Michele Attias Life Coach

Start Leveraging The Power of Faith

A few days ago, I was sitting on a bench in London eating my lunch, minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye, I observed a homeless man spontaneously get down on one knee on the pavement.

He was begging to the tourists who were nonchalantly passing by, asking them to part with a few pennies, his hands cupped open in anticipation of what was going to be handed to him.

The tourist passed by and ignored him as if he was an apparition that would soon disappear in a puff of smoke.

I observed the spectacle and felt a well of emotion open up.

Imagine walking to the middle of a packed street, and perched on one knee begged for spare change towards people who experienced you as invisible.

I imagine that doing this repeatedly would grind away at your self-esteem, self-respect and sense of self. Yet this man didn’t need to do affirmations, take a self-esteem weekend or work on believing in himself. It was a mere act of survival, in fact, the only way he would get to eat a meal that day.

Self-respect has to go out of the window when it stands alongside survival.

As he completed his display of begging, he looked over to his next audience, those who were innocently sitting down on the benches eating boxed sandwiches and coffee.

This included me.

The man looked over to our area and shuffled over as fast as he could, as this would allow him to reach a new clientele he could pitch to. He began to hold out his hand to each person sitting on the side benches, some stood up, rustled around their pockets and parted with their spare change, and others stared into space as if this man did not exist.

He then dragged his feet over to where I was sitting, and stood in front of me, as he had done with all the others.

I prepared a few coins and regretted not having bought an extra sandwich with me, as there were so many homeless people sitting around the area.

Except with me, this man did something different; he looked intently at me for a few moments.

Here was a man wanting to engage in some conversation.

If he did, I thought, he must be psychic, he’s come to the right place. I spend my days listening to people as a way of changing or optimising an aspect of their lives, but if this man wanted to ask ways of changing his life, I would need a magic wand and a miracle.

I stood silent in anticipation of his question. Did he want guidance on how to get back on his feet?

Not at all, the question had a different tone to it.

He stared at me intently, eyes wide open whilst trying to get the words out of his mouth.

“What place do you worship?” He asked eagerly.

I was taken aback by the question.

He waited for a few moments then continued with the next part of his inquiry.
“Mosque, church, temple, synagogue?”

He waited, as I stood still, not knowing where his questions were leading to.

He continued;
“You know I’m keeping Ramadan.”

Thank goodness I had not offered him a sandwich then.

“Synagogue,” I answered, words finally slipping out of my mouth, not knowing the comeback I would get.

He waited for a few moments, stood tall in front of me whilst I sat firmly on the bench, I looked up at him awaiting the comeback. As he stood right in front of the sun, the bright rays behind resembled a halo surrounding him, which was totally appropriate for the conversation we were having. It was like having my own personal prophet on hand.

He reflected further before the pearls of wisdom came out of his mouth.

“Whichever god you pray, I want to bless your family and children. Remember that when you pray, to pray for yourself, you decide how you want to pray, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”

Wiser words could not have been spoken.

I have been having a turbulent relationship with my religion in the past few years, and one of the truths I’ve learnt recently has been to create a relationship to god/spiritual source that I chose to have. Based on what truly connects me and hearing his words touched a part of me that was still making sense of this.

He continued;
“It doesn’t matter what religion you are, we are all children of God, we are all the same, we have to stop dividing ourselves and just start coming together, make peace between each other.”

The homeless man had more sense in the simple words he sprouted forth, than all the world leaders put together.

No ego, no power trip, just love.

How a homeless man with battered shoes, shirt filthy through constant wear and begging to those around him could actually still show faith and even want to bless anyone was beyond me. All I gave him was spare change and a few moments of conversation, yet he was able to bless me, still clinging onto love and the commonality of humanity was beyond me.

Whoever he used as his guru, I wanted to speak to him.

How is that even possible?

Not getting the job we wanted or the relationship we craved for sends us into a spin, yet this man showed a connection to faith and a belief in a higher being that was worthy of a Medal of Honour.

In fact, we were standing in front of the Marble Arch monument, and I wanted to create a ceremony for him, take a medal of honour and pin it to the lapel of his ragged shirt. He deserved it.

I can imagine that one of our biggest fears is that we will end up homeless.

Walking and begging the streets like this man was, watching tourists excitedly walking towards shopping centres, hotels, coffee bars, knowing that he can’t even be allowed into those places, let alone buy anything if he were inside.

Yet he was devoid of anger, frustration or irritation, although I have no doubt that this part of him emerges in those moments when he sinks further than he can manage.

But to reach out and bless me, suspending the hopelessness of his life, not even caring to compare both of our realities. Because our realities are different; he stood in front of me with nothing but an open hand carrying a few coins, and in contrast, I was sitting on a bench with an actual handbag and a few shopping bags. We dissolved what separated us, and we focused on the one thing we had in common — faith.

The faith we hold onto when times are tough and when we hit a rocky patch. No matter what that faith looks like, it is still an anchor that keeps us firmly moored on the shore, rather than setting off erratically through the stormy seas of life.

Reflect on your life; How could you show more faith in what might be occurring? Do you need to surrender more, do you need to let go of control, or do you simply need to know that this will pass?

If this article resonated with you, you can read more chapters like these in my latest book Look Inside: Stop Seeking Start Livingavailable now on Amazon.

Self Development