Story: Father, Son, Zen Master and Karate (Source: Google Baba)
Once upon a time, a father was very frustrated with his son as he felt that his son is 16 years old and is still not manly. The father went to meet a Zen master and shared his concern with him. The father told the Zen master that he wanted that his son should have the courage and can understand the true meaning of success.
The master promised that he will make his son strong and realize the true meaning of success. But the father has to leave his son at his place for 3 months and can not meet him in between. The father agreed as he had no other choice and he wanted his son to be strong and understand the real meaning of success.
As promised, the father did not come back until 3 months later. The Master had arranged a karate match to show the father the training results. The father could observe that the opponent was a trained karate player and was not sure whether his son will be able to fight successfully with the opponent.
When the contest started, the opponent could easily thrash the boy without much effort. But the boy did not lose hope and stand up again for the fight but the result was still the same. Every time he stood up for the fight, he was thrown on the ground. Till the time fight ended, he was grounded more than 18 times!
The boy lost badly when the match was over. The master asked the father, “Don’t you think, your son was showing manliness?” The father was very disappointed and said, “I felt ashamed of him! After 3 months of training, what kind of result is this? He is so weak that he falls to the floor as soon as he is attacked. I don’t think, he is manly at all.”
The master replied that “I am sorry that you only look at the superficial forms of failure and success. Didn’t you notice that your son has the courage and bravery for standing up after he falls? It is a success if he stands up more times than he falls, which is what a real man should possess. Many more skilled fighters are not as brave and manly as your son is.”
The father had a sudden enlightenment and thanked the master deeply and then he took his son home feeling pride.
Moral of the Story: The definition of success is different for different people. Some define success only by the possessions they have while others define success as their will to keep going no matter the odds and the failed attempts. When successful people were asked to what they accredit their success they answered perseverance.
During the day we meet both good and bad people and situations. On average, more than 90% is always happening favourable for us. Less than 10% is something which is not as per our expectation. Interestingly, our focus is not on the majority of the things that are going positively with us but on those which is not meeting our assumptions. Example: When we look at the blackboard with a small white dot in the center, our entire focus is on that white dot but we miss seeing and focusing on the entire blackboard!
When someone helps us, we generally thank that person for supporting us and are always generous towards that person. But when someone does not obey us or creates problems for us (office politics, relationship issues, cheating by business partners, taking credit), what do we do? We always think badly about that person. We curse that person and want that things should also go bad for that person. We crib about that person in our conscious mind and also with our friends, colleagues and family members.
What we do not understand is that the more we think about that person/situation, the stronger our sanskaras with that person. Moreover, by regularly thinking negatively about that person, we are passing negative energy to the other person and our negative karma with that person is building up.
Many times it has happened that when we pass through a challenging time, when things were not going right (someone seriously ill in the family, business failure, removed from the job) and when we look back, in hindsight, we always find that we have learned much more during the crisis. We also realize that the problems have made us much stronger, down to earth and flexible.
If presently we are going through any challenge in life, can we thank that person/situation for giving us this problem in our lives? Maybe so far, we were living a comfortable and relaxed life which may have made our life monotonous, predictable and lethargic. But by virtue of the sudden jolt, we may have started seeing life from a different perspective, maybe we have become a little more watchful and active, maybe we may have decided to upgrade our skills to remain competitive in the market, maybe we have started challenging ourselves more rigorously, maybe now we have stopped taking everything as granted, maybe our thought process may change from ‘I am doing everything’ to ‘there is very little which is within my control’ or it could be much more.
As said earlier when someone is praising us, it is the perspective of someone. Example: If you wear a new suit, there may be a few people who will be appreciating your dress but there could be many who may be laughing at your dress sense. Similarly, when someone is criticizing your work, we need to analyze that is it being criticized by everyone or there are a few people who may be appreciating your effort.
It means people will have different perspectives on the same situation. Like any decision taken by the government (demonetization) will have diverse views, some will appreciate and many will question the intention of the government. Or when it is raining, for some it will be a time to have fun and eat some exotic food while for some, it could be an inconvenience, traffic jam, flood etc. In such a situation, what should the rain do? Whether the rain should feel good or bad. The logical answer is neither good nor bad. Just be the same in both situations.
Something similar is true with us too. People will appreciate us and they will criticize us too. In both states, we should always remain calm and stable as it is the perspective of the other person and we don’t have any control over it. As long as we are feeling happy and contented about doing something, we should continue to do it.
The day we will start accepting the appreciation, success, awards, promotions, accolades, and fame with calmness, dignity and maturity and owe our success to God, family and well-wishers; we will be able to handle the pain, suffering, defeat, anger, cheating, politics, failure with the same equanimity and acceptance.