse. I don’t know and I just don’t know. But what we need to know is that there is no difference between the homeless and the rest of us. Behind the clothes and the labels we put for ourselves (I’m this or That), we are all the same. We all have a loving and compassionate heart that at times we miss tapping into it. It is in this situation when we can tap into our heart and just feel compassion for those that are in need. When someone is begging on the streets, even if you don’t give money, we can acknowledge the person by looking at them. Ignoring them is a painful feeling and we can at least not try to add more to the painful feeling they carry each day. When you look at them, your warm compassionate heart is already enough. Compassion is not feeling sorry for the person rather a feeling of love and caring to wish him/her well. Your warm heart will make a difference for them and it will be felt. It is the warm and compassionate energy that you put out in the Universe to those in need that will come back and help those in need.
There is a lot of suffering in the world. Even at this moment that you are reading this article, there might a farmer in India committing suicide because he can’t afford the payments or an Albanian woman being trafficked. What we can do for the moment is whenever you see someone who needs help, don’t avoid but rather embrace the situation with compassion, and maybe you can come out with an idea to solve this problem — in this case, homelessness. Which many have tried but still unsuccessful. The most creative people will tell you, that they saw a problem and tried to figure out how to fix it. This could be in tech or for a social cause. This is the reason why you have social entrepreneurs constantly launching companies to address social problems. Why they came out with an idea? It is because they opened their hearts to those in need.
We should never listen to the mind because the mind is always fearful and this is the reason why we avoid things that we believe are not good for us. It is just a blueprint in our memory on how society has told us what is good for us and what is not good for us. When you drop the identifications and labels of people, you begin to see life from a different perspective. It is here when you embrace every situation without judging and just living free of prejudice. Negative feelings are not ruling your life. You are just joyful and transmitting joyfulness that is much needed in this world. Maybe you send a smile to someone who is walking the street, you never know the impact that you can make on that person.
Be warm and see everyone with love, kindness, and compassion. We all have a storytelling. Feel compassion for those in need. Embrace the kindness within you. Two days before New Years Day, I was riding the NYC subway back home and I sat in front of a homeless woman. She was sleeping and then woke up. She had a lot of stuff in front of her and I noticed she dropped her food container. She was trying to grab it but couldn’t because she had too much stuff in front of her. So, I reached out and picked up the food container for her. She smiled at me and said, Have a Happy New Year. I smiled at her and replied with the same wish. This is the best ever “Happy New Year” someone has said to me. I will never forget her warm smile. Yes, she had a beautiful smile and in her eyes, as I watched her wishing me a Happy New Year, I could see her true sincerity and kindness.
If Love and Compassion is difficult to understand, that’s okay — it will come to you. The more you serve others, it will arise naturally. Jesus said: “Love Neighbor As You Love Yourself.” Someone asked a Hindu Yogi Baba Neem Karoli (Ram Dass Guru) how can we start meditation. While sitting in a calm posture, he closed his eyes and tears began to drop. Then after a few minutes, he calmly opened his eyes and said, meditate like Jesus. Someone asked him, how do we do that? He said, love and feed people.
Next time, you see someone in need, just open your heart. When you open your heart to love and compassion, something incredible might happen. We need this more in this fast-paced world that we live in. This is the best time to pause and tap into your humbleness that at times we only tap it in the holidays.
Love and Compassion is your true being. Remember always.