The following is an experience I captured a few years ago while traveling for work. It is now ready to be read by someone other than me. Here it goes. Enjoy.
It is a Wednesday in April 2014 and a man is sitting on an airplane at the Los Angeles International Airpot (LAX) heading to a business meeting with ‘senior management’. Sadly he is not looking forward to it. A year ago around this time he would have welcomed the opportunity and enjoyed the dialogue. For some reason, the enticement and challenge of it has lost its luster and has since departed. The pain in his back between his shoulder-blades has returned. The prior week during a session with his personal coach/mentor, they talked about his back pain. She addressed his concerns with work, channeled his energy and instantly (mysteriously) the back pain vanished.
More than an hour ago he entered LAX after holding business meetings in San Diego and Los Angeles over the past couple of days. Being at the airport brings a buzz of excitement mired with angst from travelers dashing from security checkpoint to their gates and from gate to gate. The lines are long and he can feel an energy of anxiety from the hundreds, probably thousands, of travelers hoping to get through security screening as quickly as possible. This is especially apparent at LAX, the largest international airport in the United States.
On this day, like many of his fellow travelers, he heads to the security checkpoint at a hurried pace amongst a herd of people with luggage in tow. Looking up ahead, in the distance, he spies a maze of security ropes winding back and forth seemingly going nowhere. Maintaining his hurried pace he scans the area up ahead for long lines, or those who might be standing in his path. Today is a little strange though, because there appears to be a vast openness up ahead. To his surprise and delight there is no one in between him and the maze of ropes at the security check-point. This experience is very peculiar to him, especially at a very busy airport like LAX. ‘Wow! This is amazing.’ He mutters to himself. ‘I do not need to zig-zag around people. The line is all mine.’
Then, up ahead in his direct line of sight walks a petite woman who appears to be a Buddhist monk. She is clothed in an earthy colored robe and her head is as bare as his. She floats gracefully along. Maintaining a hurried and quite frantic pace, he cannot help but take notice of this heavenly women as they both head towards the same destination.
Just before reaching the entrance to the security line, she pauses. Glancing down she studies her boarding pass, then looks up towards the line. Everything around him seems to slow down and he can sense her every movement conducted with a deliberate calmness. She is clearly in the moment, simply there and nowhere else. ‘Hurry’ does not exist while she attempts to figure out if this is where she should be.
He is still moving full speed ahead and, sadly, ‘hurry’ does exist for him. Immediately, without hesitation, he pulls-up on her left-hand side and zips past her to be the first in line. Oh boy, what an accomplishment! He is in the presence of someone who emanates nothing but love and he is first in line. He is first, in a line with practically no one in it. Wow! Really?
He proceeds through the winding maze of ropes which converge with another line of travelers. After all of the haste to be first, he is now last. From the corners of his eyes he sees the woman gliding his way, eventually easing right next to him. Overwhelmed with a feeling of shame, he ponders; What is wrong with me? I could have stopped and offered to assist this wonderful woman, this beautiful spirit. In my ignorance and self-centeredness I rushed past her to be the first in line, to go somewhere I do not care to go.
Standing next to him and he cannot help but feel the power of her presence. Like a flame lighting up the world he can feel the warmth of her love and peace. She need not say anything. He can feel it! Immediately “Be Here Now” pops into his mind. He can hear the voice of spiritual teacher Ram Dass, “Ahh, here you are. Be in the moment. Be here now.” The words are peaceful, gently caressing his mind, but he does not heed them and continues on his way. Feeling like he is as far as possible from being in the moment, it makes him wonder which moment he is really in, other than being the first in line, the first through security, the first to get his stuff and the first to his gate.
Still waiting to go through security, he is far removed from the moment because his mind has already made it through the line. He has picked up his luggage, grabbed his stuff from the bin and put his shoes and belt back on. His focus and concern then shifts to figuring out where to get a cup of coffee. He momentarily catches himself and thinks. Wow, is this really where my head is at? Clearly I am not in the moment and far from ‘being here now.’ This saddens and frustrates him.
Although his head is somewhere else, this experience entices him. Admiring her presence, he yearns to look upon her out of appreciation and respect. But, he cannot, because he does not want to make her uncomfortable by staring at her. Instead, he glances at her out of the corner of his eye. He wants to approach her with a simple ‘Hello’. Even better, a hug would be preferable so he can magically absorb her peacefulness. Of course, he does nothing and continues on his way.
The line moves along slowly, when he musters up a bit of courage and offers her the opportunity to move ahead of him in line. This is a sad attempt at releasing some of the guilt that he holds onto from his previous indiscretion. With enlightened eyes she looks at him, then gesturing with her hand she gracefully declines his offer. He concedes and continues to move along.
In that moment it hits him that her slow and deliberate gesture resembles a mudra of sorts, similar to the Veradra Mudra denoting the act of charity and benevolence. He wonders what she is feeling and thinking with all of the frenzied travelers around her. Does she even notice any of it? She must sense my frustration and impatience. You don’t need to be an enlightened being to feel this.
Standing at the long stainless steel table, which bears the scrapes and scratches from the thousands of travelers who have gone before them, she places her items in the drab grey plastic bins. Looking at her suitcase, he picks it up and places it on the table. This is it! His opportunity to redeem himself and, in some way, connect with this amazing and peaceful being. In the softest of voices she thanks him for assisting her, but he still desires to make a connection; maybe to speak with her, hug her, shake her hand…something, anything. But, his reluctance prevents him from doing so. Plus, his fear of embarrassment doesn’t help much.
Placing his shoes, belt, laptop computer and other items in the bins he slowly makes progress towards the dark black conveyer belt. As he does so, he continues to pull her bag along. This is it, he is nearing the end of his encounter. Although, he wants to remain there with her, to somehow find a way to soak-up her divine light and leave the world behind. Finally, they make it through security screening to collect their things from the table which is situated at the other end of the conveyer belt. Still by his side, she looks to him with loving eyes and gently speaks, “Thank you”.
Grabbing his bags, he continues on his journey, when a sudden and crisp sting of ‘life’ smacks him in the face. His inner dialogue kicks into gear, once again. Wake up! Get going. Get your coffee! Check your email! Do you have any voicemail messages? Are you supposed to be on a conference call? Where is your gate? Get to the gate as soon as possible and get in line so you can be the first on the plane. Make sure you get on early so you can find bin storage overhead for your suitcase. Make sure you have something to read, make sure your laptop is nearby so you can do some work. Did you go to the bathroom? You don’t want to be stuck in a window seat and can’t get out to go to the bathroom during the flight.
The pain has returned to his shoulders and back. They hurt from carrying the burden he places on himself. He begins to notice his jaw is tightly clenched and he is grinding his teeth. He ponders this brief encounter. Really? Is this the life I envisioned? Is it possible that this ‘world’ is my creation? I don’t have to feel this back pain, I don’t have to clench my jaw, I don’t have to grit my teeth. It is all up to me. Could it be that the peacefulness this woman embodied is also within me and all I need to do is allow it to manifest?
The airplane takes flight towards the heavens, carrying him to his next destination.
I am humbled by this divine light that manifested in my life nearly three years ago while traveling through Los Angeles International Airport and has remained with me ever since. Although this moment was ephemeral, the experience of this wonderful woman entering my life will remain for an eternity. I will carry this with me on my personal quest for understanding.
Where do you want to be? You can achieve all you desire in life, as long as you believe. As the title of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book clearly suggests, You’ll See It When You Believe It.
I send you love and happiness!