The piercing eyes of empathy, and compassion:
I was feeling a little hungry one afternoon while roaming the streets of Bangkok, and followed my nose to an area where multiple food vendors were set up. I was thinking about how good fresh cooked Thai food was going to taste, but little did I know life had a test in store for me.
I had all kinds of smells filling my senses from all the Thai food being cooked by the various vendors, and they all had something different to tempt you. I wanted to try food from several different vendors, but settled for Pad Thai, Papaya salad, fried rice with shrimp, a bottle of water, and some fresh cut Mangos for dessert.
I was walking happily over to an area next to the food vendors where plastic tables, and chairs were set up for hungry customers to enjoy their meal.
My mouth was watering from the smell emanating from the fresh cooked food on my tray. I was definitely ready to sit down, and dig into this delicious food; until she stepped in front of me...
She was a little girl. I am guessing that she was 5, or 6 years old. She was definitely Asian, her hair was black, but she never made eye contact with me so I could only guess about their color. Her clothing, as well as her face, and hair appeared to be slightly dirty, and unkept.
I tried to say hello to her both in English, and Thai, but she never said a word to me, she just stared at the food on my tray. I wasn’t sure if she didn’t understand English or Thai, was shy, or just very hungry.
Soon a woman who looked in her early thirties who I assume was her mother walked up to get the little girl. She smiled at me, and bowed as if to apologize for her daughters behaviour.
The only thing I could think of to do was hold my tray of food out towards her as if I were giving it to her. She looked at me with a surprised look, but didn’t reach for my tray.
I started walking toward the tables, and motioned for her to follow which she apprehensively did. I set my tray down, and motioned for them to eat. The little girl wasted no time helping herself to the food on the tray. I smiled at her mother, and walked away, I wasn’t going to stand there and watch them eat.
I couldn’t help but think as I walked away, about a quote from Buddha, “All people suffer, some suffer too little, some suffer too much.”
I felt thankful for the things that I had in life, and being born in America. I wondered who this little girl was, and where she was born. What happened to her in her young life that brought her to this point where our paths crossed. Was it just a chance encounter, or is there truly a reason for everything?
I was in my own little world as I was walking away thinking these thoughts. I completely forgot about my hunger as I made my way to a park in Bangkok.
I have found several areas in Bangkok with a park like setting that are a peaceful, and relaxing escape from the chaos of Bangkok.
I walked up to a body of water and watched a couple birds frolicking in the water as a slight breeze brought some relief from the heat. I felt calm, and a sense of peace come over me as I savored the moment.
The birds flew off creating a moment of stillness in the water. I leaned over as I looked from the walkway into the water to see what was being reflected back.
I could just make out my own reflection starting to appear in the still waters, and as I squinted my eyes to see more clearly, I could see the piercing eyes of Empathy, and compassion starring back at me.
For a brief moment I found my Nirvana.