Yesterday I had a lovely evening spontaneously with a very dear friend. There was a silent magic about it. Sitting at La Pizzeria, we ordered some Vodka with fresh lime and some finely sliced green chilly to add that subtle spice to it. And Nachos which are served with liberal quantities of melted cheese. Conversation flowed effortlessly. From here to there to everywhere and nowhere in particular. At a point she shared that in a chat with another dear mutual friend and they casually remarked, ‘We love Kiran just the way he is’ (with all my frailties, vulnerabilities and gifts, I gathered ;-)).
In between I took a few minutes to call my 7 yr old little darling Sufii which I had been ‘avoiding’ for 10 days or more- since I could not see her when I had said I would and not wanting to feel the pain. And like always, when I called her, any pain that I had imagined vanished. She was so in the moment sharing about the wonderful time she had been having- going to the beach and playing with her friends, the many gifts that she had got for Christmas and more.
With the liberal helpings they serve and not a big appetite, we skipped the main course and went for the dessert- fresh fruit assortment with ice-cream. I was eyeing a chocolate dessert a child was having on the next table. And just sharing and listening to the flow of life. Having paid the bill, I was filling the feedback form with ‘Excellent’ everywhere, I came to ‘Suggestions’. What was there to suggest after such a lovely experience. What came to me was to say.. ’Maybe you could surprise us!’ Before I could put pen to paper, the waiter appeared with some lovely chocolate preparation and a scoop of ice-cream for each of us! This ordinary miracle added more spice than the green chilly to vodka.
Talking about ice-creams, the icing on the cake was a spontaneous connection with this mutual friend who had remarked about liking Kiran the way he is. Interestingly, he happened to be in Aundh and so we met at home and the evening stretched well past midnight and the conversation flowed some more over coffee. An argument about the nature of true power. My experience tells me that real power is subtle. And the subtler and more silent we become, we have access to something vaster, grander though quieter. The Tao does nothing at all and yet everything gets done. And he spoke about gross power and she brought the two worlds together by showing how we were in some ways saying the same thing in different ways 😉
I was reminded of the opening quote from the wonderful book, ‘Power vs Force’ of David Hawkins:
“The skilful are not obvious. They appear to be simple-minded. Those who know this know the patterns of the Absolute. To know the patterns is subtle power. The subtle power moves all things and has no name”
As the conversation flowed, one of them asked me, ‘What’s the best compliment you have ever received?’ A difficult question to answer. I remembered an appreciation from a once ‘reluctant friend’ (not so long ago) who is now more accepting of the enigma that I can be- often containing contradictions that used to frustrate him. How he had expressed thanks in the recent ‘Tao of facilitation’ program that I conduct.. He said that though in some ways nothing had changed, the lens of his glasses had become cleaner. And so he felt so much more love and acceptance.
But as we were quiet I reflected and said, No! The best appreciation I have received is what you told me earlier during dinner, ‘We like Kiran just the way he is’ (an expression that included all of me especially some inexplicable weaknesses and didn’t want anything to ‘change’ in the way that we often want people to ‘change’)
And then I get a call in the morning from a friend who says- why haven’t you written a blog for so long. You must post something today- the metaphoric last straw which got me to start writing.. And it started with this little anecdote from the awesome Anthony de Mello..
I was neurotic for years. Anxious, depressed, selfish. And everyone kept telling me to change.
And I resented them, and agreed with them, and wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried.
What hurt the most was that like the others, my closest friend kept urging me to change. So I felt powerless and trapped.
One day he said, “Don’t change. I love you as you are.”
Those words were music to my ears: “Don’t change. Don’t change. Don’t change… I love you as you are”
I relaxed. I came alive. And, suddenly, I changed!
Now I know I couldn’t really change till I found someone to love me whether I changed or not.
Is this how you love me, God?
– The Song of the Bird, Anthony De Mello
Which parts of yours are you wanting to change? Can you instead love and accept them just the way they are. I can promise that they are there for a reason, for a season, for serving you and others in ways that you may not quite see yet. And a day will come when you will smile at all that you did not like in yourself and others. Why not do it now? 😉
Discover the fascinating inter-connectedness of all of life.