As a Zen student I wasn’t very disciplined. I skipped on my prayers and meditations, argue with my master and I didn’t have any patience.
I wanted to be enlightened, now. If there is a secret to this Zen teachings tell it to me and be done. I mean, what is the point of waiting?
My master had to tell me every day “Be patient, you are not ready yet!”
Worst of all he never told me if I was making any progress or how long until I’d be ready for this big secret to be revealed. So one day I just asked him
- How does one know if he’s enlightened or not?
- Would you live your life any different if God appeared right now in front of you?
Now, I knew the right answer was “No” but I knew he’d knew I was lying so I said “Yes”
- Well then, you are not enlightened yet!
He said, just like I knew he would.
Since then I worked on my enlightenment every day but the answer to that question is still “No”
I mean, if God would appear to me, from thin air, I would be completely transformed,
I would live for the rest of my life without any fears and doubts – After I had changed my underwear.
How does anybody live like that?
I was reading recently about Mother Theresa’s letters in which she voices her doubts about her faith and about God. I know, you might say she was only human after all.
What about Jesus. Remember, on the cross when Satan comes to tempt him?
Even he had his doubts, even he hesitated.
So I gave up on attaining that kind of enlightenment and instead this is what I do.
Every year around this time I do a little enquiry.
What would I do if I only had one day to live?
I would stay home and spend it with my family.
What if I had only one week to live?
I would take a vacation with my family.
What about a month?
Same thing, I would spend it with my family.
What about one year?
Well, that would be different. I would like to pay all of my debt or at least as much as I could and leave my family as financially secure as possible.
What about 10 years?
I would change my line a work. I would start my own business. Probable go back being a therapist again. Or do something creative like painting and sculpting.
So this would become my New Year resolutions. Spend more time with my family, get out of debt, and change my line of work.
And if I can achieve all that I would consider myself pretty enlightened.