As I walked along the side streets of Manchester, I see a pathetic looking youngish man sat in his own filth, in the doorway of Aramani clothing. Ironic I thought, two extremes living side-by-side, extreme poverty and extreme blatant consumer wealth. The next day the long haired, long bearded man was there again. The very next day he was still sitting there in broken silence waiting to be moved along by the 5 foot wide security guard and treated like some kind of under-life that should never be seen or heard. Every day I walk past, the guy wrapped in a filthy blanket, sitting on the big stone step at the door of Aramani, he is there. I have to admit I talk about him to my partner. I say things like “I wonder how he got there?” “Surely he can get out of his situation?” “How can a man allow himself to go so low?” “He might be homeless but is there a need to be so dirty?” This raises a question. Am I judging or observing? You see there are lots of things seen with the eyes, lots of things recorded into the ears and stored into the brain and lots of things talked about in coffee shops across tables covered in little brown circles where the last coffee drinker sat just moment before. Let a lot of what we talk about is based on the thoughts of others, based on hearsay, based in a visual moment that is then translated into a thought pattern that usually is preset by the kind of life, environment or upbringing we have been through or conditioned to accept. Yet there is a difference between judging and observing. When we observe we look at things from a wider view. We see the big picture, we measure it up against what we know and if we don’t know and are smart enough we take the time to discover and find out the answer to what we don’t know. The observation of things makes us aware, it moves our senses and energizes our thinking in ways that only another sense can translate. Yet to truly observe we need to unplug, become impartial and see each action, each moment as it really is not as it appears. Lets go back to the man in the door of Aramani. Two days ago I decided to do something. I went into a shop and got some foodstuffs. I have plenty and probably eat too much anyway so I bought a bottle of vitamin C packed fresh orange, a protein loaded chicken and bean sandwich and of course my favorite addiction, a small slice of carrot cake. When at the cashier I had this put into a bag on its own. As I walked out I headed to the young man, approached him smiling, bent down so my face was on the same level as his face and spoke to him. “There you go mate, enjoy” He was thrilled, smiled, woke up. His eyes came to life, his ears opened, his lips parted and thanked me. I always get tearful in these situations, then we talked. “How did you get here?” I asked. “If I told you, you just wouldn’t believe me” he replied in a quiet, calm and very well spoken tone. “I used to be a property broker, I had a huge home in Cheshire but everything I owned was on loan or lease. When the property market went down I went down with it. Everything I owned- but never really owned- got repossessed. My wife, EX-WIFE, couldn’t live without the big life, she went away with an ex-friend of mine. As time went on I had no credit, no friends,I’m an only child, my parents died years ago. Then I got to the stage where cash just ran out, not a bean, I went from millions to below zero and now life my life in the negative” “WOW”, I replied “so why are you living on the streets?” “I have everyone and anyone chasing me for debt despite my huge bankruptcy. Even my ex-wife won a claim for 3 million pounds despite the position I am now in. I’m living like this to hide away, drop-out until I sort myself out” As you can imagine, I was totally gob-smacked to say the least. I put my hand on his shoulder, wished him all the best and walked back to my luxury apartment, filled with great food and my own stuff but more so loaded with guilt and shame of the way I had maybe judged him over the past few weeks. Now when I see this man I observe. I observe the life of a man troubled, hammered, war-torn by the recklessness of Zoomanity. The lack of care in a world driven by greed, an endless compulsion for more and a drive to reach what is coming next. The consumerism of zoomanity. The man is living a life created by his own actions. Yes he could and he will find a way out I’m sure of that sometimes we have to live the experiences to really understand and get life. His life was based around the conditioned implants of zoomanity, the quest for tomorrow and what tomorrow will or should bring. Wealth and riches equals happiness yet here was a man that had it all and is living a life of misery? He believed the myth and fell for the dream. He will become a better man for his new experience on the streets that’s for sure. Yet when you see, observe or talk about man like this on the streets can you become a better person for observing the bigger picture or do you simply not care enough to want to know? After all, most of zoomanity will never even raise an eyebrow, turn a head or lower themselves to observe the reality in another moment. Judgment or observation, how do you know? Put it this way, when most of us make a judgment it is usually based on an expected way we are conditioned to act or react. An observation will sit in silence, use all the sense to make sense of a moment. Does the man want to be on the street, filthy and battered? Of course not. We all have a life to live but do we use our life to give? A hand on a should can transform the mind of one person in a single moment forever. Of course, this is just an observation on my part. Right? Wrong? I’m not sure but I’d love you hear and read your opinion below. Alan Forrest Smith www.AlanForrestSmith.com New Book … www.EscapefromZoomanity.com It’s Begun!