Is That So?
For today’s message, I wanted to talk about control.
What happens when we have to make a decision or attempt to tackle an obstacle that has presented itself in our lives.
Well, we look at all sides. We gather all of the information we can. We debate with ourselves. We talk to people. We do all of this ‘homework.’
Then, in the end, we just take a guess.
Unfortunately, when things don’t work out the way we anticipated, we get angry, frustrated, or sad.
Or maybe, we give up.
We say to ourselves, “Why didn’t it go ‘my way?'”
I did all of the work! I did all of the right things. I truly expected a different outcome.
The real truth is that life is not certain.
The beauty of life is that it cannot be controlled. It is immense. It is boundless.
Life happens effortlessly and without limits.
Not matter how much we want to take control of our lives and ‘predict’ what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year – control can never come to us by forcing.
Consider this story about Hakuin.
Is That So?
The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors 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 very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.
In great anger the parents went to the master.
“Is that so?” was all he would say.
When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility.
“Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.
A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that 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 his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.
Hakuin was willing.
In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”
Our futile attempts at trying to direct things and force things, leads to our ongoing frustration, anger, fear, worry, and a deep feeling of helplessness.
Simply by focusing on being the best person you can be, putting everything you have into doing good work, and flowing with life by accepting whatever happens in each moment (like Hakuin), you gain more energy and power over your life.
The very thing you tried to get from forcing life to conform to your will, comes to you without effort, when you let go of trying to control everything – and simply allow.
By Smitty on November 12th, 2014
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