What Was Needed

There were once two mystics talking. The first one said, “I had a disciple once, and in spite of all my efforts, I was unable to enlighten him”.

What did you do?” asked the other.

I made him repeat mantras, gaze at symbols, dress in special garb, jump up and down, burn incense, read invocations, and keep long vigils”.

Didn’t he say anything which might give you a clue as to why all this was not giving him higher consciousness?”

Nothing. He just lay down and died. All he said was, ‘When am I going to get some food?'”

This light-hearted story reminds us that we’re often unaware of what is needed and we miss the obvious. Years ago I heard that a neighbor had become depressed and tried to commit suicide. I went to see him assuming that some spiritual insights would be the balm that would bring him some comfort. After sharing some spiritual truths that I thought would help, I got up to leave and he said, “Tom, I really don’t understand much of what you say.” He paused and went on, “But I like your company and the sound of your voice”.

He felt cared for, not because of my words, but, rather, in spite of them. My company and my presence were enough. I went away with a potent lesson. I learned that I need not work so hard to sound so wise, because that may not be what really heals or what others need.

Oh, how we underestimate the power of just simply listening, expressing a kind word,  giving a touch or a smile, or the smallest act of caring. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt.

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