Had a session with my trainer at the gym this morning. Post-snow, the gym opened late, the weather is cold and grey, and I've got to get back home and log on to my virtual work environment, which, frankly, I'm dreading. I'm starting to feel less and less interested in work, but that's another story.
Coming out of the gym, a guy that works at the gym asked me how I was doing and held the door for me as I exited. This is not what you think...not a guy being nice with "pick-up" intent. You see this guy is a diminutive soul, and not to sound mean, but he is challenged in some way, physically and possibly mentally (though I could be totally wrong). I'm not quite sure how to describe him physically so that I can capture that. All I can say is this: he asked me how I was with an interest so genuine, I might have thought myself the only living soul around. He looked me straight in the eye, beaming, and waited for my answer. His smile instantly lifted my heart, and his kindness reverberated in me, filling me up with happiness. Isn't it funny how a person like that, who has likely been the brunt of much distress and teasing in his life, can give so freely of himself? And so genuinely?
In yoga teacher training, we talked a lot about being your authentic self, and about Santosha/Santosa (Contentment). This person—I'm going to get his name next time I see him—has obviously found both contentment and authenticity. You can't fake intention like his. And it makes me think of that age-old question: Why am I here? It's a question many of us struggle with when looking at our own lives, or wondering about the disarray of other people's lives (a homeless person, criminals, addicts, etc.). I have no clue why I'm here, and I'm sure most of us don't, at this point in our lives. But I'm not so blind that I can't see the lesson of that guy's life, even if he is unaware: he is an inspiration to others. On a cold and dreary day, he is not at home wallowing in his challenges or shortcomings. He will never be the prominent athlete, or the gorgeous ladykiller. He will never even be of average height. But he is out there, imperfect on the outside, filled with another kind of beauty most of us will never be lucky enough to know.
This is yoga in every life: The ability to radiate kindness, and the ability to see it.