How to Help the Homeless: Sustainable Practices

“Blessed are the Street Performers, for they will awaken the zombies from sleep.”

I am big into helping the homeless.  The strange thing is that every time I visit a shelter or talk with any homeless people, they seem more cheerful than most people I know.  It makes me wonder, “Do the homeless people really need help?”

As Brother and I experienced on our Street Retreat, homelessness can really be a joy.  Especially blessed with a perspective that allowed us to enjoy meditation, yoga, nature, the presence of people and the miraculous life-giving force that spawned this beautiful creation – we had a ball.  The homeless people we encountered also seemed satisfied with their lives.  It was as though they had all stumbled across the best kept secret in the world and were reaping the harvest from it. What is this secret?  The Biblical Ideal!

“Give up everything and come and follow me.”  Pretty sure the Bible says that somewhere.  To our materialist, consumerist culture, giving up anything is a frightening proposition.  After all, isn’t acquiring material possessions the only way we know how to temporarily enjoy ourselves and keep our minds occupied so we don’t think about bigger questions like “Why am I here?” and “Dude where’s my car?”

If the homeless people we all want to help are actually living a life much closer to the Biblical Ideal than most of us, how can we help them?  Some of them do suffer from drug issues, loneliness, and possibly depression.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem plausible to move them away from the Biblical Ideal and integrate them back into the traditional money-worshipping society.  Instead, wouldn’t it be amazing if they learned sustainable practices like meditation and yoga?  What if the next homeless person you walked by was juggling, not because he wanted your money, but juggling simply to enjoy the moment?  Even more, what if you saw a group of four homeless people sitting together playing cards – not playing for money, but just playing to play?  You could even ask that homeless guy you know for a yoga lesson.

There are all kinds of free things to do in this world.   We miss out on a lot of the simple joys of life possibly because they are always available to us so we take them for granted and think they are less valuable than watching 30 minutes of CSI.  We live in pipe dreams of a virtual world that tells us we don’t have a good life, but don’t worry because you can watch these people who do. Then we forget how amazing life is and how many beautiful treasures were bestowed upon us at birth, for free!

If we really want to help the homeless, we should teach them sustainable practices.  Of course, to teach them sustainable practices, we first need to learn them!  Instead of watching television tonight, consider spending some time on YouTube and try out one of the many free yoga videos they have.  Or, pick up 2 balls and start tossing them back and forth from hand to hand like you are casting rainbows.  I assure you, it is way more fun than hurting your back on a couch and numbing your brain.

Cherish those gifts of yours.  They were given to you for a reason 🙂
p.s.  Just realized today is Monday.  Happy Monday to you!


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