The Stranger

It puzzles me to this day. 

Does death itself have any impact on our ability to truly grasp what living is all about? It should. 

When the end is certain beyond a shadow of a doubt why do we fail to see life in its true simplicity?

Is unconsciousness really our default? Then it dawned on me. Who is your friend? Who is the stranger? There are people we tolerate. There are people we celebrate.

That saying “You never know what you have got ’til it’s gone;” isn’t it fascinating? Stop to really examine it and you will be surprised by what you discover.

We all have patterns of memory, the highs and the bitter lows. Many moments we have categorized in our lifetimes. Although these memories form who we are today, suffice to say we can’t remember every moment of our lives. Every moment came to us one at a time.  This cannot be refuted by anyone. 

How much do we value this incredible kindness regardless of all the changes, physically, mentally, genetically, socially, internally, and externally that we undergo? When we see who we are, at any point on this journey, there is an innate recognition of our self.

The physical properties of time do not allow for regret. For each moment is completely new, a gift unto itself. Even though the ocean is millions of years old, each wave that is formed is fresh and new under the sun.

From start to finish to contributing in its own way an expression of an eternal now. This wave’s existence matters.

The bars that imprison us are just variations of three things in my opinion: Fear, guilt, and judgement. Just imagine if, for just one week, you gave these three very close friends a vacation? What would transpire? What would fill the void? There really is no reason to answer it in words because there aren’t any.

A very personal experience can shed some light. A few years ago I had a very tough job which involved working long hours listening in on various nefarious characters. 

I worked four sixteen hour shifts back to back. At the end of it I was completely wiped out physically and mentally. My face was pale due to lack of sleep. I was shaking and completely frazzled. When I went for dinner I was at the verge of a complete breakdown. 

At that instant a voice from within me said “Be kind to yourself.”

It was so clear. With whatever strength I had left I just held on to those words. I ate my dinner had some wine and went to sleep completely blown away. I didn’t have the energy to hold on to anything else.

“Be kind to yourself.”

It is not a light matter, by any stretch of the imagination, to have this connection with the very deepest core of who you are. 

Countless times throughout my life that little voice has made such an impact. What can I say? It’s not that the gift was given, but that I choose to accept it. That is it.

So who is the friend? Who is the stranger? 

Living with those three: Fear, Guilt, and judgement, if those are your friends, how will you ever grasp the magnitude of this statement?

 “What you are looking for is inside of you.” (Quote by Prem Rawat)

In that vulnerable state, where you really don’t know and admit it, magic happens. 

Because the stranger within is in actuality your best friend. How can I possibly thank the one that has made this a real possibility in my life? 

Simple. Accept the gift anew each and every day.

You see it’s not good enough that someone else gets it. 

This wave which you are is very real. Only when that feeling is truly awakened within will you know.

With whatever sincerity is within you, to arise, awake, and rejoice in the understanding of the fact that you are alive. Being a human being on the face of this earth today, what else can be felt except gratitude?

That is truly our default. There are many roads to Rome. 

I am so incredibly fortunate that there has, is, and will be someone till my last breath who showed me how to befriend the ultimate stranger.

Atul Ranchod


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