Receiving

I’ve come to suspect it’s a living truth that we want to give the world what we most need, and when we do, it comes right back to us.

I’ve come to suspect it’s a living truth that we want to give the world what we most need, and when we do, it comes right back to us.

“Hi, do you want a protein bar?” I said to the old Black homeless woman sitting on a park bench alone away from the crowd of homeless people milling about in Prichard Park. 

I had already gifted away the bags I had made to younger folks on the other side of the park. But as I left, looking for the old man I had seen a few weeks ago, I saw her on the bench by the toilets, alone, calmly watching the world go by. Her spirit called, shining in her eyes. 

“What is it?” she asked.

“Chocolate brownie.” I said, hoping she’d like the flavor.

“Yea- thank you. God bless you.”

“Thanks, bless you too!” I took a bar out and handed it to her. But it was hard to walk away.

“What else do you need?” I couldn’t resist asking.

“What do you have?” she asked.

“I have nothing right now. But I’ll come back for you. Do you need things for the winter?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

“Do you have a warm hat?”

“No.”

“Do you have warm gloves?” 

“No.”

“Do you have warm socks or a scarf?”

“No.”

“Ok- well I’ll come back and bring you some. What size do you wear?”

“In what? shoes or dress?” She asked.

“Both.” I said.

“I wear a 10 – 1/2″ in shoes and a 10 or a 12 in dress.”

“But you’re so tiny! Are you sure?” I couldn’t imagine how she’d fit a size 12.

“Yea. I like comfortable clothes. None of that small medium. I don’t like that Medium.”

I laughed. “OK. So where can I find you? Here?”

“Well- I don’t know. I got places to go. I’m trying to take the 5 o’ clock bus to go see my Dad. I move around you know. You tell me when you’ll come.”

I pause. Logistics…”I can come back in two weeks on Sunday.”

“Ok- well if I’m not here you can give the stuff to someone else who needs it. You just put it on the wall, they’ll take it from there. Wait, no it’s better to talk to a person. You don’t know what’ll happen to the stuff if you just leave it.”

“Yea- well, I’ll see if I can come by sooner.” I said, realizing this was a thin plan.

“OK.”

I walked away, wondering how to make it work. As we drove away I wondered if I could run out and get her some warm things before she possibly took the bus. She didn’t look too worried about anything so I worried she’d go without. It was 4:38pm, and if she got to the 5 o’ clock bus I’d surely miss her. 

Driving away didn’t feel right. I found 11 dollars between the glove box and the change pocket in the car. It wasn’t much, but it was something. I asked my partner to swerve back around, I had to catch her. 

She was heading into the toilet, I caught her just in time. I called out- “Hi, you! Hold on!” She stopped. “I don’t know if I’ll catch you again, but here’s eleven dollars. Go buy some warm stuff at Goodwill.”

“Yea you right. I was going to go there. There’s two of ’em.”

“Yea you can probably buy some warm socks and gloves with this and maybe a hat too.”

“Once someone gave me warm boots and they were black and and so warm they cleared my digestion right up!” she shared brightly.

“I believe that.” I said, feeling the pain that perhaps she herself couldn’t feel, imagining what going cold and hungry does to a stomach. I saw her wrinkled hand holding the money lightly, spread out.

“Well it isn’t much but put it away in a safe place.” I said.

“No, no- it’s a miracle!” she cried. “See God loves me and God loves you!”

“Yea God does love us.”I said.

“And I love you!” She added, eyes smiling.

“I love you too. You’re so beautiful, you know?” I said. It was all over her face- radiance, contentment, surrender.

“No, no, you’re beautiful! It takes one to know one!” She said.

We both laughed.

“God bless you lady!” She said. “And your soul! May God keep you safe.”

And I walked away laughing crying.

I’d prayed that morning that I would give to the homeless with humility and grace, and here I was receiving the same.

*Image via Pexels.com

In the deep

This poem came through tears…as a teacher of mine asked I accept my place in the world. It’s time, I know it’s time.

In the Deep
5/25/20

Deep
in the deep of the deep
something profound is stirring.

Even as I cloak myself -
Parvati to Kali,
hiding between the play
of Sun and Moon

something quiet is moving.

Listen:

From heart to heart,
the heart of God.

This is a beautiful incarnation.
There is a majesty here!
A profundity-

Joy!

I walk where spirit and matter kiss...
and
withinbecomeswithoutandallaround

A magnificent incarnation!
It is a Truth.
I stand at the top of the mountain.
It is a Truth.

And from here it is seen so clearly-

all the while the only thing stirring
was Vishnu's play-
His Sudharshan chakra
swirling through this world
quietly
creating another.

Design-in-self

What I sought to create, I found inside myself.

