Walking through the open doors and seeing no seats available I stand, soon surrounded by 30 complete strangers. Yes, there really are 30 people within a six foot radius, I counted. Then the familiar “Stand clear of the closing doors please – bing bong” and the subway continues its rush hour journey into Manhattan.
What to do for the next 40 minutes? The train’s ads don’t grab me, my teeth are white enough, my skin is clear enough, I made it through college and I don’t need to sue anybody. In this environment keeping one’s energy moving upward is not easy. But I’ve found some things that work – for me.
First is the recollection that Yogananda wrote his poem Samadhi while riding the NYC subway. Wondering which train line he rode, which stations he visited, brings him closer to me. Invariably I notice I’m smiling.
Second is the realization we are all doing the best we can from our various levels of understanding. Everyone around me is pursuing their happiness as best as they know how – am I any different? This perspective immediately files down some harder edges on those surrounding me.
These two thoughts go a long way towards easing my own mind and put me in a better position for the following. I take a mental snapshot of three people sitting/standing nearby and close my eyes. Then for each I recall their image and silently say, “May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live a life at ease.” As these words are spoken, I imagine a light coming from my heart, out the spiritual eye and surrounding them in a hugging/healing glow. When those three are done, I open my eyes, choose three more and repeat the process. When I exit the train, I continue picking random people and simply thinking “May you be blessed” quickly moving from one person to the next – whoever catches the eye. I should mention here, that unlike riding the subway, I find it best to keep one’s eyes open while walking on the subway platform 🙂
This practice brings me to the current moment. I’m not thinking about a work project, yesterday’s news, the weather, what I should make for dinner or anything other than being right then and there. And sending out those thoughts makes me feel really good. By the time I’m back above ground, I’m smiling, feeling energized and happy to be where I am – doing the best I can given my current level of understanding.
Try it yourself and let me know how it goes. And please share if you have something that works for you.
Beautiful story and practice. I have enjoyed the same method of blessing those around me with simple loving prayers.
Wise words and so heartfelt! Practical tips… Thank you Scott!
Beautiful. I do the same in elevators or just walking. I try to think the same way as well. God bless you.
In situations like this, or standing in a line at the grocery store, we so often go into a mental haze. This is a wonderful way to make each moment count. I will share it with my meditation group. Thanks Scott!
I love this story! Thank you, you have changed the way I can be out in public!