Walking out of the Subway station at St. Mark’s Place, I was excited. I had been anticipating this Saturday morning meeting with Amoun all week.
When I entered the bookstore and asked the young woman behind the counter if I could seem Amoun, she replied, “He’s not here.” For a moment I was disappointed, then, she continued, “Amoun left a note for you.”
Nervously, I opened the envelope and read, “Meet me in the Park, Amoun.”
Breathing a sigh of relief and grateful Amoun had not forgotten me, I thanked the young woman.
Walking through the streets, toward WashingtonSquarePark, I was struck by all of the activity. People of every age, shape and size, going and doing. Each with their own lives filled with hopes and cares. Yet, each connected by an inner reality that was more loving and caring than they could imagine.
Somehow, we had lost our connection with this Reality; this was our birthright and balancing factor. This Reality, or Light, bound all things together and enabled us to operate in the world. Without this Reality we would wither and die. According to Amoun, “it was the life Force and mother and father of us all.”
Entering Washington Square Park this morning, I saw the Park a little differently. Here, in this quiet, green place, amidst one of the largest cities in the world was an opportunity to be whatever you wanted. In a small way, the Park was a representation of our lives. For me, this place became a center of spiritual learning. For the young child, it was a place to play. Senior citizens came here to meet their friends, play chess, and feed the pigeons. Waiting for class, college students learned about love. Street people took care of business and sought to ease the pain of their lives.
Walking further, I saw Amoun, he was seated on a bench in the far right corner of the Park; the bench was next to the area where the chess players met daily to test themselves against each other. As I approached, Amoun opened his eyes and said, “Welcome, I see you got my note. It was too nice to sit inside. I will miss the sun. I hope you do not mind?”
I replied, “I like sitting in the Park. There are so many people to watch and wonder about.”
Getting down to business, Amoun questioned, “So why are you here?”
Never knowing how to answer this question and afraid I would give the wrong answer, hesitantly, I replied, “To learn and grow closer.”
Amoun questioned further, “What else?”
After three different responses concerning recent events in my life, I offered, “I heard this voice in my head which said…”
Before I could finish, Amoun replied, “I know about that…What did you learn from this experience? What was its point?”
Surprised by this, I muttered, “I do not know.” Over the last few days, I had numerous thoughts about this, ranging from how lucky I was to have a spiritual experience to thinking that I’m losing my mind. Also, I wondered who was chastising me? Again, I never considered I was supposed to learn something from it.
I questioned Amoun, “How did you know about that?”
In a very serious tone, Amoun said, “It is the Teacher’s job to know about the student and protect them. This was given so you would learn from it. It was not given so you could feel special or chosen. Perhaps, you wondered if you were crazy or hearing voices like those people you work with?
“It is not like this. You are to learn, then, move on. Spiritual experiences are given to help us learn. Experiences and capacities are not the end of the search. They are road signs to follow. The destination is submission to the Light and service as a servant of the Light. That is the goal. That is the destination.
“Standing in the way of reaching this destination are thoughts, desires, and assumptions. They are part of every day conditioning and are necessary to participate in the world. Yet, they block the door. You must learn to still for a time all these distractions so you can approach the door and open it. All of these capacities are within you. It is the Teacher’s job to show these things to you and guide your progress.
“Within, you have all that you need to make the journey. Capacities that both hinder and help you succeed. When first you came to me, I showed you your own inner Light and, in accord with the Divine Plan, I reflected the Light upon your heart and you were reborn. That first day, you were aglow with your own inner capacity as it sang the song of creation. You were joined with the Light of the universe.
“In part, what we do each time we meet, I help you recognize your own inner roadblocks. These obstacles stand in the way of you reaching the door. These desires and assumptions fill your consciousness and never still; they prevent you from hearing your own inner song and the song of the universe. You are always connected to the Light, but do not realize it.
“The voice you heard was your own higher nature instructing your lower nature to be still and submit to the situation. In this matter, the Light guided your higher nature. The situation was about helping your wife take care of things, but it was much more. The entire journey is encapsulated in that experience.”
Amoun continued speaking about many things; my soul was absorbed in the peaceful Light that emanated from him and that is all that I remember.
After a time, Amoun said, “Come, we have work to do.”
Reluctantly, I roused myself from the spiritual reverie and followed. Amoun was walking toward the street people who were sitting on the grass adjacent to the Park bathrooms. Walking at a brisk pace, he was reaching into his pocket and pulling out a roll of money.
Approaching the dozen or so people who made their home in this portion of the Park, I wondered what Amoun was going to do. As he went from person to person, he called each by name, offered a few words of personal encouragement, and gave a few dollars. With each gift, he said, “Here, use this to care for yourself as the sunshine cares for your body.”
Each of the homeless ones looked at him with kindness and wonder. They had not requested anything; Amoun went over to them and gave. Even from a distance, I heard a few of the people whisper, “Thank you, Amoun.” After five minutes, Amoun had given all that he had.
As we walked back toward the bookstore, I could see some of the homeless ones getting up to purchase hot-dogs and pretzels from the vendors. Others were hurrying toward the liquor store and pushers to buy a little happiness.
From the manner in which the homeless people responded I could see this was not the first time Amoun emptied his pockets. They were comfortable with his approach and grateful for the help offered. While we made our way back to the bookstore, I did not know what to say.
This teaching exchange taken from, “In the Bookseller’s Hand,” Journey of Light: Trilogy, 2004.
Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment, Llewellyn, 2008 and Journey of Light: Trilogy, Authorhouse, 2004. These books are available on Amazon.Com or from publisher.
To contact author go to: www.stewartbitkoff.com or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.