The Shorter the Better
When I saw this Punjabi Sikh wheeling a lawn mower from one home to another the next block over, I thought, "Here is something that challenges greed. This guy is either borrowing or sharing a valuable tool." While walking a suburb in the North East of Calgary, I got captivated by this simple gesture of intelligence. I pointed it out to walking companion Radha Madhava. "Here is someone who's bright, neighbourly and not hung up on needing-one's-own-utility at the expense of a credit card that puts you into debt. Something can be said also about the man's sensitivity to the environment. Whether intended or not, his practice of share or borrow goes in sync with nature. You're looking at one less machine to manufacture.
Turning a corner and an oriental woman saw the dhoti and kurta (my robes). She related it as Buddhist garb likely, so she put her palms together. We found this lady rather open to introduce herself. It was a warm exchange.
Simple, brief and relevant exchanges and observances like this have me pine for going back to the marathon walking. Just one day of settling in a home or community is like a dog sitting on a burdock plant. As soon as he gets up he realizes he's collected these spikey burs stuck to the hair, hard to shake off. I would like to underscore this analogy and compare it to the human dynamic, the politics and gossip of a place. Whether it be an internal reality within our own community or the bashing that goes on in the larger secular field, it exists and it's strong.
Being single, being celibate, being a monk, and being a roamer has its advantages. When you stick around a few mere hours you just watch the stool fly in.
My last major exchange with a person of no acquaintance to me happened at the Calgary Airport as I was enroute to Toronto. A native fellow came straight towards me saying, "Hey Dude, how are yah! I just came from Nepal. My girlfriend has spent time with the Krishnas." It was a positive moment, perhaps 2 to 3 minutes in length of a discussion.
What helps me? When you see the spirit of a person the experience is wonderful even if the encounter is brief. When you see matter there's nothing but trouble.