Code of Silence

A person passes me in the atrium outside a cafe where I am enjoying a cup of tea. He appears “unhoused” and definitely unkempt with rumpled clothing and a definite aroma. But that is just my senses engaging my mind’s projection. As he walks past my table he offers a simple smile and I do the same. A few seconds later he walks by once more and tells me the four digit code to access the restrooms. Then he heads to the loo.

As I write this, his smile and kindness settle in. I notice how my mind failed to recognize the humanity of this person until we shared a quiet smile. And I later received a ‘gift’ just in case I needed to use the facilities. Humans are actually quite wonderful this way. We can meet in a field of silence where prejudice falls away. A moment of quiet acknowledgement can open our hearts to experience compassion in a package we do not expect.

Compassion is of three types according to the Buddhist tradition: compassion focused on sentient beings, compassion focused on phenomena, and compassion without focus. I think the third type encompasses everything. If we can rest in the silence of our original awareness without focusing on anything particular, whatever arises will receive our love. Who knows? Maybe it will walk by and offer us a code to wake up.

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