Sidewalk Ghosts / The Student of Paz (Peace)

“Modern man thinks he is wide-awake, with his third eye open and wise. But the wiser he thinks he is, the more insane he looks in the mirror of reason.”

“’You can interview me but I want to remain anonymous, just call me ‘The Student of Paz (peace),’” and in respect to my new found friend, we honored his wishes.

It was outside a local haunt, Casey’s Tavern, where we met and shared we stand for thirty-minutes of meaningful conversation. Until that night, The Student was an unknown shadow in the streets, and after approaching him as he took a breath of fresh air walk from the tavern, I was happy to say that The Student was no longer a stranger to me.

It mattered not that I did not know a first or given name, what mattered was that I had met another valuable human being, and a man who had something of worth to share with us all.

The Student and I warmed up in giving up a little history about ourselves: Two diversely different people, both of whom had their own unique upbringings, life experiences and earned opinions. But two people who, non-the-less, found a link to each other. That link: Humility.

The Student presented the topic of humility poetically, “Modern man thinks he is wide-awake, with his third eye open and wise to the world. But the wiser he thinks he is, the more insane he looks in the mirror of reason.”

I’m telling you, with this statement I was evoked to thought– The Student was the teacher, and with his spontaneous blasts of improvisation, he had elevated my mind to feeling as if I had just been part in witnessing a bizarre street revelation.

“The wiser he thinks he is, the more insane he looks in the mirror of reason.”

Reason being the key, The Student opened the doors to the next level, “It’s all about self-reflection. You have to know yourself, and not be an asshole.” He raised the bar.

I was inspired, yet a smile still came to my face as I shared a gut laugh with The Student in his choice of asshole as a descriptor.

Dude, your word is perfect! I chuckled as I informed him of how prevalent the word asshole had been in many of my interviews.

Readers, I don’t make this stuff up, it just happens, and for what ever reason, 365 has had an ebbing and flowing life of it’s own. Its been quiet an experience following it and I am convinced it still has a lot in store for us.

And although the asshole label can be very derogatory, it held a beautiful meaning that evening. The Student elaborated, “We have to respect each other, but also need to learn to be a good judge of character. To not tiptoe through the tulips; but to watch out for the landmines.”

“I came from a big family.” The Student revealed, “Grew up with a lot of kids around me. I saw a lot of mistakes as well as made a few of my own. I learned from what I saw and did.

What is important is that we have to use common sense, and be wary to take caution. “Like my mom used to say, ‘Wear your sweater!’”

The Student made a prediction, “If things keep up the way they are going, we are going to eventually become so numb. Especially if we listen to our politicians. They are like car salesmen, trying to sell the dream.

Jim Jones did that with Jonestown and created his blind following. Look what happened to his followers.

People have to come together and learn to trust who is trustworthy, but in living we have to be wary.” The Student submits.

The debate had risen. Do we tiptoe through the tulips of life, burying our heads in the sands of denial, judgment or isolation; or do we reach out with trust; and as we do, do we allow ourselves to be aware of what is going on in the world?

Perhaps the landmines are self-inflicted, perhaps not. But in the end, can we look into the mirror and see a reflection we like, or better yet, love?

“Modern man thinks he is wide-awake, with his third eye open and wise. But the wiser he thinks he is, the more insane he looks in the mirror of reason.” The Student testified.

And that night, on a dimly lit sidewalk, I had taken part in a discussion of epic proportion. A conference of humility, awareness and of commitment.

It matters not that The Student and I had conducted our mini summit in the most unlikely of places. Humanity was in our hearts. Proving that it cannot be built into the walls of a church, or poured into the foundation of a town hall. Nor can it be worn as a garment or sold as a commodity. It can only be earned through time and empathy toward our fellow human. It is the internal peace that opens our eyes in the morning, and the music that rocks us to sleep at night.

As mentioned by The Student, “It’s all about self-reflection, you have to know yourself.”

With this, self-reflection, even soulful self-examination, then becomes the key motivator leading us on a course of greater reason.

Shall we never forget, “We are all in this thing together!”

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