A Close Encounter of the Higher Kind

My problem is I don’t listen to my gut.

I’m not sure why I don’t, I think I might be too distracted by all the pretty pictures in my head. But the universe verily screamed at me today in order to gain my attention. Call him god, call it higher power, call it vibration; It doesn’t matter what you call it, because this force which drives us–on a path we truly want to be on, secretly, perhaps unknowingly–is very real.

In actuality it refused me twice, actually count that three times on things I wanted today, or thought I wanted. I wanted to go to Trader Joe’s to buy food today. I had the vaguest idea of finding pasta for the foundation of dinner. I did go there, twice in fact, but the first time it was packed, I didn’t really understand where to find anything, and while the prices were good, I wasn’t willing to stay the line when the line stretched the entire store around.

I traded Trader Joe’s for Food Emporium. That was a resounding mistake. Food emporium had everything I wanted, I found it all, placed each item in my cart, made my way to the checkout counter, watched it all ring up, swiped my car on $60 which made me almost flinch–

–And then the employee tells me they no longer accept EBT.

To say I was furious was an understatement. My self imposed schedule had me boarding the 4 train about 20 minutes prior; in my mind I was already late. But then, I thought about it, and I realized was quite relieved in actuality. I didn’t want to spend $60 anyway. But I was still in a quandary.

I walked across the street and just stood there, dumbfounded.  How could that have happened? I’ve been shopping there for two years and its always been true I could use EBT.  I was so … Disbelieving. In my daze of incomprehension I walked back to Trader Joe’s reluctantly. I didn’t want to brave the crush or the line but I needed supplies. My decision was provided for me. Trader Joe’s line had grown. Now, there was a line to get in the store as well.

Outrage is too strong a feeling, anger wasn’t the emotion. It was, need. I needed to get things done, and the universe was getting in my way.

That should have been a clue. It wasn’t. I was too much in my head.

So then, it became necessary to choose Whole Foods. My time was gone. I was due on the train immediately. I had to supply dinner, it was my turn, and it was going on 3:30pm. Dinner was to be at 6. I was desperate.

Now let me explain, when I got off the train at 14th Union Square at 1pm I had had a very small urge to go to Whole Foods first. I wasn’t very keen on the idea as the entire focus of my mind visualized Trader Joe’s .. But then, maybe that isn’t right– I pictured in my head pasta, like would be at whole foods– so perhaps it was just my stubborn whim which wanted to go.

And so to Whole Foods. Immediately inside I find what I need. I pick up things I didn’t know I needed. I had practice because I had already bought this meal, without getting to actually buy it, at Food Emporium. And then I find the last minute things, even after I forget them. The last thing is tortillas; I’m headed for the elevator, about to leave, and there they are, leading me to grab them, and the elevator, where two old black ladies are boarding, all walker and 80 year old shuffling.

So familiar I am with elderly black ladies since I moved to the Bronx, they feel like home to me. They are chattering at each other good naturedly, like my grandparents do, this push/pull of conversation, which is so natural it feels like scene acting, and the words almost pointless behind the feeling.

I ask, as I would talk to the ladies at my grandparents church, all respectful of age, all familiar as I would speak to a child, if there was room for me? And with wide welcome they let me join them. And we rode the elevator and they spoke of not having met in years but now were spending the day together. They were so happy to do so, and I wished them luck and happiness, and we parted in high spirit.

And after I checked out, the line was rather long but not unbearable, I decided to take my habitual route to the 4 train, and low and behold they both stood at the corner awaiting the light, the walking man sign had just changed to a red hand . The one with the stooped spine and walker had her head down, rummaging through something, speaking to the taller one with a plump face and glasses.

I encouraged their notice, the taller one seeing me first, the stooped one looking up at the taller ones  encouragment, and –small jostle of shoulders– a welcome ‘oh.’ I was so pleased to see them, for some reason; I waited with them and asked if I could accompany them across the street, even walking slowly, and briefly backwards as to face them in conversation, the whole while. They were a bit slow going. I didn’t want the impatient taxi to hit them and thought my body would serve more incentive not to.

We chatted. On the curb, crossing the street, on the opposite curb. We stood in pedestrian traffic’s way. People went around us. We blocked traffic. I didn’t really notice though. I was too caught up in conversation. The stooped one was adamant this was not coincidence. She exclaimed how people had been beautiful to the two of them all day, and now I was here. They agreed when I mentioned a good vibration. And then, back safe on sidewalk, she stops and talks to me, the stooped one. She makes mention of eyes being a window to the soul, which I find remarkable as I am staring into her eyes, which remain so bright, and I am seeing her spirit like light and waves against paper thin skin. And I am feeling who she is.

