Stories of Kindness from Around the World

TreeBeard Trifecta

--by twocents, posted

Stanford had an unexpected effect on him.  Higher education at an Ivy League is supposed to turn out the best engineers, accountants, and consultants on schedule every semester in neat little batches.  Instead it sparked in him a deeper question of what it truly meant to be educated.  Instead of quickening his steps to match the relentless drumbeat of capitalism, he arrived at "the understanding that the slower you go, the more you learn: that every person you meet and every building you pass is, in fact, infinitely deep, and he who is really interested in knowledge would move not at all."

So there he was, inviting me to not move at all for the next hour as a few friends for sat in lotus posture, seeking knowledge.  Meditators often crave quiet, pristine environments for their sitting: the shade of a tree in a rolling meadow, a small covey on the bank of a river, a hidden gulley on a mountain.  Maybe Stanford 'messed up' this part of him too, because I was headed into the heart of Brooklyn.  Litter, noise, graffiti, and crime seemed to be in no short supply in this neighborhood.

At the end of an hour, I had been flooded with a glimpse of the possibilities.  Gathering friends to create an inner circle of peace in a hostile environment.  Using that circle as support to bring more positive energy into the community.  Service opportunities at every step, the communal housing he was staying in could both draw more people into their circle, and be a base from which the long, arduous task of transformation could begin to take place in the most difficult of urban environments.  The place just glowed with positive potential.  The rooftop vegetable garden alone was a revolution in a neighborhood where its far easier to get Snickers, Pepsi, or crack on every street corner.

Conversation revealed that I could connect him to many people that push the experiment forward.  This was done, and was certainly service, but I wanted to do more.  I learned that there was a book he was interested in reading.  One that I had read years ago that was close to my heart.  Yet his humble job at the food co-op meant that every purchase had to be carefully weighed, and in this case, the book was to be borrowed from another friend at an untold date in the future.  I saw my chance.

Across the table from a friend in Washington DC after a very long time, I told her about my plans to be a farmer of sorts.  That I wanted to grow things even on the jaded streets of DC, inspired by some growth I had seen in Brooklyn.  Kindness was the seed, and I wouldn't be around to harvest the fruit, but I wanted her to taste it and tell me what its like.  I pulled out the book, purchased 30 minute earlier for twice the price at a struggling boutique bookstore.  A smile card and $2 would cover the media mail postage and the grins, hopefully on both ends of the transaction.  To add to the mystery, I asked her to use her girliest handwriting to scrawl out a note:

Years ago, this man wrote of his unusual and inspiring life, and dreamed of helping humanity see their brotherhood and oneness.  Somehow, I felt that you were treading this path as well, and would find the great joy in reading this book.
If this book doesn't grab you by the 60th page, I trust you'll know someone who might like it, and would find a way to make them smile by getting it into their hands.
Further instructions were that-
The sender should be:
S. Sendnik
1 Infinite Way
Friendship Heights, MD 20758
Behind the note, I hoped that the seed I planted in my friend by enlisting her in a kindness prank would sprout into another center of the revolution within DC.  I knew that the seed planted in Brooklyn would bear bountiful fruit throughout that community.  And if I was lucky, the seed I planted in my own heart, with enough attention and care, would sprout into a towering TreeBeard that stamps out the little ogres of negativity that still cause much mischief.

Readers Comments

yasmeen wrote: What a thoughtful and kind gesture twocents. You are an inspiration.

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