Outstanding again Gloria!
Today's Heavenletters reminds me of a Tao story that says the same thing, just puts it into a story. With your permission I am going to paste it below. It should help a lot of us who are right now unable to achieve our ideals. I desire a decent income, and more importantly, to bring others into the reality of being able to create love for themselves as well as others. I've got the technique that will teach everyone how to create this Perfecft love, but getting this vital info to the public is proving to be a bit of a problem. I've got to use this method on this goal of mine don't I?
by Derek Lin
Once upon a time in ancient China, the people at a village received orders from the regional governor to build a shrine for the emperor. If they could meet the deadline, the governor would reward them handsomely.
The chosen location for the shrine had a well, so they needed to fill it up before construction could take place. They brought in a donkey to transport piles of sand and mud for that purpose.
An accident occurred. The donkey got too close to the exposed well, lost his footing and fell into it. The villagers tried to lift him out but could not. After many failed attempts, they realized it would take too long to rescue him.
Keeping the deadline in mind, the villagers decided to sacrifice the donkey. They proceeded to shovel the sand and mud into the well, thinking they had no choice but to bury him alive.
When the donkey realized what they were doing, he began to wail pitifully. The villagers heard him but ignored him. The value of the donkey wasn't much compared to the rewards they would get, so they continued to shovel.
After a while, the wailing stopped. The villagers wondered about this. Was the donkey dead already? Or did he just give up? What was going on?
Curious, they looked in the well. A surprising sight greeted them: The donkey was alive and well. When the mud and sand rained down on him, he shrugged them off, and then stamped around until they were tightly packed below him. This formed solid ground that lifted him a bit higher each time.
Eventually, the donkey got high enough inside the well. With one powerful leap, he jumped out of it. Amazed, the villagers watched as he trotted off with his head held high.
Aren't you and I just like the donkey in the well sometimes? We all have days when we feel as if we are trapped. We can't get out, and there seems to be a never-ending stream of sand and mud raining down on us.
When we encounter adversity, our first impulse may be to complain. We ask ourselves questions like "Why does stuff like this always happen to me?" or "What have I done to deserve this?"
Just like the wailing of the donkey, our grievances have no effect whatsoever. The sand and mud continue to fall. Expressing outrage and feeling sorry for ourselves do not change anything.
In the story, the donkey came to the realization that his wailing was futile. In real life, many of us are not quite as intelligent. Even though we know it won't do any good, we still cry over spilt milk and wallow in bitterness.
This can become a repeating pattern of frustration followed by complaints followed by more frustration and more complaints. When we fall into this pattern, we cannot be at our best. The cycle of negativity prevents our mental state from being resourceful.
One way to break out of this pattern is to realize that we ourselves had a hand in authoring our fate – the good as well as the bad. Notice how the donkey was the one who carried the sand and mud next to the well. Whether he realized it or not, there was a note of irony in that he initiated the problem he complained about later.
I know a friend who could not stop talking about how miserable his life had become. He worked at a large corporation and was under constant pressure to perform. He had many coworkers and he did not get along with some of them. "I'm trapped," he said miserably. "I need to get out, but I can't."
He had all but forgotten that, years ago, he ws the one who applied for an opening at this corporation. His goal was to work for a large organization, so he competed against other candidates aggressively, fought hard for the position, and won. Therefore, he was at the very least partially responsible for his subsequent misery.
Therefore, the question we really should ask isn't "What have I done to deserve this?" Rather, it is "What have I done to cause this?"
Once we break out of the complaining mode, we must then come to the realization that there is value in everything – even things we normally consider "bad." No matter what happens, there is always something we can learn from it. There is always some way for us to turn it from something negative to something positive.
Next, we deal with the adversity itself. We need to be able to shrug it off just as the donkey shrugged mud and sand off his body. To shrug it off doesn't mean pretending it never occurred. We recognize and acknowledged the event – with the crucial distinction that we do not see it as a personal affront.
The villagers continued to shovel mud and sand for their own reasons, not because they hated the donkey. Similarly, when something bad happens to us, it isn't because the universe has something against us. It is not an attack and it is not personal.
We then make use of negativity. The donkey used the mud and sand as building blocks. In the same way, we can use a negative event as the raw material to increase or enhance our spiritual cultivation. Some examples are as follows:
- Has someone leveled a harsh criticism against us? That criticism may or may not contain a kernel of truth. If so, it shows us how we can improve. If not, it is a baseless attack that becomes a way for us to practice detachment from opinions that are not constructive.
- Has someone gotten in the way and blocked our path? It's an opportunity for us to reinforce our determination, strengthen our resolve, and increase our flexibility as we figure out a way around the obstacle.
- Has someone abandoned us or gone back on a promise? This is something we can use as a lesson that teaches us to become more independent and self-sufficient. Ultimately, we can only rely on ourselves.
- Has someone spread vicious and untrue rumors about us? If so, it's a reminder that we can live in such a way so that no one would ever believe them. It's also something that reveals the true nature of the people around us – a convenient way to find out who our real friends are.
When we look at it from this perspective, we quickly realize that there isn't anything we cannot use in some way. We can even say that everything that happens can be "good" because we can make it serve us in some capacity. No matter what kind of sand or mud is falling on us, we can step on it and use it to elevate us a little higher.
The more we do this, the better we get at it. Each negative event that occurs becomes just another helpful stepping stone. Every adversity moves us up, until we rise to the level of the Tao sages, who are known for their ability to handle anything with calmness and composure. Now we begin to understand their secret!
Just like the donkey jumping out of the well, we will be able to transcend beyond the mud and sand. Negativity and adversity no longer have any power over us and may as well not exist. The prison of bitter complaints disappears below us as we make the leap.
We are no longer trapped in the well!
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