An Ode to Looking Inward
I was sitting in the airport recently reading a book when I heard someone sobbing nearby. A middle-aged Indian woman was seated alone in a row of seats at our gate. Her shirt was the color of an orange and she wore a dainty shawl of rose flowers draped over her shoulders. She was on the phone; it was obvious that someone had just given her some unfortunate news.
From my vantage point, I felt the freedom of this woman's sobbing. She wasn't holding anything back. It was uncontrollable, raw, and intense: a moment undeniable under any outside circumstances.
She continued to cry and I continued to read. Though I must admit, it was hard to focus..
I managed to get back into my book and after some time - subconscious or not - I noticed that she'd stopped crying. I shot a glance over and saw her with her eyes closed, steady and tall, seated with a finger pressed to the center of her forehead; breathing deep, heavy breaths. Her intention was clear - to bring herself back to a level of homeostasis. For a moment I watched her willpower in admiration, then I went back to my book.
I finished my chapter and looked up again to see her seated like stone. To all wandering eyes, at peace.
In this brief encounter with a stranger, I recognized once again the value brought to our lives by the practice of looking inward. We're bound to face unpredictable storms in our lives. A simple phone call has the power to perch the heaviest of weights on our shoulders. It's why we always have to be ready and willing to accept whatever reality presents itself before us. Acceptance is the key to healing. And it's not always easy to bleed acceptance from the purity of our hearts. It's a skill like any other, and to develop the skill of acceptance you have to practice it.
Watching this woman sit perfectly still after going through an experience of suffering served as a testament to her own practice, and a glimmer of inspiration for me to strengthen my own.