Trust the Universe

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Traveling alone for this past week has reminded me of something: How being alone tests your faith in the universe (literally “one song”, or the fact that we are all part of one big song). Being among crowds of “strangers” can make you question your every move, and make you wonder if you are really OK. I suppose that is why people always tell me that I’m brave to pack up my things and go driving off on my own, just hunting for adventures.

In new situations, your brain is constantly re-assessing your interactions with the people and environment around you and forcing you to re-evaluate your responses. I noticed my natural reaction to this stimulus was first to become needy…to force long eye contact with people, or to hold onto conversations a bit longer than normal, just to have a false assurance that I was OK. Then my yoga training kicked in, and Swami Satchidananda’s words began to guide me: If you want nothing, then everything will want you.

I found that as soon as I gave up my insecurities about having my needs met, and just focused on being interested in others, I was finally greeted with the bountiful, meaningful connections I had been craving, and even offered a place to stay for tomorrow night. Another way of saying it is “Let Go and Let God.”

It reminds me of a particularly frustrating week for me in San Francisco some months back. I was feeling sorry for myself one morning and thinking that I was so poor I didn’t even have bread in the refrigerator with which to make a cheese sandwich for lunch. I was reluctant to go ahead and pay for groceries once again with my credit card at the grocery store because it wasn’t payday yet and I still hadn’t developed a good plan for making ends meet. It was that exact afternoon; I dropped my business laundry off at the dry cleaners, and my dry cleaning lady came from the back of the store carrying a bag with 3 loaves of bread, and offered for me to take them home. She explained that they (Chinese) prefer to eat rice, and her mother brings home food like this from the senior center that they just can’t eat. That was an emotional moment for me, being handed bread from a stranger in a clear time of need (very New Testament!).

I took it as God’s way of saying, “Look how I will provide for you. Keep your peace, continue to do the job I have set before you, and you will make it through.” I guess looking back on it, that was my own personal miracle. As far as I know, I am the only customer of that dry cleaners that takes home loaves of bread with the laundry–sometimes so much bread that myself and my roommates can’t use it all.

My lesson from this trip was to trust the universe. It has shown me, once again, that I will be taken care of.