Chris and Nikki guard the sink like compassionate warriors, setting everything up for the flood of dirty dishes to come. Even so they get kicked out soon from their self-assigned roles, as pleads of “go eat” become hard to ignore. Other hands move in to manage the onslaught of clinking bowls, plates, and cups. Leftovers get neatly scraped off the plates, which then get dipped in the warm water, rubbed with a brush, and lined up in the dishwasher.
It gets hard to figure out exactly whose hands are doing what. As I push Nipun out from the right, Pavi scoots in from the left. Moments later we’re both gently shoved out again with smiles from Shalini and Praveen. Rajesh works hard to get in on the scene as towels start to fly around drying the big pots, and glasses get stacked neatly in a drawer as they were found.
The post-meditation, circle of sharing tonight was about giving and receiving. One question was posed to the sixty people sitting silently around the weekly circle: What is something that you want to give away before you die? One person confidently responded, “The biggest thing I can give away is love.” Many others throughout the circle followed with a similar response. After having sat in meditation for an hour, it didn’t sound like such a cliché. I knew they meant it. It came from the depths of their being. This Love wasn't just a four-letter-word, but rather a feeling looking to explode past the confines of all expressions.
It reminded me of a very sacred moment I had while on a pilgrimage. As I was trying to sort things out in my mind, I literally stopped in my tracks one morning. Walking in a field, I realized that what I want above all things in life: is to be filled with love. And to let that flow out into anyone I come across. Perhaps that’s what we all seek -- to give and to receive love.
Watching friends fight over dishes, I knew it wasn't about the dishes. They were passing on love, which can only be given in small doses, in the most ordinary of moments. They were saying, "Let me do the dishes", so someone else doesn’t need to. Everyone's cups were filled with love and it was spilling over. Naturally such a flow can’t be contained within the four walls of the home. It will go exactly where it needs to go in the world.
Love. Such a simple yet profound emotion. No wonder that Sanskrit has 96 words to describe it.