Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I met a woman this weekend who recently married a Korean man after knowing him a short time. His English isn't great, she speaks no Korean, and they have chosen a path together of exploration. They will tell all those stories of history ever so slowly, dictionaries at the ready, expectations put away, and surprises jumping out at them. Their stories will unravel to one another step by step, organically.
How do we connect with people without language? How do we know how? Do you ever have the feeling, the absolute awareness of another person? Someone you don't know? Do you experience it? I do. Just yesterday, first day of class. In a room of 30 some students, one man glowed. I don't know who he is, and he doesn't seem to glow for others, but it's like he is brighter in the room than the other folks. Who is he? What's so special about him? And maybe more importantly, why him? Why do *I* see the glow but others don't? Does he see me? Do I glow *for him*? Do I glow for other people? Do they (you?), too, recognize me before ever knowing me?
This thing happens to me on occasion. A man, a woman, a child even will just glow. One of my favoriates is a woman in her 70's, radiating peace and love, and glowing in my presence when I was in my 20's just out of university. She was a good woman, full of love and simplicity. She glowed. I didn't have a word for it then. Now, yes, "glow".
A painting ... no two! in the Louvre glowed for me causing me to sob right there in the Italian Renaissance wing. Immediately upon seeing the second painting I knew it was the work of the same artist - someone I had never heard of until that day. Now I look for that artist's work and have even gone to Italy just to see one of his portraits. A piece of music gets me, too - The Flower Duet just stops me in my tracks. I know not the first thing about art or opera, but I know that these things pull at my soul.
I've come to believe that past life wisps of memory are the mischief makers in these cases. I can't seem to let go. It's like a thought just on the edge of my mind. If I look too closely, it disappears. So I just sit quietly and listen or watch with my peripheral vision.
Today I look at my student, the one in class who glows, and I wonder if we were friends, was he my mother, were we enemies, did he save me in a past life? I will never know the answers to this, but I certainly have to be careful not to look at him too much, not to try figuring it out in class. While people will not look askance at that in front of a priceless painting, they will when you stare at one person long enough.
Gentle reminders of life and continuity, and the mystery... oh yes, the mystery.