11 years ago (feels like lightyears), for my architectural thesis I designed CeSRON- the Center for Self Reflection, Otherness and Narcissism. A building designed to be a mirror for our inner space…in a culture where self-reflection has become obsolete, replaced by narcissistic self-indulgence, fueled by fear of examining our own shadows.

Little did I know I would go on to create Come to Center, a live mirror that does just that, or that I would end up being that mirror myself for others, down the line…

Little did I know the shadows I was pointing to in the culture have a name- collective trauma, and that it is so universal, it is personal.

This surreal project was a celebration of, in a very tongue n cheek way- the obsolescence of self-awareness- before I had heard of transformation, awakening, healing, or any of the work I do now- ALL of which begins with self-awareness.

The inward turn is where it begins- looking in the mirror of truth.

I was fascinated by the race riots in Detroit- and in studying, and considering what led to the violence and deep separation between people, I saw very clearly, how the inner division leads to outer conflict. I was just so curious about the moment at which a child looks in the mirror and says- “me”. 

I spent final year of architecture school studying Lacan and Jung and Heiddeger and falling in love with Gordon Matta Clark…. I had a hay day questioning everything in a way that ultimately led to transcending my discipline of design and architecture altogether, when staring at the face of human suffering. 

What supported this inquiry was a reflection from my professor- I had finally found one person who saw my hunger for the edges of knowledge, and encouraged me to go all out-wherever you are Rupinder Singh I am so deeply grateful for our time together spent in joyous explorations of the depths of art, architecture, meaning, connection and dissection of life itself! For hiding my keys to get me out of hiding in the bottomless pit that was opening up as I got closer to facing existential truths. You weren’t just a teacher, you were a healer to me.

I didn’t know it then, but the questions alive in all these drawings are: What is the root of separation?

How did we become people? What got made into a self? Who am I? What is this? I even labeled the diagrams things like (my favorite) “Labyrinthine search for self”, never suspecting any of this had to with Spirituality.

And the thing is, I knew then, that all this, is really the search for our center. I just hadn’t seen I was literally searching for my self and that the answers lay within me, and that I could trust all that which I knew, but couldn’t understand. 

That took time. It took living in inquiry and eventually turning inwards.

It took facing the pain of my own inner separation, seeing through the trap of needing to understand things that lay beyond the confines of the mind.

As they say, hindsight is 20-20! Of course it adds up. Having looked in the mirror long and hard, coming to face myself over the years, now I have become the mirror I once set out to design.

Everyday, I hold a mirror to reflect back the truth, power and wisdom that lies within my clients, their shadows, their light and everything in between. In deep inquiry, I appeal to something that lies beyond my clients’ intellects to allow them to step outside the confines of their minds- diving into their conditioning, their traumas to find freedom within.

The journey of personal healing paves the path for our collective transformation. 

I often say, everything is everything- all forms reflect the One. What appears to be separate, is a facet of difference, not separation.

From the outside it may seem like I am doing transformational work, business consulting, designing a building, painting a painting, writing a poem or telling a story… 

From the inside, it’s always been about one thing- falling ever more deeply into loving exploration of myself, and life itself!

in a nutshell

I feel called to serve beauty, wisdom and wholeness. I was recently asked what my ‘message’ is- and here is what I said:

I am interested in existential, fundamental truth. The mechanics of being. In my explorations here’s what I have found to be true:

Absolute Truth can only be approached as Shiv-a – That which is Not.

The reflection of this Absolute is knowable in form as the organizing intelligence of the universe. It manifests within each of us as our own internal harmonic.

Every being is moved by a unique internal harmonic sometimes called God and exteriorized in culture, but of course, the source of creation, of preservation, of destruction- all aspects of manifestation are alive and beating from within us.

The degree of our alignment with the harmonic determines our degree of coherence with the rhythm of the whole, and the fluidity and joy we experience in life.

The illusion of a separate self to be protected, guarded and perpetuated creates distortion in our alignment with the harmonic (never in the harmonic itself). Self betrayal- saying no to our life force- the harmonic- leaves us disconnected from the song our instrument wants to sing.

Liberation, fulfilment, efficacy, joy, and fullness of expression- all lie in aligning with the harmonic. Learning to listen, trust and be guided by it- moving in harmony with all that is, asymptotically towards coherence of the particular with the Whole.

The harmonic isn’t missing in anyone of us. Even those of us who have conditioned and distanced themselves from it consciously or unconsciously, intellectually or somatically…the harmonic vibrates within us all.

To listen, we need silence. To trust, we need direct experience of our own Truth. And the only way to aligned, fulfilled, joyful living, is in.

All that is ever needed, is to go within.

In every moment, consciously allowing the directness of experience to be seen, felt, known, allowed, invited and finally loved…

Hence, Open Meditation.