~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course
He was why I’d come. And now, he is here in a wheelchair before me.
I squat down to be eye level, taking his soft, outreached hand between my palms. His joyful eyes and his broad smile beam from behind his white beard, seeming to welcome, not only me, but everything. His entire countenance emits ‘yes’ to each particle in existence.
I mention having seen the movie about his life, “Fierce Grace,” and when I reference a deeply moving scene, I find myself starting to cry unexpectedly. Ram Dass tears right along with me, the water rolling from his eyes, a short sob catching in his chest. Yet, these movements seem inconsequential to him, as typical and natural as a breath or a heart beat.
After our short, yet deep, exchange, I feel a profound tranquility that I can only attribute to having been in the presence of a highly awakened human being. Steeping in that peacefulness, I find a place in the auditorium where Ram Dass will offer his talk.
Having suffered a stroke years before (an incident he refers to as having “been stroked”), Ram Dass’s speech is slow and deliberate. His face often moves, as though about to utter a word, but then stalls, as he breathes, pausing longer, just waiting. Never afraid, a roomful of hundreds of people hushed to hear his next utterance, and he waits. Sometimes there are minutes between words.
It’s as though his heart’s been cracked open, revealing to him some secret beauty. As if he now sees something so precious, it is nearly beyond words.
I want to know what he knows. See what he sees. I want to tell him about the dream I had of the two of us riding tandem on a bicycle, while he showed me all the signposts along the way.
So I find him after the talk, sitting in the passenger seat of a minivan. As I appear at his open car door, he looks at me without surprise or judgment. He knows what I have come for, even if I do not. Before I can speak, he’s pulling me close with his one moving arm, enveloping me in a full hug.
I feel the depth of his heart. Become acutely aware of my own. Am surprised when I hit a wall. Only able to let the Love in, so far.