I heard this story recently. It’s so powerful I wish to share it with you.
There are many beggars outside the Mahabodhi Temple in India — dozens of them.
All but one are standing and begging, calling out to tourists and the faithful as the hot sun beats down.
One beggar, however, is sitting. He has a bowl beside him to receive the gifts of the generous.
As he sits, he sings — loudly, passionately. He is beating on a makeshift drum — not with hands, because he has none. They have been amputated or cut off in an accident. (You don’t know.) Yet, he beats with the stumps of his wrists.
Look closer into his eyes and you will see that he is blind. He can’t even see how much money he has been given. Yet he sings.
Every day he does this for eight to ten hours. Sitting on the ground outside the temple — no hands, no eyes — just a voice. This is his life.
You have no idea what he is singing, but your heart is moved. You think, ‘This guy can hardly do anything for himself. He has every right to be mad and miserable.’
Now, standing before a man who has nothing, yet is giving what he has, you feel like the beggar. You need something from him.
You go up to him and look into his eyes — obviously, he can’t see you — and you ask him, “How is it you come out here every single day and just sing?”
He tilts his head toward the sound of your voice and says, “What else is there to do?” He keeps drumming for a while and then he adds, “Life might give you what you want; life might not give you what you want. But you can always give what you are, and this is what I have to give.”
You realize life isn’t about getting things, but wholly giving what you are in each moment.
–Adapted from a story told by Kute Blackson