October 26, 2022- Buddha’s smiling countenance greets all who walk into the sanctuary. The door to the large and welcoming home is open. I quietly enter and take the most obvious seat, as the reader of a sacred verse intones his selection. Other readers of sacred verses follow. Then we have a discourse, on the life and legacy of al-Bab. A delectable repast does not interrupt the flow of this discussion. Ice cream and cake guide us out of the session, though, as they remind us that this is a birthday celebration, albeit in honour of a Being Who left this Earth 172 years ago. The event is a testimony to the centeredness of the hosts.
The delighted twelve-year-old shows her increasingly organized and comfortable new home. It is probably the best residence she has ever known. It is, above all else, proof of the diligence and fortitude of her grandmother, who will never give up on her, or on her brother. Only the centeredness of that indomitable woman, and her own mother, both of whom I have known for over thirty-five years, makes things like this happen.
The tall, well-groomed gentleman takes his place as a senior non-commissioned officer, in the reserves of his branch of service. His wife of nearly four years stands proudly at his side. His father, far off in a different state, nonetheless reflects on the success of his only child. It is the centeredness of the family, especially of the young man’s grandparents,that transferred to him, and saw him through one of the toughest challenges he has had to face, in a good many years.
The little girl, in a far-off theater of combat, asks her father if all will be well for them. He stifles tears, and assures her that no harm will come her way, as long as he draws breath. The occupying soldiers look at the two of them, and are somehow reminded of their own children, in a more peaceful place. They let the two of them pass, and the father remains centered on the safety of the most important person in his life.
Centeredness, presence are far more basic gifts to any one of us, than we sometimes recognize. They are what truly connect us to the rest of the Universe. They are the true manifestations of this thing called love.