Or how to grow closer by flipping someone the bird
While walking along the road, a man came across a monk carrying a heavy burden. “Oh wise one, please, spare me a moment to help me understand: what is Enlightenment?”
The monk looked up at the man, set his burden down, and stretched. As the man watched, a look of joyful comprehension crossed his face.
“Thank you, wise one. I see now; everything is so much clearer. But then, what do we do once we have achieved Enlightenment?”
The monk picked up his burden and continued walking.
After five days away, it is ridiculously good to be back home in Playa and to re-connect with everyone in the WiFi Tribe chapter. It's mind-blowing to me how quickly this place has become home and these people have become family.
As I walked down Fifth Avenue tonite, I got so much joy from weaving through the crowds of tourists and dodging the hawkers selling everything from cell phone cases to erotic massages.
In a brief moment of what I can only describe as Enlightenment, it felt like I was intimately and inextricably connected with everyone and everything in the city; that we were all just players on a stage — individual participants in a global game.
At one point, one of the hawkers I passed by tried to get my attention by jokingly calling after me using a Spanish insult. With a grin on my face and all the love in the world, I flipped him the bird over my shoulder without looking back. I could hear him and his friends as their laughter shrank into the distance and they went on with their night as I went on with mine.
Somehow, in that moment, that gesture — which usually signifies anger, loathing, and malice — formed a bond of shared humanity. Rather than drive us apart, it connected us in a unique and lasting way.
It's an immensely powerful thing when you feel a sense of agency — yet also of belonging in, of, and to this world. When you have a solid foundation of who you are and what you believe — but are empathic towards others' perspectives. When you pursue your dreams — but don't neglect to balance your responsibilities. And when you set your will in a specific direction — but are open to all the unexpected side trips along the way.
In other words, when you somehow — however briefly — recognize and reconcile some of the key paradoxes of the Human Experience.
For me, moments of clarity like tonight are few and far between. But just knowing that such simple beauty lies beneath, behind, and beyond the complexities of life helps me to keep walking when the night gets dark and the path gets difficult.
I know that one day I will lay down my burdens for good and exit stage left. But until then —
Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa dentro