As I drove home for Thanksgiving, I remember something that the Dalai Lama had said last summer when he came to Chicago. He didn’t understand why Americans need so much constant stimulation, why no one here seemed to enjoy the peace and quiet of being in thought. I turned off the radio, and it began to rain.
As the raindrops fell on my windshield, I watched the wind push each of them upwards across the glass until it vanished from my sight back into the air. I started following a single drop from its birth as it landed on the surface of the windshield, to the end of it’s life on the glass, as it darted left and right, but always upwards, and it almost seemed alive.
I began to think that, sadly, these raindrops were very much like the lives of a majority of humans today. If you envisioned the wind that pushed them on as Time, and the plane of my windshield as Space, my drive home became like one of those episodes on National Geographic that show time lapse photography of the same spot of a forest floor over years, in a matter of a few seconds.
Each raindrop was potentially “born” in a different place and a different time. But those two factors combined essentially dictated its path, or “life.” Depending on where on the windshield it started out and when, the raindrop would essentially let its path be controlled by the external. But humans are different aren’t they?
How many people do you know whose lives completely reflect the person they are within? My guess is if you were born in a certain time (let’s say the 1980’s), in a certain place (let’s try America) very few people we know even know themselves well enough to conduct themselves outside of Time or Space. For example, we probably went through school, and then looked for a way to financially provide for ourselves, and for most of us start a family. Do any of us know why? Or realize the detriment in never posing the question?
Another scenario. Due to Time (1950’s) and Space (South Africa), a white child that landed on the windshield in these circumstances could be expected to lead a path that would not be of a laboring class. He would be handed the belief that he was a first class citizen above the rest that were included in the apartheid. He would receive a better education, be racially segregated from non-whites, and told that he had to marry a white woman. Will he challenge his path?
I noticed that the raindrops were fanning out like sunrays due to the curvature of the glass. Fleeing from one another. All of the drops starting from the same beginning, racing towards the same end, divided.
Today, every child is raised with a set of beliefs that will be dictated by time and space. It is very common today to fear, segregate, hate, and even kill, over these two factors. The economical, religious, racial, and national conflict happening all over the world today, is largely due to a path people are born into. In our youth, a poor child doesn’t know to be divisive with a rich child. A white child doesn’t know to segregate itself from a black child. A Jewish child doesn’t know to hate a Muslim child. Sri Lankan Tamils vs. Sinhalese, Israeli vs. Palestinian, Koreans vs. Japanese, Arab vs. Black… It is all learned through an inherited set of beliefs. Without looking within, and keeping your life from being led by the external, it is impossible to realize that we are all water.
In the end the human body is made up of more than 70% water. Will I lead my life as if I was a raindrop?….. Will you?
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