Yesterday I met a friend on the bus. He told me about a well-being festival he was involved in which was on later that day and the following day. I promised to attend the following day.
When I checked the festival flyer my friend had given me, I saw that they were going to have talks and advice by medical experts and alternative healing practitioners. As I'm not really into any of that stuff, I had misgivings about attending. But something told me I needed to be there. I decided to go later that evening. I arrived around 6 pm.
My friend was happy to see me. After we'd exchanged hugs I had a look around the stalls. They had books about health matters and black spirituality, clothes, jewellery and health potions, which I'm not into. I noticed two guys chatting. One said he knew me from somewhere. He told me where we'd met before. I vaguely remember speaking to him about 2 or 3 years ago at a bus stop. The man he was speaking to excused himself and I continued chatting to him. It turned out to be a very interesting dialogue. Here are the highlights.
"How's life with you?" I said.
"Life has been like a rollercoaster ride but it's getting better. Today has been a very good day," he said.
"Well, I see life getting better and better for you."
"You think so?"
"I know so."
"I've been feeling a lot better and more relaxed. At work I just go with the flow. If someone tells me they want things done a particular way, I do it. If someone else tells me to do what I’ve done in a different way, I do it. I treat everyone as my boss."
"I love the idea of treating everyone like your boss," I chuckled.
"It makes life easier that way. I don't get into arguments, I am nice to everyone. If someone says something bad I say something nice in return. I think to myself 'I like you' even though I don't even like the person. You know what's amazing? After I've been thinking this, I end up liking the person anyway. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
"Yes, I do. It sounds to me that your intention to love the person connects you with the part where we are all One. You then end up experiencing the love for real."
"I give out so much love," my friend continued, "but I don't get it back."
"You probably do get love back in different ways. But if you’re expecting love in a particular way, you might miss all the good around you."
"Why do I keep attracting people who are no good like ones who do drugs, drink and lie?" he said. "I'm a good person and I want to attract nice people but I keep getting the same old."
"Hmmm, maybe you're focusing too much on what you don't want, which is attracting more of the same."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, if keep thinking that you don't want to attract people who are not good for you, then that's where you're putting your attention. You'll end up attracting them in your life experience."
"What should I do?"
"I would bless the people you don't want in your experience, wish them well, then focus only on the kind of experiences you want. As you said, you already give out a lot of love and that love will attract the "right" people to you. You are always attracting love anyway no matter what you do. Besides, you did manage to attract today's experience with all these people. It's all good, right?"
"You're right. Sometimes I feel like I could be doing so much more but something stops me. I don't know if it's the way I've been programmed or what," he said. "When I was a child life was an adventure. I was brought up in a very rough estate but it didn't matter. I liked going to places on my own. I would visit galleries and go for long walks. I was free to do anything I wanted. I wasn't bothered by anything. I could chat to the other boys even if we didn't get on."
"I wasn't even into fashion then," he continued. "My gran used to make my clothes. I would just pick up whatever was there and go. One day my friends started taking the Mickey that my trousers didn't have zips. I didn't know they were meant to. After that I wanted to wear the same trousers as the other boys. I miss that boy; he felt like he was the real me and I miss him. Listen to me telling you all these personal stuff, I don't even know you."
"Believe me, what you're talking about doesn't only apply to you. I'm sure many people can relate to what you're saying about the real you. You're talking about the Innocence in you which we all are. It is that Innocence that is never bothered about anything or about fashion."
"I used to love drawing and reading the Bible. When I read the Bible I would hear the water against the rocks, I would smell everything and hear everything. It was as if I was there in those places. When I became an adult I lost all that. I can't even remember the last time I picked up a pencil. When I read the Bible I don't feel anything."
"You know, just because you are an adult shouldn’t stop you from doing what you love."
"I feel like my "Innocence" is like a bubble and there are all these sharp edges around. Now my bubble has sharp edges and I'm afraid to do what I want. I've needed this sharp edge to survive. I used to be very quiet but then women took advantage so I started shouting back. But that's not me; I want to be that boy again who was free to do things, just like these kids."
My friend was referring to the children in the hall who were frolicking around.
"Awww, the kids are lovely," I smiled.
"Kids give so much joy. My son has really helped me to let go of a lot of anger. He once asked me a question. He said, 'Daddy, why are you so angry?' I used to always have an answer to all his questions, tell him I don't know, or get him to look it up in a dictionary. For once I didn't have an answer. I just sat there pretending to watch television but I was actually watching him. I couldn't tell him why I was so angry. After that I mellowed out a bit."
"Children have a way of getting to you, don't they? You can't lie to them as they can see right through you."
"My kids are the only ones I can be honest with. The rest of the time I'm just putting up a front so I can fit in."
"You're talking about wearing masks, aren't you?" I said.
"Yes, I am. I want to know who the real me is behind these masks."
"I don't mind masks. I like playing with masks. Right now I'm playing with my black mask that's why I'm here at this festival. I can then use the mask to get to know the Innocence behind the mask. I can feel your Innocence."
"I want to experience that Innocence all the time. I want to be in control."
