The Gaze of Love from a Beggar Woman

June 30, 2022
Kate Joyner

The most profoundly present moment of love I perhaps have experienced to this date was with a beggar woman on the streets of Barcelona. An encounter that will stay with me for the rest of my days, because those moments of touching love go deep into the soul.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I’d just come from a Tuesday night Tandava Tantra class and in order to get home I had to change buses. As I walked from one bus stop to the other, I was in a completely opened state of love from the class I’d just come from. All of my senses were awake, experiencing the divine, even within the city squalour. 

On a corner between one street and the next, I walked past an elderly woman who was sitting looking down with a cup in front of her. Her husband was asleep on the pavement next to her. It seemed she was in a deep moment of prayer with the cup. As I walked past I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to know their story. 

I didn’t know where they came from but they perhaps could have been eastern European. I wanted to know how they had ended up there, sleeping on the streets in their elderhood. There was something very non-invasive about their presence and yet I could sense they were in real need, they were in poverty.

At first I walked past at the speed of the city rush, trying to get home as quickly as possible, jumping from one bus to the other, but soon after I had passed them, I knew I had to turn back and give them everything I had in my wallet. So I turned and I offered my contribution to her poised cup.

As I did she looked up at me and she looked straight into my eyes. With all of her dignity and grace. She was not a beggar woman in that moment. Her gaze was not one of shame but of a woman who had endured life with honour. We held each other’s gaze for about a minute. It was a meeting of souls. In that moment I knew where she had come from and the journey she had endured because it was also mine. A tale of heartbreak, of deception, of trials and tribulations and yet despite all of that, she was sat on the street corner, homeless, in poverty but in love. 

In the gaze, that was wordless and timeless, I acknowledged all of her. I saw her soul. 

Something in the air of passing her and my state of receptivity to love, made me go back to her. It turned me around and had me empty my wallet to give to someone I didn’t know. And there was something about giving from a state of love to someone’s need, that was not just an emotional need but a survival need that was a meeting of soul, there on the street corner in Barcelona. 

Love is a frequency. It’s a state of being that we can choose to tap into at every moment. And when we are embodied in that place, away from the rat race of our minds, then mountains move.  

 

 

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