As I sit nine stories up on the rooftop of a prestigious hotel in Chennai, India, eating an amazing Mezza Platter and Aqua Salad along with a “detox” drink, the gentle breeze moving through my hair, keeping the sweat from the heat of the day out of my eyes, I smile at the stern law of causation: we reap what we sow and we sow what we reap.
Here I sit poolside, and below me is filth and starvation. Without understanding what the world is and how it works, I would be left crippled in despair at what my eyes reveal to me, a world that is both so cruel and yet so kind. Instead, I marvel in the ultimate knowledge, that I am not the man who sits perched up in a lounge chair and below me, they are not the poor who lay on the hot concrete as their bed.
We are both the Self and we are both suffering greatly as we are lost in our ignorance. I earned my seat from all the choices I have made. They have earned their seat by their actions. We both sit ultimately in the same position, as we are lost in a world that only exists out of our illusions, confusions and delusions that stem from the misapprehension of our true identity.
I befriended the manager of the apartments where a few of us devotees are staying, and he insisted that I come to his home.
So my brother, Justin, and I ventured off in a rickshaw to his home to meet his son and his wife. He was so proud of his tiny one-bedroom unit, which sat on top of a street filled with noise, pollution and unbearable stench.
He insisted on giving us a present because in India the guest is god, and we did him a huge blessing by visiting his home. Do I even bother discussing that philosophy versus the inconvenience most of us feel when someone is in our home?
Needless to say, that little experience was truly a gift that he gave to us. My wife and I have guests all the time. In fact, our home is like a hotel – people coming in and out, but we always feel we are being of service and not the receiver of the gift.
What I experienced today brought home everything Swamiji has taught me: the gift is in the giving… there has to be someone to “give to” in order to give. Therefore, the giver is grateful to the recipient for allowing them to do what brings the most satisfaction in life, giving!
I was left today with this thought, or I should say this question: Eric, are you involved in what you see in the world or involved in what is the source that makes you see?
Am I involved in thought, perception and emotion, or involved in that which enlivens my thoughts, perceptions and emotions? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
Your answer will reveal to you where you are and why I have my answer….