There is a special place in her neighborhood community park where Ami Xochitl-Nigeria-Rubenstein-Ferrol does her daily meditation. She is a very spiritual person, and each morning after breakfast, she puts on her yoga clothes and walks down to the park from her two-story faux adobe house. She sits in the grass in her special place and she does her meditation. It is the place she has carved out for herself in the world.

Today when she arrives, she sees a man lying in the grass in her special place. He is dressed in rags and his cheeks are caved in and his hair is matted and long. The pigeons hop around him and he doesn’t even notice. The park is ten acres, but he has to lay down right in Ami’s meditation place. Her swami warned her there would be days like this. The man is asleep. People walk by looking at him. How embarrassing! Her special place is on a slight hill next to one of the busiest parts of the two-kilometer paved walking path, which goes in a loop, just like time. The people walking by help her to meditate. The people are like a river, always flowing, always flowing. The flowing of the people keeps her in touch with her own transient nature. It is like she is part of the flow of people, and yet separate from it. It makes her aware that we are all one, that each face is the face of the godhead, that each voice is a note in the music of the universe.

She tries to do her meditation in a different place but it is not the same. She tries several, in fact, but the shade is wrong or it is uncomfortably sloped. She worked hard to find her special place. It is her vortex. She feels very lonely and like the universe is playing a trick on her.

The next day, he is there again. Maybe he never left? What is it with homeless people? He

is asleep again. Why can’t he sleep during the night like a normal person?

Ami’s swami says each breath of meditation is like spiritual currency you can redeem in paradise. It will not buy you earthly possessions, it will buy you peace and harmony and a deep sustained love for all things. Silly selfish emotions and concerns will evaporate. Swami says it is an arduous journey and meditation is the key. A strict routine is necessary. It takes discipline and practice. One must meditate every day. Some people just don’t get that.

The next day—you guessed it—the homeless man is still there. Did the Buddha suffer so? Ami is fed up. She walks over and sits down next to the homeless man to do her meditation. Oh my God, you should smell him! Her meditation place is completely contaminated. Meditation involves deep breathing through the nose and out the mouth. Meditation involves clearing the mind. There is a bottle of liquor next to him, half empty. This is against park regulations. It’s openly posted. He snores and there are ants crawling on him. She tries to rid her mind of her countless earthly burdens, but it is just not happening. She fears she will be dead before she reaches the land of eternal peace.

He is there all week. She can’t meditate for seven days. She loses so much spiritual currency she doesn’t know how she will ever catch up. Will she be in debt forever? She hardly sleeps all week, either. She has terrible dreams where giant birds are chasing her. She feels cluttered and confused and lost. She tries to meditate at home, but the walls keep looking at her and it isn’t the same. Swami is out of town on his yearly sabbatical. She calls him on his cellphone but it goes right to messaging. She feels more alone in the universe than she ever has in her life.

Then one day, the homeless man is gone. Poof. Evaporated into the air like a pointless worry. Ami is proud of herself for being so patient, even though pride is an illusion. Swami says patience is one of the keys to wisdom. Patience is absolutely crucial when you are on the path to true everlasting love and grace.

The grass is all flattened out where the homeless man had been laying, in her meditation place. She feel empathetic towards the grass. When she sits and does her meditation, she is very light and hardly touches the grass. Sometimes she floats just above the ground, if the meditation is going well.

There are two nickels in the matted grass. She picks them up. They are sticky. She tosses them away. Money is a false god and a corrupter of the soul.

She meditates. She breathes in through her nose and out through her mouth. She meditates harder than usual to make up for not meditating all week. She sits in her special place and everybody walking by can see her doing it.