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It happened a couple of years ago in Bogota. We were having breakfast, probably after Sadhana one Sunday morning during one of my many visits. I don’t know why I did it, I guess it was just one of those crazy absurd moments in life. Paula, my dear student, took it all in good humor even though she might have been shocked at my behavior. I think immediately I told Paula my ideas for an article about throwing my “tocineta en su quinoa.” It would be about not being a fanatic in anything and seeing the humor in the little things that we do. It would be about not taking yourself so seriously and looking below the surface of the decisions we take in life to see if there is something else there. Well, it took me two years to write but it’s all here and something more. I hope you enjoy it.

A fanciful name, this time in Spanish. What could it possibly mean? I mean bacon in your quinoa, really? What would happen if you were sitting with someone and suddenly they threw their bacon into your bowl of quinoa? What would you do? Of course, you’re a decided vegetarian and chose your breakfast plate consciously, even though quinoa for breakfast, who chooses that? But it happened. Now what?

It was just a whim, a moment to remember when spontaneity got the best of you and you did something really crazy. Of course, it wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t have absolute confidence in the other person and knew that she would probably scream and then laugh with you but, in the end, it wouldn’t be a big deal because there is a special relationship between the two of you.

 

If it is not too dark

Go for a walk, if it is not too dark.

Get some fresh air, try to smile.

Say something kind to a safe-looking stranger if one happens by.

Always exercise your heart’s knowing.

You might as well attempt something real along this path:

Take your spouse or lover into your arms

The way you did when you first met.

Let tenderness pour from your eyes

The way the Sun gazes warmly on the earth.

Play a game with some children.

Extend yourself to a friend.

Sing a few ribald songs to your pets and plants –

Why not let them get drunk and wild!

Let’s toast

Every rung we’ve climbed on Evolution’s ladder.

Whisper, “I love you! I love you!”

To the whole mad world.

Let’s stop reading about God –

We will never understand Him.

Jump to your feet, wave your fists,

Threaten and warn the whole Universe

That your heart can no longer live

Without real love!

Hafiz

When love is there, every act is a manifestation of the hand of God delightfully playing in every moment of your life. Don’t you think the big guy likes to laugh and shake things up? Don’t hang on too tight to your ideas because He is bound to put them to the test. He is like a grandfather who just wants his grandkids to have fun. Mothers might become exasperated but how can you fault grandfather, after all, he is the Grand Father.

Isn’t one of the biggest mistakes that shape our lives, the idea being that we take ourselves too serious? Our opinions land us on opposite sides of an argument, often with no peaceful resolution. We join political parties and the rest of the world becomes our enemy. We walk on a spiritual path and suddenly we’re better than everyone else. This idea of having “arrived” or having achieved something important in our lives, might even prevent us from learning something new. Thinking definitely defines us. We work hard for our opinions and we hold on to them. Family, education, job security all contribute to us having an opinion. You look around you and say, “How could anyone eat meat nowadays, or milk, or cheese, or butter or anything that takes away from the newborns of any species?” And your arguments are probably more than justified. Especially in a world economy that is suffering from global warming, GMO seeds (genetically modified), cost of meat production, best use of depleting water resources and the list goes on.

Yet, we are trying to live together and that idea of “living together” might be the single most important thing that we do. It is walking together and truly sharing the ideas that stimulate us and make us want to change for the common good. It is also the ability to take a step back and look from where you’ve come, just as someone else is doing the same thing. Love is contagious and allows us to reach people, to share our views, and perhaps plant a seed in the heart of someone else. It’s about goodwill, and if I find the “good” inside of me, surely, I’ll be able to find it inside of you.

Nevertheless, these are confusing times but ones in which you can have a voice and make a difference. I love this young and courageous Swedish girl who is tackling climate change issues and speaking plainly to the world’s leaders. See Greta Thunberg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7dVF9xylaw. She is only 16 years old and yet she has decided to have a voice in the battle she sees all of humanity facing. She believes firmly in that we are running out of time with the climate change question and there are people to blame – us! Or, more specifically, government and business leaders who have failed to take the decisions necessary to fight emissions of CO2, and to effectively communicate the situation in which we find ourselves to the world’s populations. Don’t we all need to be concerned about the world we are leaving behind for future generations: for your children and for my granddaughter?

I know that this started out as a light-hearted commentary on not letting your views get in the way of your own humanity; of being able to see humor in the smallest and the most absurd moments of life; and, I suppose, of hoping that you will begin to see the world through a more compassionate viewpoint. But without you even trying, events around you change your perspective. How can a little Swedish girl go to Davos and sleep in a tent in the middle of winter for her ideas? Read the CNN article about her: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/25/europe/greta-thunberg-davos-world-economic-forum-intl/index.html. I want to see if my efforts to change can make a difference in the world. If it means becoming vegan, then so be it. I never thought I’d say those words, but if a little girl can do it to try and save the world, who am I not to.

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