As I was pulling up to the Starbucks I saw the homeless man who frequents the area about to enter the coffee shop. I’ve seen him on several other occassions there as well. My first reaction was, “Ugh, you know. He kinda puts a damper on this place.” Then I remembered three things. One, I just returned from a spiritual retreat. Two, I’m a counselor who focuses the majority of her life on spiritual pursuits. And three, my favorite thing to do in life is help because I feel the sorrow of all mankind and believe we all count. A homeless person lives outside of society and therefore outside of convention. He is a divergent. I began to send love to this ‘divergent.’ It became so clear to me that he is living out his thought patterns just like I am. Just like everyone who is reading this.
My negative thoughts come in the forms of, “I’m always tired. There’s something wrong with me that I’m so sad. It’s my fault if I’m miserable. What’s wrong with me that I’m not taken care of?” Then when I’m really into this triggered state my reaction to myself is, “I’m so sick of you. Shut up.” Mean, right?
Now you can imagine if my mind gets so violent and cruel, how violent and cruel must this homeless man’s mind be? How much hatred did he absorb into his subconscious? How painful must his self-hate thoughts be? Because what he has created with his appearance is one of repulsion. Imagine the energy of repulsion and disgust that is sent to him daily? Imagine the thoughts of disgust and repulsion that terrorize him?
I am grateful for what I learned on a deeper level. WE ARE all on this life journey. This life journey of mind, body, thoughts, self-love, lack of self-love is being run by our thoughts–good, bad or indifferent. This homeless man became my divergent that snapped me into the present and awakened my compassion. I brought myself into the present and felt the ONEness that comes with that.
What is a divergent?
A divergent is something that departs from convention. It can be a thought or way of thinking that departs from convention. It can be a behavior that departs from your personal convention. I encourage the use of these divergents as a pathway to diverge our normal way of living in our minds and diverge onto the path of being present. Look for what is different and use it as a catalist to snap yourself back into this moment. It becomes a practice to search for even the tiniest divergences. Search for things that are a little out of the ordinary. Pay attention, be present, get out of the worry and negative tapes that is running in all of our minds.
How does it help us?
That’s all I’m interested in. How can I feel better? How can I help others feel better? When we bring our focus to the present, to what is before us and what is around us, we get a reprieve from the constant worry about the future, regret about the past, and the mean thoughts directed at ourselves. “I’m so fat. I’m stupid. I’m lazy. I’ll never amount to anything.” All these thoughts create a horrible place to live- inside our heads. So divergents snap us back to the present. And when we are present, everything is more okay. We feel better. Our anxiety receeds. We feel more peaceful and centered. And ultimately just plain happier.
Be well and pay attention, Susan