No free lunch

no dishes to wash

No dishes to wash

It is said that in life there is no such thing as a free lunch. One must pay ones dues, do the hard yards, go the distance and earn your stripes—to coin, deposit and take out a mortgage on a cliché or four.

To compound maxims further, from time to time every rule admits of an exception, a paragraph finishing sub-clause that, when noticed, makes life the pleasing, indeterminate swirl of chance and contradictory possibility any on-the-edge exponent of meditation truly rejoices in.

Synchronicity, chance and the unexpected all combined recently, not for a free lunch but rather free drinks—a round on the house on the occasion of a birthday, here in the Sri Chinmoy Centre.

The unforeseen hand of thirst-quenching fortune was met at Café Epic, a suitably named location for the celebration of a "Soul's Day", the term we students of Sri Chinmoy use for a birthday, signifying a day not only of celebration, but commemoration of the soul's promise to God, made at the beginning of our earthly sojourn.

Or as Sri Chinmoy so eloquently explains it:

"A birthday is a day of joy and happiness. It is the day of the soul's promise to the earth-consciousness or your own body, vital and mind. It is a mutual promise. Your soul has promised God that it will manifest God's Light in and through your body, vital, mind and heart. Again, your heart, your mind, your vital and your body have promised to become perfect instruments to please your soul or to please God in His own Way."

Like a portent of celestial bliss on this auspicious day, as if straight out of the sky there appeared a sign—a menu in fact, and a wise man—the manager, whose acquaintance was recalled as though by a vision, not of precognition but of recognition: "Aren't you guys from that vegetarian café?" said he.

The manager had been a regular at a café owned by the birthday celebrant, a café which at times we had all worked in, and revealed himself to be an enthusiastic fan of it's generous portions and wholesome cooking. Pleasantries, memories and orders exchanged, he instructed his staff that for us, "drinks would be on the house."

Coincidence, fate or fortune? All of the above or neither, it was an act beyond analysis or understanding, an action of the heart's magnanimous generosity which unmistakably put the "soul" in our day.