Once I started telling people about my mission, many were worried, some thought it was crazy and very few thought it was a good idea. Sure, I am willing to plunge myself into danger, but what is not dangerous in this world? If I cross the street, walk out of my house or even stay in my house, there are elements of potential danger present. For example, I can cut my finger while slicing a lemon, peeling an apple, or even slip while getting out of the bathtub.
“But the news portrays the Downtown Eastside as a very dangerous place. It is a place where people get stabbed, mugged, or shot while walking around.” This common misconception is not only bias, but is conditioned by the fear-mongering media. The media conditions its viewers by only broadcasting extreme cases that do not normally occur on a day-to-day basis. In other words, the news portrays far-end distributions, which people then assume to be an accurate representation of their reality. The same analogy can be used for you taking a bath. How often do you slip and hurt yourself while getting out of the bathtub or walking down the stairs?
When a news story, such as a homicide, is broadcast on TV, it essentially means that 1 out of the 33,739,900 people living in Canada has committed a serious crime. Assuming that homicides are randomly distributed, the chance of being killed by such a person is 0.000000000000000008% (1/33,739,900). Once this homicide has occurred, many different TV and radio stations cover this event over multiple days. So this highly unlikely event is exaggerated by over-broadcasting this story, which then increasingly taints our accurate representation of reality. To put things into perspective, the chance of winning the lottery is 1 in 14 million while the chance of being struck by lightning is 1 in 775,000.
Therefore, it is more likely for me to win the lottery, or get struck by lightning than to be killed. Even though we all have this knowledge, we would still place the worst case scenario as the most likely to occur. Admittedly, higher-risk places do certainly exist. For example, living in a war-zone can indeed increase the chance of being shot. Even in that case, one has to be at a certain place and a certain time to get injured. So the natural question then becomes, who is holding the dice?
What I rely upon during this week of homelessness is common sense along with peace and tranquility within my own body. The body is a location where everything is perceived, it is a temple or home, so to say. All the information buzzing outside of you has to be interpreted from within, with the help of your five senses. The spiritual man will tell you that the five senses are meant only for the physical world and that there are greater senses which allow you to interpret the spiritual world.
If you have scary, sad, or unhappy interpretations of your surroundings, then you will most likely create the same feeling within yourself. Whenever I was feeling unsafe, unhappy, or negative, I direct my attention to my breath. I did this on the night before embarking on my journey. I listened to chants for three hours, burned incense and submitted myself into God’s hands. Please take care of me and teach me while I venture out into the unknown.