Shuffles was quite happy to be called Shuffles. I checked.
He shuffled due to his Parkinson’s illness but he obviously accepted the warmth with which his street community used the name.
He was young man and had a direct and warm presence. He had waited patiently whilst I had the poem being delivered to me and was ready to engage as soon as I turned to him.
So we sat and I confirmed that he had indeed come to get a Buddha like his friend RR had said. As it turned out Shuffles was very knowledgeable about Buddhism. He understood a number of the core principles but he said he still hadn’t really come to a deeper understanding of the Tibetan Wheel of Life as yet.
I knew he would easily choose his Buddha so I quickly lay them out on my lap.
Immediately he requested, “I would love that Thai one.”
He liked its “solid but also non assuming nature ” and he particularly was drawn to the “soft golden glow.” I really enjoyed talking to him about life and what matters most and what qualities are worth valuing. So here I was yet again sitting enjoying my time with someone as the ‘stranger’ barrier dissolved.
As I watched him lift the Buddha up and under his shirt into place near his chest he revealed that he was not going to place it in his pocket but by his heart where he kept a broken baby eggshell. He said the eggshell reminded him of the preciousness of life. He wanted to the Buddha to be with the eggshell.
He said his core belief was that ‘humanity is a single heart beat’ This belief he said keeps him going in what is obviously a tough existence in some ways. He also offered quite spontaneously that he felt common sense and communication were the most important qualities to develop in life.
He said he knew he still had more to offer the world and he loved that the small Buddha represented vast potential. He told me he felt he had at times helped others believe in their own vast potential.
Shuffles suggested I look at his art folio online so I could see the type of art work he used to do. When I told him I would write about our meeting he was happy for me to show you some pictures of his work. His last posting was early 2016. I didn’t ask what I had happened from that time to this more recent time on the street. The artist in him seemed alive and present whether or not new drawings had been added to the folio.
As I made ready to leave, Shuffles said, “Its been nice talking to a kindred spirit.”
I felt the same.
Another couple of RR’s friends had arrived further expanding the circle but needing to get home I packed up the Buddha bag and after a big hug from RR I left to catch a tram.
Walking along observing the busy Sunday crowds weaving in and out of the stores that glistened with attractive and expensive items to buy I felt I had secretly discovered where the real riches were in this busy shopping Mall.
Buddha donated by Sanghamati Port Fairy, Australia
Shuffles art work