While returning from Vipassana Course, I got stranded at Dallas airport. The usual reasons – were holiday time, the pilot was on a delayed flight, and the flight had maintenance issues, so they put us up in a hotel. Around midnight, they realized that the flight could not take off. Now, I am a veteran of being stranded at the airport, so I went to the assistance counter, got my voucher and made a beeline for the airport shuttle. I could not get through the hotel to call the shuttle. And I ran into five other people looking to get to the same hotel. And we decided to do a uber share. While we exchanged emails and phone numbers to split the fare, we got to know each other a bit – like one of them had worked at Nationwide. We liked fiction books, so we exchanged authors etc. By the following day, when we met to go to the airport again, it was like meeting old friends.

Quote: How do we change the world? one ran.dom act of kindness at a time

When I lived in Bombay, famous for its monsoons, I got stranded at a bus stop. The bus could not go further because of the water, and all the passengers, including me, had to get down and wade back to our houses. While trying to get hold of an auto or a taxi, I met a fellow passenger on his way to an interview. And this was before mobile phones, and we got chatting. He wanted to make it to the interview, and I understood that importance. So, he gave me his home number and asked me to tell his parents that he was ok and that he would call them once he reached the office. I did go back home and let his parents know, who were grateful to get the news of their son.

The point of narrating the above incidents is to highlight how strangers come into your life, and then you move on. There are random acts of kindness that happen during these times. Recent arctic storms that swept through the US and Canada also had many examples where strangers from Florida hired a car to Ohio; Families sheltered in a barber shop.

Open space rules

Are these acts of kindness really random? Have you ever seen nature or the universe operate randomly? Like, the sun rising from the west on a whim or gravity stop working randomly during the day. There is an order to how the world operates, including our bodies. Our bodies are lovely in an almost magical way that they can care for themselves. They are the most ingenious creation – there is nothing that you or I have to do. They breathe, get rid of toxins, eat food, digest etc. Given that nature works in a particular way, how can anything in our life be random?

There is a method to the madness, even if we do not understand it. Every thing that happens happens for a reason. Meeting strangers for a uber ride may seem random, but there is some reasoning behind it; otherwise, it would not happen. The universe does not make mistakes.

With that understanding that whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened – let’s welcome 2023!

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