From the blog I Am Everyone I Meet, author James P. White has stopped by to contribute a guest post to the blog. His post comes in the form of an insightful vignette entitled, Vice President of a Bank.
“I was Vice President of a bank,” the well dressed man whom I’ve struck up a conversation with at the health food restaurant says. We sit side by side in the little place. Our orders are being prepared.
“One day I decided I would do more than just make money. I quit my job and spent months in meditation training with some of the most knowledgeable people in the world. Now I teach businessmen how to meditate.”
“Do they like it?” I ask.
“They do. I know where they are coming from. Their lives are so busy they forget how to go quietly into themselves.”
“Is that where you go when you meditate?”
“I think so, yes.” He is a handsome middle age man who keeps in shape.
“That’s a wonderful thing to do,” I say. “Do you miss business?”
“No,” he says, “not at all. The people I teach are quite successful in their fields.”
He didn’t have to tell me they pay top dollar to learn to meditate. To do it for free wouldn’t be worth their time.
“Where do you teach them?” I ask.
“All over the world,” he says. “Many are CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.” He nods at the young man who brings his salad. I see mine coming.
He continues to talk as we eat. “The world is so filled with stress that most of us just don’t see each other anymore,” he says. “We put our priorities first. Whatever I can do to change that is important to me.”
“And to all of us,” I say. Quite suddenly, without thinking out what I am doing, I take a dollar bill out of my pocket. I put it on his table. “Here,” I say, “I want to give you this.”
He is taken aback. It is obvious a dollar bill doesn’t mean much to him. Nor does it to me.
“No, no,” he says.
“I want to give it to you.”
He shoves it back. “Thanks, but I don’t want it.”
“If I go to the park and hand it to any homeless person, he will thank me for it,” I say. “He will appreciate my generosity and even love me for it sometimes.”
The man doesn’t answer.
“The homeless man wouldn’t be too proud,” I say.
He smiles uneasily. He focuses on his eating.
I do, too. There is probably no excuse for my being so rude. Whoever said meditation was about caring for others anyway? But isn’t it about opening up to the world?
I hurt his feelings, but I wanted to point out the generosity of the homeless. They will freely take a dollar from someone and give thanks in return. We shouldn’t take this for granted.
You can purchase James's book, I Am Everyone I Meet: Random Encounters on the Streets of Los Angeles for 99 cents for Kindle this summer only! Click HERE!