The Person Behind The Person
Posted by Ashima Goyal on May 7, 2018
At the most recent Awakin circle in Vienna, Nipun shared his journey through a childhood experience when he was touched by a selfless act of kindness by a stranger. He shares it with so much life in the words and I can only attempt to recount it here:
Once during their family trip to India, he met up with his kindergarten friend. They were both now these 14 year old boys now and his friend wanted to show him his new bike and take him for a ride. As they were going on the road filled with potholes, Nipun felt uneasy in the stomach and finally they had to stop for him to throw up on the side of the road. Just then a stranger with a small bag saw them. He went to a nearby stall, asked for a knife, took out a lemon from his bag and gave Nipun half of the lemon, knowing that the citrus juice will help him feel better.
And then he just walked away. Without a word, without any expectation of return. Later on Nipun learned how in villages, many couldn’t even afford one lemon and this man gave him half of his lemon. He didn’t know him. He could have just ignored them, but instead he reached as a brother in need -- and just as swiftly, and invisibly walked away without any fanfare around his generosity.
Years later, the episode stayed with him. The man who took out his lemon, cut it in half and gave it to a teenager who was feeling sick in the middle of the road and walked away. Without any expectation of any return.
One of the participants in the circle shared another story:
Charles Eisenstein was in conversation with a journalist and he asked the journalist, “Who do you think is the most important person in South Africa?”. The journalist replied (no points for guessing!) “Nelson Madela”I was so much in awe of what was just said… Who do we thank for all the gifts that we have in life. So many people have touched me, have left their heart prints on me and I have been thanking them but in reality, there is a whole lineage behind each person who I need to be grateful for. And not just people, who do I thank for the tree under whose shade I sit to rest? Who do I thank for the red tomato that is staring at me from the kitchen counter?
Charles then asked, "But who inspired Mandela? What made him tap into his endless capacity to love? Maybe her grandmother held him when he was a baby, maybe she loved him so much that he was filled with love for all of humanity. Maybe his parents, maybe an aunt or an uncle or a stranger who shifted him with an act of kindness."
Who do we thank for Nelson Mandela? Who is the person behind the person?
It has been only a day since I am back from Vienna and I can’t contain the stories that people so generously shared. I don’t know who to thank them for? Who is the person behind the person? I want to thank generations of mothers and fathers and strangers and nature who all made this collective presence a possibility.