Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Old Man and His Pineapples

The moment I saw him standing peacefully at his cart slicing his pineapples without a care about the world I knew I would buy a pineapple from him. Not some slices. A whole one. No bargaining. I just wanted to do business with him. The old Muslim man continued slicing away and putting sliced pineapple slices into small plastic covers.

I went to the bank and returned. He was still at his job. People came randomly. One knew him well enough to pick up a packet and start eating. A youngster bought a packet for an old beggar woman. Things happened without any negotiation. He continued on his job. I asked him to give me a whole pineapple. He finished what he was doing and then started my job.

It was this deep purpose of what he was doing that caught me. He was not selling anything. He was just being himself. He was just at peace with himself. If he sold one or a hundred it would not matter. And since it did not matter, it drew people to him. It was amazing how many got drawn to him.

One is the peace. Another is his purpose. Thirdly he did not push anything - he merely did his work and allowed. He created a secure space for others to step in. For someone like me who thinks several times before I buy anything, to decide so clearly was amazing.

It made sense what the zen masters say. You just have to be and not try too hard and the world will come to you. It is when you grab that it slips away. Tim Galleway says in his book 'The Inner Game of Work' that sales happen when you stepped back and gave the buyer space.

The old man is a zen master.