Don't waste anything.

I remember when I was a child not finishing my food. Perhaps, I only ate a small amount. My parents would say something like: "Think of the children in Africa who are starving. Finish your food. Do not waste it." There are people out there who would decry my parents for saying that. They would say such things create a guilt ridden mind in an innocent child.

This morning I woke up at 3.45am. I practiced yoga and did some work. I took a nap and by 9am I went out to buy a drink of juice. As I neared the corner store three street children swarmed around me hunting for change. They were relentless. I ignored them, as one has to...otherwise you'd go mad. The only white guy around - descended upon by poor Indians because white people are renowned for their charity... or perhaps it is just because white people round here are sitting targets. The shopkeeper shooed them away.

I have traveled and seen a lot. I am sure that there is something very sacred in life. But I wonder if it is to be found in the temples. Why is man so suspicious? Why do we have children that won't be loved? What is justice? Has a judge ever known what it is? I doubt it. The animals never bear the kind of indignity that man allows himself to get into - unless they are forced to by man.

I know where I live is relatively affluent to other parts of the world - certainly other parts of India - but go a stones throw from where I sleep and you will find people living in dire poverty. Krishnamurti once said "there is no love in this country" speaking of India - and how right he was. Why is love so tremendously elusive? Why do silly traditions go unquestioned? Why must the parents of the female child pay a stupid dowry - why not be fair and let each parent pay half? And instead of pouring money into heartless weddings that do nothing but showcase our ugly insecurities - why not put that money into a fund to contribute to the upbringing of the children that will naturally follow the consumation of the marriage?

Why does the swarming crowd move forward blindly without questioning things deeply? Why was Joan of Arc totally without fear, whereas and you and I - we can't even take a small risk without screaming with fear? What we call risk taking - betting on horses or getting stupidly drunk - has nothing to do with courage. Only the pure heart knows what courage is. Only the responsible mind knows what courage is. We are slaves to expectations and the comfortable life. How afraid we are to make mistakes! And what fools we are because of that! Ha!

Wherever there is affluence without wisdom one sees the twisted waste of a self-destructive mind. And wherever there is poverty there is more misery. Somehow we become immune to the terrible sights we see on the television. Somehow we turn a blind eye to what is unjust - because hey, we got to survive! That may be true on one level - but so are our endless excuses and our endless justifications.

What is it that can tranform all of this? What great heart can bring about change? The artist can write a poem that somehow really touches us. The filmmaker can make a masterpiece that brings people to tears. How vital art is to lift us to other dimensions! How vital is the forest to keep us wedded and grateful for this earthly dimension we briefly call home.

The doctor can clean and dress a wound. The waiter can deliver a meal with affection. The rich man can start a foundation that really does things intelligently, that helps people in structured, meaningful ways. In different ways we can all make a difference. But we will fail in all our efforts, if we do not take the time and the space to have a long hard look at ourselves in the mirror of our relationships. How else can we know ourselves?

I guess what my parents said is not all that bad. You know, I never drop anything in the street - I always throw things away in trash cans - even if I have to carry junk for miles. I never waste food.

I knew a saint once. A woman came to him. She had very little time to visit with him. "Please Sir, tell me what can I do?" - she felt small and insignificant when she asked the question - but her whole impoverished heart was behind it. You could see that very clearly - if you knew how to look. You know what he said? He said, "Don't waste anything!" If you knew how to look - you could see her grow in strength and empowerment as the love behind his message unfolded inside her.

The ostentatious are never truly happy. Those in touch with their heart have a simplicity about them. Be on the look out for the signs of complexity and "show" in yourself. We are so complex. We have so many excuses. So many justifications. Don't waste time. Don't waste words. Don't waste money. Don't waste energy. Don't waste anything. Learn to be true to your word. Learn to keep your word. Learn to forgive and to have fun. If you can trust yourself, if you can forgive - you have taken the first step to being a real friend. And boy does this world need friends! Let that be your gift to humanity. The gift of your own honesty, the gift of not wasting anything. Love starts with being honest with yourself. It does not end.

If you really lived true to those words: "don't waste anything" - you too would be a saint.

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Mind is the closest thing to our Reality...Be careful how you use it. Businessman, yogi, teacher, addicted to laughing...