"The way I see it, we've been conditioned to experience the world through logic and believe only in what we can perceive with our senses. This keeps us focused on appearances and survival mood. When you focus on logic you forget about the part of you that lives in wonder and is very creative like the boy inside of you, your Innocence. The "Powers that Be" like to keep us focused on survival issues. If we were all being our Innocent selves we wouldn't put up with what the world has to offer. The way to experience the real you is to let the Innocence take over. Start off by doing what you love."
"I have a book called Don Quixote. I keep picking it up and reading parts of it and putting it down again as it is very heavy. What you've been saying reminds me of stuff in that book about retraining the way you see things."
"Really? I'm aware of that book but I've never read it."
He gazed at me for a moment and he said, "Are you a teacher?"
"People keep asking me that. No, I'm just someone who shares her experiences of life. They are not meant to instruct but to inspire others to be true to themselves, to get back to their Innocence."
"What do you believe in? Do you go to church?"
"No, I don't follow any religion. I believe in God. It doesn't mean I don't read stuff. I read things that resonate with what I believe within me. I even discuss ideas with people who share my believes. But I don't follow anyone. I only follow myself, the God within, which we all have."
"Do you know much about health?" he said.
"I only know about connecting to myself, the God within, so I am healed when I need to. Why do you ask?"
"Well I feel drained all the time. Sometimes I feel unsteady on my feet. I feel strength in my upper body but my legs are constantly giving way."
"I can only speak from my own experience. I know I used to feel weak all the time and I would feel physically sick after doing any kind of housework. I then realised that I was meant to trust in God to do everything: to let go and let God."
"I don't know if I can take on what you're saying. How can I let God in when I can't see, feel, touch or hear him? I only know that if there is a power then it has to be all that I am and all that you are. Other than that, I can't imagine anything else."
"Forget about God. You know Love exists don't you, even though you can see it?"
"Yes, I love my kids."
"Well, God for me is inexhaustible Love. When I say I let Love do everything, it's rather like riding on a bus. I'm not exhausted when I'm on the bus because I am being driven to my destination. That's what I mean by let go and let God or Love."
"I think I know what you mean. I didn't expect to be here today. I planned to go to work, see my daughter and decorate my place but something told me to relax. When I was walking by this building I noticed this festival and I came in. I've met some very nice people here today."
"So you did let go and let a Power bring you here. So back to your question about health, it could be you need to let this Power energise your body? I don't know."
"I need to get to another level," he said.
"What do you mean?"
"Love. I want to experience more love."
"You already love your kids, don't you?"
"Yes, but another level. I want it in a relationship. I don't know how to go about meeting that special person. Do I become a Rasta, a Muslim, a Christian then meet my soul mate that way?"
"Do you have to be in a religion? It's up to you. I believe Love is in all religions. Why don't you focus on being yourself, the Love that you are? As it is written in the Bible: 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness..."
"'And all these things shall be added unto you.'"* he said.
"Exactly! Just focus on getting to know your Innocence again and being kind to yourself and the rest will follow. I know it will."
As we were chatting I noticed the organisers were preparing the mic indicating someone was going to give a talk of some sort. I felt it was time to make a move.
"What's the time?" I said.
"It's nearly 7."
"I have to go. I'm not going to stay for the talk."
"It's been nice talking to you," my friend said. "You've given me a lot to think about."
My friend asked me for my website address and I gave him one link. I then said goodbye to my organiser friend. My friend said I needed to stay as it was an important speaker but I told him I needed to leave and wished him well. Besides, I had done the job I had come to do: deliver a message to my friend.
During my bus ride home I thought about my friend's anguish about wanting to be his true self. How many people feel like him? At one stop there were lots of passengers, which was quite unusual. Someone told me the tube (underground) wasn't working. People were fighting to get on board the bus. When the bus eventually pulled away, one passenger's face was squashed against the doors.
The packed bus represents the way most people have been programmed to be in survival mode. The programme is so compelling that you think the human rat race is the only way of being. You'll do anything you can to hang on to that reality. However the Voice of Innocence doesn't play favourites. I believe He is constantly calling out to everyone to wake up to their true selves. Some hear the call and wake up while others need to be woken up the hard way.
For instance, on a recent bus journey, I noticed a man was fast asleep. When we arrived at the last stop I tried to wake him up.
"Excuse me," I touched his shoulder, "it's the last stop."
That didn't rouse him.
"Excuse me," I shook him, "it's the last stop."
He still didn't budge.
I decided to let the driver do the deed and the driver announced on his microphone. His boom was so loud it startled the passenger out of his sleep. Well, if he didn't want to be woken up the easy way, he did wake up the hard way.
My friend at the festival has a deep longing to be his true self. I have no doubt that he'll get to express that Innocence, he just has to let it.
I am Innocence.
* Matthew 6: 33
Related articles: Keeping Up Appearances; Breaking the Ice; No Chance!; When the Fire Gets Out of Control; Why I Love Playing with Masks; Surrender to Love - Revisited; The Lost Art of Bone Idleness; When I Expect Wonder I Experience Wonder; Bringing Out the Best of Someone/Something; Some Thoughts on Meditation - Haha; The Gift of Unbelief; Be Like a Little Child and You are in Heaven