One day, a wealthy banking executive by the name of Jeffrey Goodwin was walking down the street in New York City, just a few blocks from his office for lunch, when a homeless woman grabbed his attention. The young woman, who was around 25 years old, waved him down and said politely:
“Sir, could you spare some change? I’ve fallen on difficult times.”
The 55-year-old banker, who was dressed in an expensive Armani suit, stared dismissively at the young woman and replied, in an arrogant tone:
“I worked hard for my money, why should I help you?”
The banker then proceeded to carry on his way, but not before the homeless woman recaptured his attention by calling him by his childhood name:
“Jeffey, I’m very disappointed in you. I didn’t raise you this way. Don’t you remember when your mother used to bring you to soup kitchens when you were but a teenager, to serve meals to those in need just like me?”
Taken aback, Jeffrey Goodwin stopped cold in his tracks. He turned to face the woman, who was 30 years younger, and said:
“How do you know my childhood name? And, who told you that my mother used to bring me to soup kitchens when I was young?”
The homeless woman stared adoringly at the Wall Street elite standing before her, and whispered the words:
“I know these things because I was your mother before I passed away, when you were the same age I am now. “
Jeffrey Goodwin suddenly dropped to his knees and began sobbing uncontrollably, for the first time since his mother’s death all those years ago. He stared the young woman straight in the eyes and said:
“But how can this be? How is it even possible for you to have died, and then returned in a new body? I don’t think I understand!”
The young woman, who was, in fact, his mother from her previous life, hugged the banker and shared what wisdom she had:
“The Universe is a mysterious web of wonder, dear son. About three years ago, I roamed through India for a period of time and met a venerated sage. And he taught me that reincarnation is a fixed and eternal law of the cosmos. Everything is born, then it dies and is reborn again.
“My child, just as the butterfly sheds its cocoon at its moment of transformation from a caterpillar, the soul sheds its body at its moment of transformation from form back into the deathless realm of pure spirit. And, after the soul sheds its body, it then wanders about freely without any hindrance into the mystical planes.
“But inevitably, the day finally arrives when the soul, pulled by its own karma, chooses to leave the sanctuary of its celestial heavens to take birth again in a body, to continue its journey of truth and enlightenment.”
Astounded at what he’d just heard, the wealthy banker asked the woman, in a semi-skeptical tone:
“But how do you know that what your teacher, or whatever you call him, was telling you the truth?”
The young woman smiled and simply said:
“For one, a true sage never lies. Most importantly, I experienced the truth of his words directly. One day, while meditating with him and some of his disciples high in the mountains, I had several visions myself from a previous life as your mother. In those visions, I discovered that you, dear one, are my link to the timeless wheel of birth and death!”
No power stronger than love
For the first time since meeting her, the banker looked upon the homeless woman with great reverence. Within his own heart, he heard the truth of her words speak.
Oblivious to the loud background noise of the city, the reunited mother and son rejoiced in a long and joyous moment of silence together. Finally, the banker broke their awe-filled moment and summoned the courage to ask his mother a question that arose in his mind:
“If I may ask, why did our paths cross here in this improbable setting of New York City? After all, you raised me in the country. How is it that we’re meeting here?”
In response, the homeless woman laughed and said:
“All I can say is that it was our seeds of karma to appear, here, in this moment of space and time, so you could remember that there exists no power stronger in this universe than love. “
Tears streamed down the face of the wealthy banker as he began to feel great shame for all his greedy and selfish behaviour. He thought of all the people like his reincarnated mother whom he had brutally judged and ridiculed for their suffering. And he thought of the lies that he’d told countless people to convince them to sign away what little savings they had to fatten his own wallet.
In that moment of deep reflection, Jeffrey Goodwin experienced great regret for a life wasted in pursuit of ignoble aims. Right then and there, he resolved to use his immense wealth to create a foundation to serve the homeless and all people suffering in poverty. And he just so happened to know the perfect person to appoint as both his personal spiritual advisor and the director of a campaign to serve the poor with the spirit of loving-kindness.
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image 1: Pixabay; image 2: Pixabay