The Man Who Reminded Me Giving More Leads to Joy
This morning I saw a man on the ground, gravity pulling him with the kind of harshness that makes flesh bleed. His body tensed up and shook as two men raced to help. I felt my own body walk towards them in a haze, with the vague notion that I had something to do, as if the world was a stage and I had to play my part. I stood and watched for a few seconds, his mouth gaping like a fish out of the water, a scream rolling out of his lungs. So fragile, so vulnerable. That's how we all are, all creatures on this planet. Then, in the middle of shock, I remembered why I had moved in the first place.
"We have to roll him on his side". There it was. My small part in the play. As I said the words, one of the two men said the same thing. I remember our voices mingling in the air, speaking as one, but perhaps I'm remembering wrong. Memories like these tend to feel like a dream.
A woman stepped in to place her yellow scarf under his head and, like me, she silently retreated. Someone else called an ambulance. The man regained consciousness while a car stopped by. The driver was a nurse who jumped out to help as if she had been led by fate. Two policemen arrived and started diverting traffic. I saw everything play out in short scenes, all orchestrated in such a way that everyone played a role in assisting this man. Some knew him, most didn't. I heard his name being called over and over. Don't get up. The ambulance is coming. Witnesses waited on the side, holding their breath as their quiet day was interrupted by the unfolding storm.
I felt the energy at that moment. Some would say it was morbid curiosity that led people to the scene. I know it was a desire to help. It is innate in us. I felt the rush of adrenaline in my body and remembered the times at work when I had to deal with similar situations. Working in an open space with thousands of visitors guarantees there will be accidents. As hard as those moments were, they were my favourite, because I felt I was making a difference.
We all have a desire to help others, even if that desire seems stunted at times, stifled by fear and anger and grief. We empathise with those struggling, we see their pain and feel compelled to alleviate it. That healing force lives within us, waiting to be awakened. And when we access it, we experience life in a completely different way. There is more joy, more lightness, more beauty.
We are not the only species that feels this impulse to help, but for us humans, it's more than an impulse. It's a spiritual need. Something is missing in our life when we don't contribute in any way. This need is present in all of us, although we fulfil it in different ways. Maybe we like to help physically, or we donate to a cause or lend an ear to someone who needs it. The how doesn't matter. What matters is that the more we contribute, the better the world becomes, and the better we become. Suddenly we realise we're more connected to one another than we think. Their pain is our pain, their joy is our joy. We are one.
This morning we all became one with the man on the floor. Every day we have the opportunity to become one with the world around us. Those we live with, those we interact with, those who pass by... and the physical world in itself. Invariably, there will be something we can do to create a positive impact. Be it giving money to someone in need, picking up the trash we find lying around, moving a snail out of a dangerous zone so that no one will step on him (to the snail it will make all the difference), leaving animals out of our plate... or simply smiling at a stranger. The possibilities are as endless as our creative imagination.
We are currently being bombarded with messages of doom. There is great division among people, social unrest, economic disaster, climate crisis and a pandemic that seems to stretch forever. I myself have been feeling disconnected from the world because all I could see was pain and hatred. But all it takes is a moment of clarity to help us remember this is not the whole story. There is always beauty to behold and beauty to create. So, will you help me create more?
"The secret to living is giving". — Tony Robbins