Faces in the City

When the train arrived in Sydney yesterday morning at 7am, I was welcomed by the mad cacophony of city noises coming from all directions. With life so peaceful on the farm, the madness of city life is at times a fun dose of change.

Rather than joining the peak hour madness though, I walked to where I wanted to go. It took about an hour and a half, which was enjoyable at that time of day, particularly after being on the train throughout most the night.

Looking at all of the sad faces stuck in peak hour traffic and walking to work, I struggled to find a smiling face amongst those I walked past. Feeling the heaviness of the lives I saw, I could only count my blessings. It’s not like my own life is short of learning or challenges though. It has had its share like everyone’s. We are all here to grow and I am certainly not immune from this process.

But I’ve had the courage to move towards directions of my heart, time and again over the years. And for this, I now enjoy the rewards of calling a peaceful place home and knowing great peace within myself much of the time.

Sad or frowning faces don’t scare me though. I still smile at them, as I did yesterday morning. One of two gave a mild closed-mouth smile in return, before quickly looking away. Gee people are scared of people at times, even of friendly faces. What a world we live in.

There were only two genuine smiles that were returned to me, leaving me wondering what I had missed on the news, if everything was so dismal in a city of millions of people. What did they know that I didn’t?

But in the end, they were just tired faces, caught up in city life. One of the genuine and open smiles I did muster came from a man cleaning out the front of a building. He smiled when he saw me pick two frangipani flowers up off the ground, one for my hair and one to smell as I walked. Oh how I do love the frangipani scent. He was a nice man and said good morning before carrying on with his work smiling.

The other smile came from a guy wearing a T-shirt that said Fear Nothing. When he saw me read it and smile, he smiled back and walked on. Fear Nothing indeed city people, especially do not fear smiling people!

The day was a busy one. But life blessed me with the unexpected meeting of a friend from days gone by. It was lovely to run into him and bring each other up to date on each other’s lives. I smiled later, on the bus to a beach suburb for a meeting, thinking of how nice it was to cross paths with him again and how lovely it is to run into old friends unexpectedly.

While waiting for that bus, a woman walked up to the stop in a gorgeous dress. She looked comfortable and quite refreshing amongst all of the dark city clothing of others. So when she sat beside me, I told her how I thought she looked great. She said I had made her day as it had been so long since she’d received a compliment, poor petal. We then fell into a nice chat before her bus came. It doesn’t take much to start a yarn with the right people really.

With everything done, including a quick trip to the Indian supermarket for some sweets, yum, it was back onto the train home. Arriving at the farm about ten at night, all that was heard were crickets and frogs singing. All that was seen were stars and a shimmer of moonlight.

And as I woke to the birds this morning, I thought of those poor sad faces walking the same beat again today and tomorrow, and on and on. And I felt overwhelming gratitude that I’d found the courage to break free of that life myself long ago. I lay there feeling a rush of gratitude and as a result, my day started with a beautiful smile.

As I sit on the verandah now with the sun just dropping behind the mountain, I send love out to people trapped into lives they don’t want. There is nothing wrong with city life if you want it. I’ve enjoyed it immensely at different times. But looking at those faces yesterday morning, there were definitely a lot of people who were not enjoying their lives.

Metta is a Buddhist word for loving kindness. That’s what I send them now, all of those sad city folks, loving kindness. I also send it to me. We cannot forget ourselves when sharing love and good thoughts. And of course, I send it to you too, my beautiful family of readers and similar minds.

May all beings be happy. May all beings be peaceful. May I be happy. May I be peaceful. May all city people be happy. May all city people be peaceful.

And may you be happy. May you be peaceful. Wherever you are, whatever life you are living, may you be happy, may you be peaceful.