There is a story of a young, but dedicated Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find enlightenment?
The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years .”
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?”
“Well, twenty years.” replied the Master.
“But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student.
“Thirty years,” replied the Master.
“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”
“When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.” replied the Master.
We take our attention off the path in a number of ways. Even the chasing after a goal can distract and limit you. There’s nothing wrong with a goal, but whether it be happiness, peace, money, or enlightenment whenever you chase after something your focus is on “not enough” i.e. insufficiency versus abundance. So if your goal is to experience sufficiency and abundance of anything then shift your focus away from doing and toward being.
“He who knows enough is enough will always have enough.”
You can’t get abundance, but you can “be” abundance i.e. you can tune into it. Focusing on what you don’t have automatically makes what you have “less-than”. A mind that’s focused on what it doesn’t have is always functioning in insufficiency. Abundance can’t gain a foothold in a mind tuned to “not enough”. First step: start acknowledging what you have. The second step: Start giving it away to others.
“Wherever I go, and whoever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be a compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come into contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth and affluence in my life and in the lives of others.”
“The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.”
The truth is that life is like a mirror, it reflects what you put out there and boy have I learned that lesson yet again this week.
Picture found on https://sites.google.com/site/briansatchwannabe/exhibition