You never know where you are going to have an experience of oneness with others. It doesn’t have to be in a temple, or at a meditation retreat. It can sometimes be on an ordinary day. My husband and I had gone to Point Loma National Park to soak in the beauty of the ocean, the hills covered with wild flowers and the blue skies. The breeze was steady but calm and the views were exhilarating.
“Look!” David exclaimed.
Up in the air in front of us was a huge multi-colored bird swooping and soaring in the wind. Was it some kind of sea bird? Was it even real? No! It was a kite. A big beautiful bird-kite that twisted and dipped and “flew” in the sky above.
As we came round the corner, we saw a small clearing with people standing and sitting on benches, watching as a dark-skinned man balanced and danced and held in his outstretched arms the strings that controlled the movements of the kite. Standing on either side of him, watching and listening intently as the man gave instructions were two young boys who looked just like him. We stopped and watched for several moments ourselves and just as we turned to go on our way I heard a collective “Oh!” from the crowd.
The kite had gotten stuck in an outstretched branch of some kind of scrabbly hillside bush.
People nodded to each other, reassuringly. “He’ll get it out.” They pointed upwards. They told how it happened and explained it to their children.
“No, honey, don’t worry. The kite will fly again.” There was a shared concern over the fate of the kite.
The crowd was as multi-colored as the kite itself. People with white hair, people with dark skin, with golden skin, women in saris, men in turbans, children with bare legs and babies in strollers, all were watching together while the scene of the kite unfolded. I turned back in time to see the man who flew the kite climbing up the 20 or 30 feet to the top of the hillside where it was dangling precariously, one branch of the bush refusing to let go of its wing. In a daring moment, the man reached out and freed the kite and—with one of the boys still holding its strings—it caught the breeze in a great soaring loop that took it upward and upward into the blue.
All around me people broke into applause. I got into the car feeling elated.
Lessons From a Kite
I had recently read from a dharma talk given by Ajahn Sumedho. He says:
“We often fixate on the differences between ourselves and others, through the lens of our likes and dislikes, our views and opinions of how things and people ought to be. But we can re-focus our awareness and remember that we are all in the same boat …the young, vibrant child; the intelligent and the slow; those with and without mental stability; the healthy and the weak; those who agree with us and those who don’t.” ~ Sumedho
The moment of the kite was a fabulous teaching moment from everyday life. It was a moment of oneness. A moment when differences in skin tone or headdress or language didn’t matter. What mattered was the California hillside, the Pacific Ocean, the blue skies, and a kite—a magic bird-kite that had been set free from the bush that had snagged it, bringing everyone’s spirits with it as it rose up and flew into the sun.
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