DAY 32: 5 Minutes & 20 Seconds of Gazing – The Hungry

grey LA sunset
Brian Hogan

Brett, my partner in sun-gazing, has been feeding the homeless every week since the new year. A small group of dedicated folks meet at the yoga studio every Wednesday night at 6:30. They make over a hundred burritos for the first hour, then break off into a few vehicles and drive around hollywood passing out the spoils for the second hour. Because I had two encounters with homeless folks over the last week who turned out to be very pleasant people with very timely messages from the universe (see previous posts), The Bag Lady was even rooting for me, I figured I’d have a great time and might just get more mail. I committed to this over a week ago and had been looking forward to it, but when I woke up Wednesday morning, BAM! I was sick. Some kind of cold, with the body aches and the chest cough. It was mild but absolutely unbearable, if you know what I mean. I debated canceling but decided I wanted to follow through. I remember what Yogi Bhajan, the guy who brought Kundalini Yoga to the West, would say “commitment is the first step toward happiness.” But now as we were pulling away in Brett’s truck my latest wave a nausea and body aches was making me second guess myself. We stopped at a crosswalk and I truly considered jumping out and bolting right there, straight to the NyQuil and straight to bed. Then a homeless man wandered past the windshield, in front of us. We locked eyes and then he continued on his way. Suddenly he does a double take, then a triple take! Then this dirty stinky smile bag turns back around again and with a mischievous glint in his eye he yells “you guys are Jehovah!” Then he starts giggling to himself as as stands there swaying.
Who us? 

I mean we were going to feed “his people” I reasoned, and the universe had kind of settled into the rhythm of using the homeless to send me messages of late, he would make number three. I guess this was reasonable I figured, because we all get into little ruts, so why not the universe. Suddenly I felt a surge of energy, I knew my cold was still there waiting to return at midnight and turn me back into a sick little pumpkin, but my decision to stick it out and go had been confirmed, it had been blessed. By this guy. And I felt energized. Brett and I giggled about the strangeness of the Universe’s directness in communicating to us of late, and by the time we arrived at the studio I was feeling regular, calm and energetic. The cold was there underneath, but for now I was doing what I was supposed to do, and I felt just fine. 

Everyone was friendly and welcoming. And it turns out, fascinated about sun-gazing. I felt like a guest on each and everyone’s separate talk show giving the same spiel about the sun and the ten seconds and the healing and how I might not need to eat and I might get super powers and I mention NASA yadda yadda. Everyone is enthralled, and secretly I loved every second. But it does always surprise me how genuinely interested and curious most people are. I think maybe it’s because we all have the sun in common. It gives us all the possibility of life, whether fare skinned or furry, and everybody has heard of it. 

So I continue to pontificate about the potential to go without food altogether as I roll up burritos to give out to some very hungry people. This irony makes me think what a powerful equalizing tool toward freedom the sun would really be if it can fill us to the brim and replace the need for food. The gazing is said to work on all of our appetites It works to diminish our wild cravings in all areas of life and calm us and satisfy our energy needs. Are our appetites really a prison that we have been deceived into believing we can’t live without, that prison being food. I think about how if we didn’t need to eat, or if we knew we didn’t need to then this whole “feeding the homeless” thing wouldn’t be necessary, and so much of the stress of life, the fight to survive and the inability to rise up to thriving would just–poof–be gone in a snap. In the blink of a sun-filled eye. 

As we pull away to begin our burrito blitzing adventure Brett brings me and fellow burrito slinger Wendy into a sort of foot-ball huddle over the center console of the Audi and says in whispered tones “now, the first thing you need to know is this, we don’t say ‘feed the homeless.’ They may take offense to that word. We are offering people a burrito who look hungry.” Apparently “homeless” is an offensive word in their culture. And why not, I think to myself. Every other culture gets to be offended by some stupid-ass meaningless slur, why not the homeless, er, I mean hungry, I thought. If any group has the right to be a little short tempered, I reasoned, it’s them. And yes they have a culture. And it is connected. At one point we dropped some burritos and water off to a couple in a tent and after a powerful thank you without missing a beat the gentleman points to another tent shrouded in darkness about two blocks away, and says to make sure we get those guys too. They look out for each other, I marvel as we take off in the Audi’s warm bubble away from the cold Los Angeles night air. 

At one point after it gets dark I mistake a bush for a homeless person when we are trying to get the last few burritos passed out. Time is of the essence now and a bush and a pile of belongings start to look very similar at a certain level of darkness and at a distance. I noticed the gratitude I got from these people when they looked up and made eye contact was different. It was deep and powerful, because they were communicating the way they actually felt at the time. It effected me more because it was nice to be reminded of what deep and real gratitude is than because people were saying thanks to me. It was seeing the actual gratitude mirrored back to me that had the most impact. Most “thank you’s” we get during the day are from people responding in the way that is appropriate, not in response to actual gratitude welling up in them. I’m not saying people aren’t sincere when they say it, I’m saying it doesn’t contain power until the words match the emotions. Most of the time when I’m saying thanks i’m really saying “this interaction is winding down, peace out.” So I am sincere, I want to be polite and I do feel a mild obligatory appreciation. But I’m not thankful, as in FULL of thanks, I’m sputtering along on fumes, thanks, thanks, thanks, just leaking out, amounting to nothing, hardly noticed. But these folks tonight, these expressions in their deep set liquid eyes, they came from the depths and their words matched their state of being; that’s where the power comes from. They don’t even know they have this power to effect another so viscerally, it seems, they are just being sincere. But that’s the beauty of it, all it takes to accumulate real power is to be sincere, because it’s rare. And like any rare commodity, it ends up being in high demand. 

SIDE EFFECTS: My cold came rushing back to me as soon as Brett and I got home. 

BENEFITS: I am feeling a universal guiding hand, and the homeless, I mean the hungry, are it’s fingers at the moment.

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About Brian

About Brian

Brian is a Writer, Clarity Coach, Filmmaker and Adjunct Professor who loves teaching and learning, and living in the uncertainty of it all.

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