One of the auspicious attributes in randomly going somewhere is that you never really know who you will meet. Life has a way of bringing out some of the most precious Spirits in unexpected eras. No matter how many times you may have walked the same path, there are still different ways of navigating it. Myriad of ways to hike, climb, walk, run, jog, or skip on this journey. Each new adventure, on the same trail, helps us discover new things, and people, on its presence. It reminds us that there are always undiscovered lessons to be learned-even if they occur on one path. Forcing us to cater to a spirit of humility and openness. When open, we attract the energies of abundance and infinite possibilities. The Universe becomes all too excited to show off, and display its many wonders.
Headed to the downtown Tahir campus of the American University In Cairo, I remember the day being sunny. Whenever I was headed to that particular garden, it was either for class, a lecture series, or choir rehearsal. During that particular time, and day, I was most likely heading to a guest lecture (or event). Whatever I don’t remember about that day, there was one face whose memory never escaped me.
I had never met her. She had never met me. And yet, our Spirits connected. Our gazes had met and without any hesitation, I walked over to her as she desired to take a picture with me. Why not? Clearly, an important lesson was unfolding, and I didn’t want to miss it. Not for one, millisecond.
The fascination of this encounter is that physically, we were different. Different cultures. Different colors. Different nationalities. Age differences. Differentiation of dress. Our Mother Tongues were different. Differentials in belief systems. The differences go on and on. Yet, here we were. At this moment. During this time. Brought together in the garden because the Heavens ordained it as so. I was meant to have been there, during that time. She was meant to have been there, at that time!
When you meet random Beings, with a familiar vibe, there is a shaking into our traditional concepts of time. Have people shown up in our lives to remind us of a distant past? The timing of my meeting with this woman was too Divine. In one garden. A space embodying the aesthetics of knowledge. Clearly, we must have known each other from before. Her immediate recognition and observance of my Being, upon passing her, was too familiar. Capturing ourselves together in stillness was more than two women taking a photograph. In this very act alone, we were capturing ourselves in a stilled memory. Documenting the power of Universal movement. An encounter that was clearly orchestrated and planned long before either of us was born in this lifetime. We were capturing life’s phenomenon!
Another fascinating feature in my meeting of this woman were our colors. How we adorned ourselves for that day was also by Universal design. This special woman was wearing teal blue, strengthened by black, with the scents of green. I was wearing a black dress, with golden colored pieces. An important piece was the ankh. Evidently, water was the flowing element for our meeting on the Tahrir campus. The representation of fertility and the protection of womanhood. Moving is to this very moment. It was destiny.
In this time (September 2016), there was a spiritual recognition between myself and another human being. Looking deeper from both sides, our physical differences were not a hindrances. We were not shallow or limited in our thinking. My tightly-coiled hair, wide nose, think lips, and brown skin did not prevent her from engaging with me. Her hijab covering, light-colored eyes, different language, and olive-pinkish skin did not stop me from coming towards her when getting my attention. There was a deeper care at work. A greater bond, at play. Lessons to be learned in how the Universe has a way of bringing people to assist you on your spiritual journey, who would have been the last people you would imagine to do so. That’s the power of movement.
This woman is one of the most memorable people I have met in Egypt, and in other world travels. I do not remember her name. And, I have yet to see her again. That may or may not happen. If we are to never cross paths again, its that’s day we will treasure. That moment, and lessons learned, will continue to be a phenomenon of treasure.
As I look back upon that time I think about who she is. Was she a mother? Did she have children? Is she married? What are her hopes and dreams? How did age bless her with her/history’s vision? What was it that brought her on campus for that day? Had her memory of me continued after our encounter? And, like me, did she save the photos taken on her phone of the two of us? Did she wonder where I had gone? Did our sporadic encounter bring a special joy to her day? Just the simplicity of human mind and touch. Subtle and powerful!
I have had these moments in other places. These sporadic encounters, filled with wisdom and human treasures of virtue. In all the different lands I have traveled, I have met the symbolic, wise women. Those elder women, who observe everything. Yet, their own presence is overlooked, too often. Nevertheless, they were always there. Sometimes they were hidden. But, those who searched for them, always found them.
The wisdom of those elders, serving as watchful spiritual gardens of the places they placate, is worth more than any treasure. Their connection to the Universe is a reminder that the life we are currently living, is worth so much more. Having them on campus is a gift. For those fast-paced individuals, always on the go, they are reminded of the artistry of observing and listening. Wise elders can quiet the stress, hostilities, and chaos within any academic institution. Silent conveyers in knowing, that no matter how educated one becomes, humility is key. One should never become so educated, that they miss out on learning these other avenues of knowledge. Ignoring them because they do not fit inside traditional measures of education. Perhaps, that was one of the hidden principles, I was reminded of and experiencing for that day. A brief pause I needed from a hectic time. Allowing myself to slow down and enjoy the presence of those in my view. Other spirits who entered into the garden on that day. For whatever reason they had for being there, the point is that they were, there.
The bond of a university experience continues through some of the most random moments. It means that we are able to experience them once we slow down. When we are not always busy, thinking about the next go, the Universe will always give us the surprises of our desires. Directing us in personal reflection of our journey, past roads behind, and distant paths, ahead. Making one strange encounter, even more, familiar!