Is it her age which shows her spirit so muchly? Is it her settledness into herself? Then she cautions me against people who do not look me in the eye.

“Be wary,” she says, “You’re too trusting! Be careful.” How people get this about me in so little time, all the time, I really can’t figure out.

But I smile, because this time it didn’t really bother me coming from her and, “I say I’ll work on it.”

She says, “Don’t work on it. Just do it. Listen to your gut!” and she puts her hand on her 3rd chakra, where will comes from, just above where the hara sits. The hara some think to be the seat of the soul. The hara a zen master focuses on while in zazen mediation, breathing into it, and out from it.

And she says, “Listen to your higher power,”  and motions around her head, and I feel the import of the meeting then, like this supposed to happen. Like I was meant to meet her. Like my horoscope told me today I’d grow close in love to someone. I interpreted it wrongly or maybe I interpreted it rightly. For it felt very much like falling in love. A sudden pleasant drop, not unnoticeable, just welcoming close fond regard on some other plane I could not see but could feel. And she spoke to me next of Buddhism.

She says to me, seriously, fowardly, with eyes serious and bright, “I’m Buddhist do you know what that is?”

Smiling in recognition, not just at the similar belief, but at the realization of why I was here, and I say, “I used to practice Nichiren Buddhism but now I lean more towards Zen.”

She says “NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO!!” most forcefully, in this colorfully African American way, with church gospel inflection, and head bob, and confides with a wink Nichiren Buddhism is the true Buddhism. I remember thinking with fondness all religious people say that. We spoke of religion.  I said I make a study of it.

She said, “Don’t study it, do it!!”  And she asked abruptly if I draw. I told her I am am artist and a writer. She said one day I was going to do something great with my art and writing, something to change the world. Something I would do so soon. It felt, as she said it, like a higher power was speaking. I could feel her channeling higher energy. Then she told me people in my environment have a lot of negative energy, which tries to being me down. Not to let it. She said she doesn’t know me, at all, but she knows all this, that I have so much talent.  She told me to chant. Go back to it.

“You must,” she puts up her hand as she says this, like painting in the air with her fingers, “visualize what you want as you chant. The power lies in people, that whomever you believe in, god, a higher power, whomever, you must remember that power lies in you. You are in control of what you live.” Again she held her stomach, right at the solar plexus, at the 3rd chakra.

She introduced herself as Ms. Lucille and the taller woman was Wanita, or Miss L, and Miss Nita. And asked after mine. “What’s your name?” in forceful introduction, in temerity.  And said I would see her again. “Probably next week,” She says. There are several hugs of parting; I would try and break away, aware I needed to get back by a certain time, only to be pulled back in to chat then hug then chat again. It was hard to tear myself away from such awesome acceptance. And then just as abruptly as she commandeered my attention she let me go with a quick, “Bye Bye.”

And as I walked away, she says “I love you, Wendi.”

I felt, standing near her, such closeness, to something so big and more powerful than I. I felt such thinness of her humanness compared to her unbounded spirit. I felt so, intended to hear and understand and listen. I noticed as I left her I was as happy as I had been on the first date i had with the love of my life. I felt buoyant. I know I whispered a quick, ‘Thank you,’ to the above in extatic gratitude. And my step bounced back to my train, which arrived just as I reached the platform, and my train seemed to fly back to where I was supposed to be much too quickly. It was so clear how much my internal and spiritual work had abruptly manifested in reality.

It was so clear in my mind why all the obstacles came into my path today, leading to that final key encounter. It was so clear it sounded like a loud throat–ahem–sound. And I realized I have to act, as the final step to manifestation. And use what works.

I need to go to the city more often. I need to be moving. There is so much to feel. There is so much to encounter.


2 thoughts on “A Close Encounter of the Higher Kind

  1. Wendi, that was wonderful! I really appreciate this. It gratifies my sense that New York is really nice. I would have liked the explanation of the Buddhist terms when you first introduce it. For me, it broke my entrancement. Thank you.
    By the way, was that the Whole Foods on 59th Street? I go there frequently and also enjoy the ‘vibe’.


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