At night before I go to sleep, I pray/meditate. I frequently imagine myself at the edge of the ocean, looking up at the magnificent star-filled sky, thinking of the expanse, marveling at the creation, wondering about the Creator. I imagine myself sitting in the sand, lighting a candle for every person I know who needs support, care, healing, a boost to their finances, or is battling one problem or another. I can sometimes light these candle for fifteen to twenty minutes. I don’t leave out my enemies because I hope that the fact that they are trouble in my life will have a resolution and they will no longer fall into that category. This quiet time in my day, just before sleep, is when I think of others, make my requests known, and try to figure out what it means to have a relationship with God.
Two nights ago, after lighting the candles for my family, my friends, and my adversaries, my thoughts roamed to the leaders of this country and the idea of rich people. What do rich people, I mean really rich people have that I don’t have? Mostly they have access to people and places that I would not be allowed entry or access. They might meet the CEOs of companies or dine with a celebrity. But on the other hand, I can read the same books they do. I can watch the same movies they watch (theirs might be viewed in a home theater or at a private screening and mine might be experienced in a worn out robe, on my couch, on Netflix), but I can enjoy many of the same things the rich do.
And do you know where this thought process, imagining, trying to discover my place in the universe and my relationship to humanity and the creator led me? I see the same sky that rich people do. I watch the same sunrise and sunset that they do. I can smell jasmine while walking down my street. I can walk on a beach and dip my feet in the ocean. I can climb a hill or hike up a mountain. I can swim in a lake. I can enjoy good food and a great cup of coffee. Money, if you have it or if you don’t, that doesn’t prevent you from experiencing many of the mysteries and pleasures of creation.
And the greatest of all equalizers is that there is nothing that insulates the rich from death. We are all going to die, and that evens the playing field. The homeless have to walk the path, I have to walk the path, middle-class people have to walk the path, and the super rich have to walk the path. We will all find ourselves far from the sunrise of our lives and deep into the evening where death is a reality and something we can’t avoid. It may sound morbid to think so much about this, but it ties me to humanity. It is one of our most profound and significant threads that weaves our lives together. We are connected whether or not everyone wants to see it, or admit it.
So many people are using their money to stop the aging process, to get the best medical care, to eat the healthiest food, to hire trainers, and yoga masters, etc. It all boils down to the same things, in the end, none of us can outrun it, none of us can pay our way through it. I don’t find this terrifying, I find it liberating, and I feel like I have a connection to everyone. It is beyond belief the way we try to separate ourselves from one another, to mark and point out our differences only to discover that the largest things in our life are something we all share.
We will all close our eyes for a final time. I’m not on a race for my day, believe me. But it amazes me that over seven billion people alive today will have to come to terms with it in one way or another, it is inescapable, it is profound, it is us, it is human, it is our journey, it is life, and like birth, everyone must experience it, ready or not.