(Excerpts from “A New Earth – Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle)
“The Zen Master Hakuin lived in a town in Japan. He was held in high regard and many people came to him for spiritual teaching. Then it happened that the teenage daughter of his next door neighbor became pregnant. When being questioned by her angry and scolding parents as to the identity of the father, she finally told them that he was Hakuin, the Zen Master. In great anger the parents rushed over to Hakuin and told him with much shouting and accusing that their daughter had confessed that he was the father. All he replied was, “Is that so?”
News of the scandal spread throughout the town and beyond. The Master lost his reputation. This did not trouble him. Nobody came to see him anymore. He remained unmoved. When the child was born, the parents brought the baby to Hakuin. “You are the father, so you look after him.” The Master took loving care of the child. A year later, the mother remorsefully confessed to her parents that the real father of the child was the young man who worked at the butcher shop. In great distress they went to see Hakuin to apologize and ask for forgiveness. “We are really sorry. We have come to take the baby back. Our daughter confessed that you are not the father.” “Is that so?” is all he would say as he handed the baby over to them.
The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news, in exactly the same way: “Is that so?” He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him, there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.
The baby is looked after with loving care. Bad turns into good through the power of nonresistance. Always responding to what the present moment requires, he lets go of the baby when it is time to do so. Imagine briefly how the ego would have reacted during the various stages of the unfolding of these events.”
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I wish I were so “connected” that I did a better job of this. I wish I spent more of my day being less concerned about what others think of me, than I do focused on the truth of who I am. I have learned over the years that it is a process to get to that point – AND – I have the choice on how fast I get to that place of being able to be so present to THIS moment, the truth of who I am in this moment; that I am at peace with the drama that swirls around me. I was told some time ago that “what other people think of me is none of my business” and never have truer words been spoken. Yet, my incessant need to support and lift up my own ego continues to lead me down the rabbit hole time and time again.
The good news? I am doing that less and less with each passing day. It has been said that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon – and the more I practice this skill of staying in THIS moment, the more I can stay focused on the truth of who I am, and the more I can stay connected to a Presence in my life that is much greater and grander than I will ever be (which allows me to get out of my head and start giving back what has so freely been given me) – the more I am likely to live a happy, joyous and free life… full of peace, full of happiness, and full of love.