In March of 2020, I went with a close friend of mine to Acapulco, Mexico. We stayed on a little resort right on the ocean. My whole adult life has been shrouded with a past of hate, violence and addiction. Most memories aren’t too wholesome for me. But, this one still is. And its universality is beautiful.
This resort had this little seven day store, which was below the bakery and coffee shop. The bakery had this beautiful walkway up to it, on a path surrounded by water and dancing lights. The doors opened outwards. They wafted with their opening , the smell coffee and delicious deserts. Through the bakery, a set of doors let you outside, where the ocean breeze would kiss your cheeks while you went down a flight of stairs to the seven day store. It smelt of fresh fruits and coconut sunscreen. It carried everything you would need inside: fruits, juices, candies: the works! I walked in or through it 50 times in the few days we were there. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME- every worker smiled at us/me. I could not tell you what coffee they had, or the types of sandwiches available. But I can, three years later, VIVIDLY describe the employees faces. As I am writing this, even the name of the resort is lost to me. Not their faces, though.
Maharaj-ji said, “never throw anyone out of your heart”, and “love everyone”. Those simple, merely effortless smiles, in those moments reminded me that I was living in the hearts of others. I spoke no Spanish(besides the Taco Bell menu), and I understood nothing of their culture and traditions. I was an alien tourist in their country. Yet, they smiled. As naive as I can be, I realize they were being paid and on the clock. A smile, though, is still a smile. An easy action that shows compassion, beauty and Love to those that see it. Everyone understands a smile. It is universal. As, too, is the Love of Maharajji, or the Big Love: is it for ALL beings! Everyone can receive a smile, and everyone can find the Big Love.
In times of stress or worry, I think about that little shop. On that little resort. In that little city. In that small country. And those smiles- those smiles still continue to bless my days.
“No matter how nice is feels to be important; it is always more important to be nice.”
-Ganga Das is an American Sadhu and sanyasi: having taken formal vows of renunciation in 2022. He is currently based out of a Hindu Buddha Mandir near Baltimore, MD.