Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On the Light Rail with His Holiness The Dalai Lama.

"I think that there has been a change in my attitude towards myself and others. Although it's difficult to point to the precise cause of this change, I think that it has been influenced by a realization, not full realization, but a certain feeling or sense of the underlying fundamental nature of reality, and also through contemplating subjects such as impermanence, our suffering nature, and the value of compassion and altruism." H.H. the Dalai Lama The Art of Happiness 

I haven't thought about this quote or its author in a very long a time, too long in fact. It popped in my mind today, while riding on the light rail, on my way to meet my girlfriend at the eyeglasses store to help her pick out a new pair. My errand was a coincidence though, I had planned to take the light rail somewhere today and it worked out perfectly that she needed a second opinion; I've always enjoyed watching her shop. 

Truth be told, I've been a bit annoyed by other people lately, which bothers me because I don't want to be, and my trip was an attempt to remedy this problem. I don't exactly know why, but riding the light rail is very therapeutic for me. People on the light rail seem perfectly innocent, I can't help but feel a closeness to them and subsequently, the thought of being annoyed by them seems absurd. It might have something to do with the direct purpose of the situation, that we are all traveling to essentially the same place, in the same direction. 

Whatever the reason, riding the light rail puts me in a good mood. Case in point, at 18th and California, I watched a very small older woman plop herself down, dramatically, right in the midst of a group of high school kids who were obviously trying to prevent just that. She was all bundled up for the cold, and happy and full of energy. She gave me the impression that she was on vacation and when she took off her beanie, revealing a hip cut of pretty gray hair, she looked young and lively. 

She shook her hair and, almost mockingly, looked at one of the boys straight in the eye and asked "Is this ok?" 

"Yeah" he said. 

She proceeded to settle in, once again dramatically, like she was acting in a play, every move was accentuated with certainty. The kids were slightly taken aback but were quick to adjust and they soon continued their affront to society.

Two stops later the old woman was engaged in a riveting and loud discussion on facial piercing with the whole group of them, most of whom had proof of their expertise and let her touch their set jewelry, which she did with an almost childlike awe. Two or three stops later, they had all left, the kids and the older woman, happy and giggling, content with their differences rather than annoyed by them...

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