Sunday, August 1, 2010

Worth Everything

The temple bell stops --
but the sound keeps coming out of the flowers.
-- Basho

"I took your book back to my daughter's house and started to read it. As I was reading, I knew it was the answer I had been seeking."

I recognized her immediately. She had on that black coat and carried that little quiet dog.

She had sat down next to me on the bench. In a very kind voice, she explained she had come back to thank me for the book.

I jumped in to say, "You're welcome. No big deal."

But there was more she wanted me to know, so I just got quiet and listened.

Kitchen Table Conversation

"I am in town visiting my daughter," she began. "I live in Tennessee."

I felt everything become still. That often happens if it's going to be one of those special moments.

She explained that only a few days ago before she came out to visit her daughter, she was sitting at the kitchen table talking to God. "Please show me the way for me," she was asking.

Going further, she expressed her unhappiness with the churches in her town. She has tried them all, but they did not have what she was truly looking for.

"They are all such good people," she mentioned, "but something was missing for me, and I didn't know what to do about it."

That's when a little tear leaked out of one of her eyes.

A New Awareness

As she was talking, something was happening inside of me. Something was expanding larger and larger. The overriding impression was that this moment was worth everything.

This powerful awareness was brand new to me.

All the pains and troubles of living were worth it so that I could sit there with that lady. In that moment, I just knew that if I had been asked beforehand – and maybe I had – I would have gladly agreed to live this entire lifetime just for that moment, just so that I could be there with this woman on this day. It was that important. It was worth everything and anything.

"And then I come here and find your book," she concluded. "I just know that what's in this book is what I have been looking for so long."

I don't know how long I was expanded out like that. It could have been a few seconds or a few hours, I could not tell. Rationally, it must have just been a minute or two. Either way, I now knew what eternity really was.

"This is my answer from God. I don't know how to thank you enough." With those last words, she stood up, smiled at me, then left in a slow, gentle pace.

I never saw her again. And I don't know whatever happened with her spiritual life. Did she feel that expanded state just then, too?

Free Book – Take One

While in college, I often had the urge to share my religion with people who were interested.

It is a natural kind of thing. When you receive greatly, you naturally want to return the gift in some way. Now I understand it as a spiritual law. In other words, everybody feels this way.

I believe people who don't give just have not received yet. Maybe that takes opening their own hearts.

I got so much from those Eckankar books, I just had to share them in some way.

So how did such a shy kid do this?

I would go to the local shopping mall and set up a card table. On the table I would pile little paperback books with a small, handmade sign that said, "Free Book -- Take One." The free book was an introductory one to Eckankar.

Then I would simply sit nearby on one of the mall benches and do my homework.

No Proselytizing Here

Of course, I had permission from the management of the mall to do this. They saw no harm in it. They knew I wasn't going to accost anyone.

In fact, I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was quite shy in those days. Besides, I had alot of homework to get done.

Every now and then, someone would meander by. A few would pause at the little table, maybe flip through one of the books, then put it down and continue on.

Sometimes people would take one, sometimes not. I didn't care either way. It's up to them what they want in their life. However, what was important to me was the opportunity to make it available. That's all I could really do.

"May I have one of these books?"

"If you would like to read it, please take one."

I thought it odd that people would interrupt my studying to ask. The sign was large enough to easily read. Regardless, I would always reply the same way. Not much to it. Looking back, it was a nice connection with these people.

She Caught My Eye

One Saturday, this elderly lady wandered by the book table.

I think I noticed her on the first pass because she was wearing a black coat in spite of it being spring time. I could understand that. Older folks circulation often wasn't what it used to be, so they can get chilly, especially in an air-conditioned building.

Also, this lady carried a small dog in her arms, something like a chihuahua. The dog was very quiet, just peacefully riding along, cuddled in the crook of the woman's arm.

I guessed I noticed her because she looked a little odd. But maybe there was another reason.

A few minutes after her first pass by, she came by again. Real slow. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her focused on the free books. I wondered if she would take one.

Finally, she spoke. "May I have one of these?"

I gave the standard answer. Then she left with the book. There was no more to it than that.

However, later that day she came back. It had been about three hours since I first saw her, and I was packing up the books.

Not About the Book

When I was expanded out into that worth everything moment, I realized that it's not so much about the book. Oh, it's a great book. However, the lady asked of God, and the answer came. She knew in that moment -- this time for sure -- that God loved her. Is that not worth everything?

I was completely unaware that something so important was happening.

The big gift to me was God had her come back to tell me, so that I would know. That was God speaking to me, letting me know that I am loved, too. Also, that my inner compulsion to sit by a card table in the mall was no waste of time.

I realized -- it became tangible and real -- that all I want to do is be an instrument of God like this again. And again and again.

Rich Beyond Belief

This was just my first time recognizing this "It's worth everything" kind of moment.

Sometimes it happens when I am all by myself. Other times it is with someone else. Regardless, I distinctly know that no matter what I have been through, it was worth it. If nothing else ever comes of this lifetime, that single moment made it all worthwhile.

That awareness is the whole thing. The point. The truth. Most often, I just cannot see it. Yet more and more, I find it there, quietly standing by my side. The simple knowingness that "this is worth everything." No price is too great to pay.

It's not something to believe in. It must be real. Alive. It is a state of consciousness. A higher consciousness, perhaps.

And that's worth everything.

It's the same for you, right?

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