Friday, May 3, 2013

Is That So?

Geisha

"The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.
Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.
This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parent went to the master.
"Is that so?" was all he would say.
After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin.
By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer.
She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back.
Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?""
Is it possible to be as humble and selfless as the man in this story?  The message behind it is one of grace and understanding even when we are not grasping the totality of a situation or circumstance. The gift of mercy. 
"I shiver, thinking how easy it is to be totally wrong about people, to see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole, to see the cause and think it’s the effect or vice versa." ~ Lauren Oliver.
How many times do I react or jump to inferring the worst, seeing the world only from my tinted lenses. As Anaïs Nin puts it: "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." 

How often do I just stop, quit or lose interest because it's uncomfortable, not easy or monotenous. Or do nothing and walk away, ignoring the obvious because I feel it's somebody else's mess not mine. Withholding compassion when my pride flares up. 

While none of us are Zen Masters, we are the master of our own life. I'm not looking for purity, just balance between the dark and the light. Wholeness that comes with the discernment of time and experience. 

What if instead, I stayed? If what I persevered even when it's not "in the flow", and I waited instead? I can go with my gut reactions and run, or I can stop and pause and see what may come. Be with it, whatever "it" is and make peace. 

What if I simply said, "is that so"? 



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