“There is a hidden meaning behind all events,

and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution”

Deepak Chopra

Like many of you, I enjoy going to the gym each morning for a daily dose of exercise and an invigorating boost stemming from the release of endorphins.  Sometimes, events or circumstances force me to reschedule my routine to a later hour.  On one such occasion, at approximately 2 PM when the gym is almost deserted, a woman about my age was working out beside me on the treadmill while a man of about 40 was sweating profusely on the stationary bike.

Half an hour later, the male patron paused and lifted his minuscule towel to wipe himself; the entire bike was soaked and the floor was a puddle. He passed in front of us on his way to the door with absolutely no intention to clean the bike or the floor.  After a cursory glimpse of our repulsed faces, he said: “You will think that I am a pig; I always sweat a lot, since I was a kid… And the gym is a place to sweat, right?”

Evidently, he was talking about himself disregarding the mess he had left behind. The women beside me exclaimed loudly: “What we think about you is not important; what’s important is what you think of yourself after leaving this mess for someone else to clean…”  Instantaneously, the man stopped dead in his tracks, made a 180-degree turn and went searching for paper towels to clean the bike and the floor. Upon completing the task, he apologized and left; the two of us still on the treadmill exchanged glances of approval and continued with our business.  I was speechless, highly impacted by both his lack of gym etiquette and the powerful and warranted comment of the woman beside me.

Following the incident and my return home, I was unable to erase the scene from my mind that entire afternoon.  I felt the need to decode the deeper message underpinning the situation and furnish an explanation as a witness of the event.

Suddenly, I experienced an epiphany: It was not about the bike and the gym floor or the sweaty guy but rather, an allegory on our approach to life in general.

Then, thought-provoking questions surfaced:

In which situations of our lives are we being untidy and inconsiderate to others?

Are we conscious of what we leave behind in every situation?

How do we react when our ego is projecting a negative image?

Is our behavior ruled by what others see or think or by what we are as a person?

I have not seen the male patron at the gym again; he was probably a tourist or a one-time visitor.  Or perhaps, he was present that day so I could learn more about myself.

It’s fascinating how we constantly find evidence that everything transpiring in our lives is somehow connected and how everyday situations that are seemingly insignificant on the surface can be meaningful, challenging and teach us so much about ourselves.