Saturday, August 8, 2015

Try to Remember

I was walking down Sunset Blvd near Vine this week where I've walked a jillion times before. And I got really caught up in people watching. The angry homeless man. The angry guy in a suit. The street musician who brought a full upright piano out onto the sidewalk in front of the Cineramadome. The desperate woman racing somewhere, clearly over-burdened.

And the strangest and most obvious thought sort of overcame me: that's someone's child. Every single person here. Is someone's child. This stupidly obvious thought rolled through me like some profound tidal wave. The profundity of what it means to be a daughter or a son. And my God-- we all have that insanely profound thing... foundationally. Without exception. I know I probably sound like a guy who's been hit in the head too many times, but my mind then instantly flashed through how many people I had angrily cut off in traffic or become impatient with just during that afternoon, and how often and how common it is to judge someone in big and small ways-- we all do it constantly. And how impossible it would have been for me to act quite so thoughtlessly if I were doing those things to someone who I was looking at as sacred and special. There was this bizarre and overwhelming moment of feeling this sense of loving and honoring every person I saw. I recognize how crazy and in need of meds that will sound to the judging mind because my own judging mind has a lot of commentary about this. But for just a moment, and at least in my own heart (and through that lens), we were all suddenly in the same boat. I mean, we had been all along, I just hadn't been looking at it that way until that moment. We were all daughters and sons. It's a whole lot harder to walk blithely past the homeless man when you think "What if he were my son?" Because he is someone's son. It's harder to judge the pushy woman or dismiss the angry jerk. Because suddenly, you realize the enormity of who these beings are. Sons and daughters. With impossibly enormous value.

There's something deliciously fast and cheap and sort of rock and roll about that intersection. But also sad too in how it seems to somehow sort of depersonalize and shrink the humanity of all of us bustling through there a little bit.

Losing my mom last year drove home what a truly profound thing the love between a mother and child can be. And suddenly watching every single person on this cheap corner through the lens of "that angry man is someone's son." Or "that exhausted overwrought woman is someone's daughter." Using this absurdly obvious truth as a lens just stopped me.

It's one thing to subscribe to some hippy-dippy notion that, 'Yeah, yeah, all life is meaningful and has value. We're all one. Whatever.' But pausing my typical self-involved mayhem for a second, using this idea about sons and daughters to look just a little more deeply... just for a second... I guess it let me see that underneath the bustling circumstance of every single one of us is something impossibly and immensely and unspeakably sacred. However you want to frame that, we all know it. And in the most blatant and obvious way. We all know that we are all sons and daughters. And as I stood in the commotion genuinely amazed by the incredible beauty in every person I saw, beauty that had been totally invisible to me moments before, I had another thought. Because undoubtedly, moments later when this little reverie passed, I would go right back to the habitually judging mind. That lifetime of habit doesn't just disappear and transform permanently. But that next thought that came to me was simply:

What would happen if I could manage to see through the lens of this truth all the time? I keep rediscovering that the most profound truths tend to be the simple ones. And isn't that the real trick in life? To try to remember them once we've stumbled upon them.