I have been trying to SEE people and the world differently in recent weeks. It is not an easy endeavor, but I believe worthwhile. While doing so, I have been reminded of something totally unexpected that happened to me when I was living in Phoenix many years ago. The story is quite simple and brief - a few paragraphs - but has numerous implications. I am open to comments at theportableschool at gmail dot com.
Friends Susan and Donna and I decided to attend an evening talk on the topic of “Love” at a church in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. We joined about forty others who waited for the speaker. The sanctuary of the Valley of the Sun Religious Science Church was decorated entirely in soft turquoise-blue colors - the walls, the drapes, the seating, and the carpets. Quite different than what I had experienced back home in churches on the Plains. Lots of bright red and dark wood were the pattern.
Eventually, Prince Hirunda Singh was introduced to the audience. He was a tall, imposing man and appeared more so due to his attire. He wore a white turban, long-sleeved white jacket which reached to his knees over white pants. He had a full beard and a dark complexion. His feet were shod in leather sandals.
After a brief introduction, the prince began to speak. But, there was little or no reference in his words to love. In fact, he seemed to be spending most of his energy criticizing governments and complaining about the state of world affairs. The longer I listened the more irritated and uncomfortable I became. I was squirming on the inside if not the outside and wished that I had not agreed to go to the program. (Actually, I had looked forward to the meeting because of the topic.) At the same time, I did not gather that anyone else in the audience was disturbed by the prince's words.
Before long, I decided that as long as I was criticizing the speaker I was part of the problem. I closed my eyes, put my hands over my heart, centered myself, and tried to meditate on the word Love. I spent the remainder of the speech in that manner and began to notice a change in myself and eventually in the words of the speaker. I felt a bit of love and I even heard some statements from the prince which 'lightened' the moment.
Just before the speech was concluded, I opened my eyes, looked up at the prince and then scanned the room. I was amazed to see new colors before my eyes: the draperies and walls appeared to be misted in pink and even the prince's white attire was now distinctly of a pink hue. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. I surveyed the audience. No one seemed to be aware of anything extraordinary. They were just sitting and listening.
Slowly, the pink aura of the room disappeared. But as the speaker walked past my aisle seat at the conclusion of the program, it was quite obvious that his garb was totally pink. I happened to see Prince Hirunda Singh one further time at the same church. His garments were the same - distinctly pink.