A rare occurrence in our multi-tasking, high speed society is viewing or experiencing a pure act, one not dipped in some kind self-return. We have developed an expectation of falsehood, like that of the American Indians encounters with the White Man: “White Man speaks with forked tongue.” We experience far more acts done with conditions attached.
“Sir! Let me help you with that.” The help is given, but it requires financial reimbursement.
“Here is Seven Million for this social need. Oh and yes! The building will be in my name.”
Viewing or experiencing an act, done for the sake of the act, unconditionally, is so out of the ordinary it stuns us.
The case of an unconditional act done to the writer.
Both my arms were full: a box of books and papers in one hand, a brief case in the other. I was giving a class in a school new to me. I was at a juncture in a large hallway and didn’t know which direction to turn, left or right. A maintenance man suddenly appeared into my space. I asked, “Which way to room 348?” He pointed left, and without hesitation took the box of books and papers from me. My first reaction was feeling the relief from the weight of the books and papers. My second reaction was surprise, by the unexpected aid.
He said not a word but went straight to room 348, with me following. At the door to the room, he placed the box of books and papers on the floor, pulled out a set of keys from his belt, and unlocked the door.
After the door was opened, I heartfeltly thanked him and bent down to pick up the box of books and papers, but his aid wasn’t finished. He had picked up the box before I did, walked into the class room and waited for my directions as to were to put the box. I pointed to the top of the desk and he placed the box down, and with a twist of his head out the door he went. I followed him to the door thanking him with every step I took.
His aid had finished, and he didn’t need, thanks, reimbursement, or ego stroking. Later, as I contemplated his actions, I was struck by the simplicity and power of his pure intention and stunned by this unconditional aid-so rare in our society.