The other day a friend sent us this image of a homeless person lying amidst a drawn virtual room. We have no doubt it was staged by an artist (whoever he/she is) but it still has a feeling of randomness, that life could ironically set things up that way.
There are the symbols of a cozy home, something we all want, and the harsh realities of NOT: a mattress on the street. Imagine!
We make a practice of imagining such a reality as a way of unhooking from our own lack of perspective, the “I don’t have THIS or THAT”, or “I’m not where I think I should be”, or other nullifying judgments. No matter how tenacious those feelings, “perspective enhancers” like the image above automatically cause us to shift, to count blessings and gifts (including the most elemental ones: home, heat, water, friends, food, clothes) and take IN the richness of what we have.
We can only imagine at the reality of the hidden shantytown we see from the train to a friends house. Walking by it, you wouldn’t know it was there. It is only from the elevated tracks, for a brief moment, that we catch a glimpse…
We admire the spirit of survival, or improvisation, of makeshift, all the while realizing that life there is dire.
It casts us back to our own life, as we ask ourselves Thich Nhat Hanh’s great leveling question: