Traditionally, At the beginning of each yoga class, I tell a little story to the students. And each story is based on my personal experiences & possesses a moral .
Well on Tuesday night, as the class poured into James Howell Yoga Studio , I sat in Siddhasana and pondered over Question: " From my personal experiences, what could I take from them and share with my students?And, how could all of us learn something from / grow from that shared experience?"
And as the students rolled out their yoga mats and patiently awaited the story, tears began to fall from my face. Then, I began a story which was like none other - not the usual "FUNNY" - not the famous "Disney" - but " KALI ."
You see ...
Each Christmas, as part of my community service, I visit San Francisco General Hospital's Ward 5A and deliver gift bags for all the AIDS patients experiencing Xmas in the confinements of the hospital ward. And each year, I come home with a 'GREAT FEELING."
Yet 7 months before Xmas, 6 times (within a 1 week period), I have visited San Francisco General Hosptial's Ward 5A. And with each of those visits, I developed a deeper understanding of not only the meaning of DEATH but also, the meaning of LIFE.
And as I witnessed my friend's physical, mental, and emotional pain, I felt pain. And as I wondered, "how did he get into this situation?" - I refocused on my intentions of assisting in improving his health. And as I pondered over , "where's the hell is his family?" - I realized, "that would be ME."
So, I delivered the " raw juice ". So, I delivered a mission district burrito. So, I sat with him (in the General Hospital 2nd Floor Park) and watched a Samoan Family's Bingo Tournament. So, I occasionally rubbed his feet. And when he was released from the hospital, I was there to bring him home.
With each breath of life, we have the opportunity to become involved in the political process; we have the opportunity to eat, sleep, walk, laugh, bike and run as we please; we have the opportunity to enjoy fine elixirs; we have the opportunity to buy extravagant cars & houses; we have the opportunity to live vicariously through television, magazines & video games; and we also have the opportunity to serve not only our immediate family, but our friends, and our community.
After wandering around this earth for 48 years, I've realized, although we can choose a path to follow, we may have no idea what lays ahead. One day you can be healthy and the very next moment you can be watching " Miracle on 34th Street " within the confinements of a hospital ward. Nothing is for ever, And eventually all empires will fail (including our individual human existence) .. .. . .
Tibetan Buddism has stated, "if you contemplate "death" daily, then you will live a better life ...." I say, "when the opportunity arises to serve your family, friends, or community - DON'T WALK AWAY! Do what you can do, cause there may not be a tomorrow ..."