NYC: Imagine

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in New York. The plane ride was nice and quick. I had a chance to listen to a couple of dharma talks by Gil Fronsdal on loving kindness ? or metta. I’ve practiced metta mediation a few times before, but as I step into the world of New York public education I’m going to make metta part of my regular meditation practice.

I was welcomed by my dear friend Isha and will be staying at her place for a week or so. She gave me a hug, helped me with my bags, and offered me juice. We talked a while, then she said she wanted to take me somewhere special.

After a short walk through Spanish Harlem and a ride on the 2-train, we met her brother Sanjog near Central Park. She took both of us to Strawberry Fields to show us the mosaic in the sidewalk with the word: IMAGINE ?. She quoted John Lennon and Mahatma Gandhi, saying that this special place reminds her that she’s not the only one and to be the change she wants to see in the world.

Isha was in the Peace Corps for two years, living on a small island in the Republic of Kiribati. For as long as I’ve known her, she has been caring, kind, and dedicated to service and helping others. But now to hear her speak about her Peace Corps experience and how she’s changed as a person I get a sense of tremendous compassion and open heartedness.

We walked through the park, passing a small lake, a bandshell, rollerskaters, a circle of drummers, dancers, and a small carnival with rides. The late afternoon light made everything look magical, or maybe my own imagination lent magic to the scene, or maybe Central Park is just a magical place.

We walked by several statues of writers, each seated with pen in hand. The only name I recognized was Robert Burns. I resolved to look him up on wikipedia. I wondered which modern writers might have a statue in the park in a hundred years? Amiri Baraka? Miguel Algarin? Sonia Sanchez?

I am so excited to be in this city. As Isha put it, New York encompasses the whole world. But it doesn’t reflect the world, it is it’s own unique place.

Everyone is here. Anything seems possible.

Today I found the university I will be attending: Pace University right by the Brooklyn Bridge. I have some paperwork to do, but other than that my day is free.

Breathe. I am a human being. I am a member of the human community.

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