My experience of an unremarkable righteous thought
Greetings to Master,
Greetings to fellow practitioners,
I would like to share my experience of an unremarkable righteous thought.
Three weeks ago I took my family to Luna Park, Coney Island. Where I had my first encounter with the biggest and scariest slide I had ever seen. It was an impossible shape, the top is vertical so it looks like you will topple and fall on your head.., but encouraged by the steady flow of people travelling down I went up the long flight of stairs to the top.
When I got to the top, it was very different from looking up at it from the bottom.
When it was my turn to go down I became extremely nervous, I started asking people beside me, should I lean backward to prevent falling on my face? Soon I was at the top and looked at my brother who was already seated ready to go... I slowly sat down and looked at the slide attendant and said, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, it’s impossible!” My brother looked at me, he smiled –he had already gone and I quickly realized but he’s an everyday person and I am a practitioner and I said out loudly “yes I can” and pushed myself down the impossible vertical slide, on the way down I gave out an involuntary scream of joy mixed with relief. I did not know I can scream so loud!
This small incident made my family and friends laugh, thinking about it now it was a small victory for me. And indeed this attachment of fear, fear of the seemingly impossible has been a recurring part of my cultivation the whole of last year only I did not enlighten to it until just now.
Taking on the responsibility of helping the art exhibition move forward has been a winding slide. Such a huge project who would want to do this? I have a business and two young children, aged three and one to care for. (That was over a year ago already, now they are four and two years of age)
Thinking I had too little time I allowed these human thoughts to comfort take over my whole realm. Combined with a complete lack of proper and real Fa-study I was just going through the motions. Superficially I thought I was doing my best which by practitioner standards was the bare minimum. At one point just as I had said on the big slide “this is impossible”. And with no solid group of practitioners to work on the art project, I was in a rut.
An event related to my everyday work helped me see outside of myself and to look within. I had just completed a large task; I am a florist and had arranged a $500.00 funeral casket for a customer. I usually only arrange wedding flowers, it was the first time I had taken on a funeral arrangement so although I usually agree to a job after I have been paid, this one time I told the customer they could pay me after. The day of the funeral arrived and the customer said she had forgotten to bring the money for the flowers. I thought she looked very sincere and so I said “don’t worry; here are my bank account details, pay me when you return home.”
3 days passed and still no money had turned up in my account. I sent her a friendly reminder; another week passed and still no money. I was worried and angry now, feeling like this person had taken advantage of me. And I now had to consider what to do next, my ordinary friends advised that I should send a warning and then take legal action. As a practitioner I asked myself, “am I attached to money and reputation?” How would a cultivator deal with this? These are all things that a cultivator should actively let go. With that thought although I was clearly correct by ordinary standards entitled to get my money I decided to go the opposite way, cut my losses and consider showing compassion.
“So you should not be like him or become really upset with him, despite his putting you in this awful situation where you cannot even raise your head. Instead of being angry with him, you should thank him in your heart and thank him sincerely. An ordinary person may think this way: “Isn’t that being like Ah Q?” I am telling you it is not so. –Lecture Four
I decided to send this customer who owed me money another arrangement of flowers and also a kind letter to see how she and her family were coping.
I had begun writing an email to her and as soon as that positive thought left my mind, I noticed that she had just then sent a letter apologizing for the late payment and a lovely letter thanking me for the flowers. I was shocked.
What may look right on the surface may not be right when looked at from a higher realm. Even when we think we are right, and others even tell you that you are right it might actually be an opportunity to let go.
Lately our Sydney art group has encountered these sorts of tests on many occasions in the form of trust and letting go of negativity. I can see that there are some blockages between some of us… however I also need to consider that as we go about things we are still in the process of cultivating away our human attachments so we need to be rational and have real compassion toward each other, because although we have a big road ahead of us, like the slide it is actually a relatively short trip that we might even try to enjoy with each other.
Because as our master tells us; “when it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible. If you can actually do it, you will indeed find: “After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!”
Please I would like any feedback so please do let me know if I have any incorrect understandings in this sharing.
Thank you, Master!
Thank you, fellow practitioners!