pg. 2Child
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On the first trip, in a remote village in India, Sarah met a friendly former Buddhist monk. By his appearance, she gathered that he dropped out of the traditional Buddhist path long ago, but kept some of its features in his daily life. His clothes were the saffron color worn by other Buddhists in the region, but they were cut differently and adorned with a unique belt and a colorful array of beads. The man’s dark hair was tied behind him in a braid; his beard was long and wispy. He spoke several languages, one of them English, and Sarah hired him to be her guide. The only condition to his being hired was that he be permitted to bring along his adopted daughter, a 9 year old girl who spoke the same languages as he. The little girl was by his side, and Sarah instantly agreed, knowing that their company would be a welcome break from traveling solo, and that she might also learn a lot from the pair.

To Sarah the child was quite a marvelous sight, with the beautiful skin mentioned before, elegantly thin and small in stature. Her Moroccan sari was perfectly wrapped and adorned with a trim of finely woven details. The girl had a glowing smile and big, deep, dark eyes of clear beauty and rare magic. Her eyes seemed to gently free Sarah’s spirit from her own limitations and she consciously noticed the transmission of a joyful, uplifting feeling coming from the radiant little girl. Sarah thought to herself “this is going to be a lot of fun.”

The guide turned out to be quite good in his role. His experience, intelligence and confidence made Sarah feel very safe and well cared for. As they moved through the landscapes and villages of India, Sarah soon became intrigued with the relationship between the guide and his daughter. They hardly spoke with each other, and when they did it was usually in whispers. They obviously had a close relationship, and their mere presence spontaneously drew admiration and affection for them, from the core of Sarah’s heart. They did not need to talk much at all, and the father never told the child what to do. It was strange to see, but it felt natural and appropriate at the same time ... the pair treated each other as absolute equals.

Sarah mentioned this to her guide and noted that the relationship he shared with his daughter seemed to break the mold of the usual parent-child relationships in India, or anywhere for that matter. She praised him for bringing up such a wonderful child. But his response surprised Sarah: “Call me irresponsible” he said without emotion “I have no parenting skills and am not inspired to follow in my parents’ footsteps. When she came into my life, quite by accident, I largely let her be and simply gave her love, care and companionship. That is all and nothing more.”

With those words, the former monk stared blankly into Sarah’s eyes, and she realized the depth of what he was saying: The little girl came into this world with a sense of timelessness, understanding, a big heart, and the wisdom of an old soul. She was complete, as-is. The monk did not attempt to teach her anything about the ways of his world, his religion, or even his points of view, and so her ageless wisdom, clear mind, and boundless heart stayed intact. Sarah did not know it at the time, but she had much more in common with the little girl than she ever could imagine.

One of the first signs that the child was truly unique, happened as they were strolling through a busy open market. The child was leading the way and Sarah had paused behind them to look at a table of technological items — wireless telephones and digital music players that stood side by side with the ancient cultural wares of India. Suddenly a commotion erupted as a burly shopkeeper came charging out to the girl and her father, shouting obscenities and waving his arms wildly. Sarah instantly thought that either the man was mentally ill or was on edge from tragic events in his own life, and now was taking it out on her friends.

However, the child’s response was as unexpected as it was remarkable — she didn’t react at all! Sarah could see that the girl, using her eyes and a slight movement of her head, fully acknowledge the angry man but she kept the slow pace through the market, absolutely undisturbed. The man must have been five times the size and weight of the little girl, but his physical space seemed to be of no significance in the equation.

The force of the man’s energy seemed to pass straight through the child and her father. His energy and words hit nothing in them. Sarah was frozen in her tracks and she noticed other people stepping back from the man’s emotional shock wave, but her friends seemed to expect it, fully accept it ... but not have any interest in it. Because there wasn’t the slightest reaction coming from them, the shopkeeper instinctively seemed to know that he had no business with her friends. Sarah could see his eyes immediately dart around the market looking at the numerous other people whom he had frightened. A few more seconds of arm waving and angry words at the shivering crowd concluded his emotional explosion.

Sarah became immersed in this experience and replayed it over and over in her mind. She came to the understanding that the serene attention and utterly authentic, calm demeanor of the child and her father, seemed to render them — in the most practical, worldly sense — invisible to the hostile man. “That was very cool!” Sarah thought. She had never seen or heard of anything like that before.

Even more remarkable was the child’s response to Sarah when she asked her about the crazy man at the market. The child, wearing what Sarah thought must be the Buddha’s smile, said “Be kind Sarah ... because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

Continued next page ...

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