Author’s note: The encounter I write about here is a prequel to The Color of Love experience in the article published in July (below), but inextricably entwined with it on many levels.
In April 1999 I got on a plane with $200 and a backpack and left 16 years in Japan to go see about a convict. I know, I know, I’ve just piqued your interest, but the inmate with whom I had a date with divine destiny and who inspired me to a level of conscious surrender deeper than anything I’d experienced previously in this lifetime, is not the focal point of this story.
No. The point of this story is a man I encountered en route to setting the stage for the destined meeting to take place; a man who in many ways prepared me for entry into worlds of which I was totally ignorant. I had flown from Tokyo to Los Angeles and taken a meditation intensive with my Guru. Then, operating solely on intuition, I boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Stockton, with the intent of somehow getting from Stockton to the smaller, more inviting looking City of Lodi, which was only 35 minutes from the prison where the next chapter of the story of my life was incarcerated.
I don’t know what it is about me but I have always inspired immediate trust in others, my very presence inviting them to openly share the secrets of their soul.
I was sitting by a window when a man came and took the seat beside me. He was slight of build, maybe 50ish, black man with an energy that commanded respect and attention, even though his actions were unobtrusive. Not long after the bus pulled out, he began to talk. I don’t know what it is about me but I have always inspired immediate trust in others, my very presence inviting them to openly share the secrets of their soul. This man was no exception and in a short time, I learned that he was a Vietnam veteran with as many scars on his heart as he had on his body. He told me that he was the leader of a gang called the Cripps, apparently perpetually at war with another gang called the Bloods, in his hometown of Stockton. And that his woman of ten years had just betrayed him for another man; hence the breakdown in his normal protective armor and need for human contact and reassurance.
Now mind you, I had never lived in the US as an adult before and I didn’t even know what a debit card was, much less have experience with gangs or their leaders. But I instinctively knew that this man was not fabricating a story and that he needed something from me before we inevitably parted ways, and so I listened as he poured out pain and frustration of lifetimes.
I listened. And I listened. And he continued to talk and vent and give expression to wounds never before even acknowledged much less articulated. I could somehow feel him getting lighter of spirit and yet, at one point, he got angry at my silence and burst out: “Why are you so quiet? Say something! Anything!!”
I looked him in the eye and took a deep breath.
“I’m digesting energy”, was all I said. And he melted in grateful understanding and recognition of my role in his healing.
A story within the story; we made a stop at a convenience store somewhere between LA and Stockton, about 5 hours into the journey. We got off the bus together and went in to buy something cold to drink, where we were approached by a young black man who obviously knew Keith and who he was. “This your woman?” he asked, indicating me. Keith answered in the negative, that we were just traveling together, and the young man looked surprised. “You look good together”, was all he said as he walked away.
In another lifetime I might have stayed with him. I have no doubt that our meeting was as predestined as the one that still hadn’t taken place. And there were countless times during the 39 months of visiting my prison inmate where I gave silent thanks to Keith for having given me the opportunity to remain anchored in Love and Truth as another poured out lifetimes of pain and suffering for healing and transformation. I very much doubt that he is still incarnate. The path of perpetual violence he had walked didn’t leave much room for changing lanes that late in the game. But he left a lasting imprint on my Soul, as I know I did on his.
And in the end, isn’t that what Love is all about?