Presence

Wherever you stand be the soul of that place

Public transportation has become my preferred way to move about my congested city and between cities. However, I am a solitary person so the crowded, loud and stuffy buses are a challenge for me.  Often I am unable to muster up the spiritual energy to learn anything from a trip.  I am definitely out of my comfort zone, but I bus it intentionally for the lessons I learn about being truly present to myself and others.

Recently I took two buses and a ferry to visit my friend on an island.  In a cemetery along the route workers were erecting a canopy over an open grave.  The scene drew me in, conjuring images of my siblings and I standing at the grave of our parents.  I prayed for the loved ones of this spirit who would arrive in a few hours to say good-bye.

Soon, after one of the hundred stops the bus made, I felt a rich, reverberating and peaceful energy around me. Startled, I began to pay attention.  Someone was singing.  I turned on my hearing aids and was greeted with a faith-filled gospel song that seemed to emanate from a life deeply lived and a love freely given.  I caught the singer’s eye and gave her a thumbs up.  As the bus approached her stop she moved forward, still singing.  The driver shouted, “Take it outside, will ‘ya?”  I walked over, shook her hand and said, “Thank you.”

The challenge of the ride came when three “fare checkers” boarded the bus like Navy SEALs on a mission. They boomed out an introduction, asking us to have our transfers ready to prove that we had paid.  Three men- one to check, two to provide muscle off the bus if necessary.  I wondered what passengers without homes were experiencing during this check that felt like a raid.

On the last leg of the trip home I sat beside a sixteen year old who had traveled from a city forty-five miles south to meet another teen who said he’d buy a pair of shoes from him.  The buyer was not answering his phone, so it appeared that the trip was useless.  A really sweet kid who likely had no adult to navigate him through the ins and outs of business transactions.  No car, but big on initiative.  I tried to be present and offer him a bit of comfort and reassurance.

Taking public transportation is becoming a spiritual practice for me.  Sometimes life outside my comfort zone is more real and spiritual than life ensconced safely in my contemplative anchorage.

Phonto Credit:  Evening Standard

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8 thoughts on “Presence

  1. Rita, thank you for this important insight about the spiritual impact that’s possible when riding a bus.
    The poet in you shines as you “see” opportunities and possibilities for deepening not only your own inner
    life but the lives of others as well. You are present to the moment.

  2. I love your stories about riding the bus, Rita; I can so see you doing this! 😘 Thanks again for your understanding and presence while I talked through my “epizoody” of last week. You are a good friend. Love, Sonja

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. Rita, Thank you for your sharing on “Presence.” I had a friend visit from Florida last week, and we took the bus to Pike’s Place in Seattle from Tacoma. I can relate to some of your experiences on the bus. However, I don’t think my friend seen it as spiritual as you or I. I felt she felt it was a bit beneath her. However, I am sure the experience made an impact on her, in remembering her first trip to the Washington State, and Seattle. Good to check in with you. Peace, Diana

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