Now that the weather is warm and sunny, I decided to do my morning meditation in Washington Square Park in New York City. The park has a beautiful fountain that you can sit around to enjoy the cool air and mist. It’s located next to NYU and The New School and is always filled with college students who sunbathe on the grass, read, do school work and hang out between summer classes. There are artists who draw with chalk on the pavement, musicians busking for pocket change and there’s even a pianist who rolls a baby grand piano into the park and plays for everyone’s enjoyment. It’s a park full of people, doing their thing.
I sat on a bench, across from the fountain, put my backpack next to me and my phone on my lap so I could check the time, if needed. I got comfy, closed my eyes and began. About 10 minutes into it I heard a woman saying, “Excuse me. Hello. Hi…?” I knew she was very close to me so I opened my eyes slightly to check it out and there she was, standing right in front of me. “Are you awake?” she asked. “You need to watch your backpack and phone. They could get taken. This is New York City.”
I was meditating, I told her, thinking this might change her mind somehow about my lack of awareness. “You should put your backpack behind you and your phone in your pocket or something.” I thanked her and shifted my stuff around a bit in response. She walked away and I closed my eyes to finish meditating. About 10 minutes later I began to come back to my body and wiggle my toes and hands as I hit the 20 minute mark. As I blinked my eyes open, I saw the young woman standing right in front of me. “You didn’t put your backpack behind you,” she said before I could utter a word. “I watched to make sure it was OK while you finished meditating.” “Thank you,” I said with a bit of pleasant surprise. “ That was so nice of you.” “No problem. Have a nice day,” she replied as she turned and walked down the path. A feeling of bliss washed over me. People sometimes decide on their own what a person needs then give it freely. I was given a gift that morning – I was helped by someone who just cared to help, without asking. I don’t even know her name, but I’ll never forget her. Stay mindful. Be kindful.