I’m on a high speed bullet train traveling from Beijing to Yiwu. Thoughts are zipping through my mind as fast as we are zipping through the countryside. My thought right now as I watch these farmers work their fields and paddle their boats is how different their life must be than mine. They labor with their hands in the dirt all day and rely on the good earth to supply their sustenance. They are very poor. I wonder if they feel poor? And are we not all poor for King Benjamin taught that we are all beggars, and Jesus taught, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, who come unto me, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven?” (3 Nephi 12:3).
My second thought concerns the principles of non-resistance, non-judgement, and non-permanence. My company was threatened with a lawsuit this week. Of course legal proceedings are never convenient, but me being in China for the next two weeks has made it especially difficult when it comes to complying with the opponents demands and timelines. I am perplexed at the gentleman’s unreasonableness. I have offered, what I consider to be, several very generous and fair settlement proposals–all of which he hastily rejects. His wife is a lawyer so it costs him nothing to file a claim, and I do feel we are being bullied. It is frustrating, but what is really amazing to me is how calm I feel. I attribute this peace to a few things.
First, I trust that everything will work out. I wrote a bit about what I’ve learned concerning this principle here. I’ve had enough experience with God, Kharma and the Universe to know that all things work together for the good of those that love and serve God. I know that nothing can ever permanently go wrong for those who put God first. It all works out, eventually. 🙂
Second, I have come to treasure Ekhart Tolle’s teachings on the principles of non-resistance, non-judgement and non-permanence. These three principles have become morning mantras for me and are no doubt another source of peace and joy for me.
Let’s first take a look at the principle of non-resistance for I love the story Tolle used to illustrate this principle. He told of the wise old sage who was falsely accused by his neighbors as being the father of their daughter’s illegitimate son (the daughter told her parents that he was the father which simply was not true). The parents told everyone in the community about the misdeed, ruining the respected man’s reputation. They even traveled to his home and accused him to which he replied, “Is that so.”
When the daughter birthed the child, the parents took him to the sage old man and gave him the baby saying, “This is your child, you take care of him.” The wise old man replied, “Is that so.” He raised the child and after several years the daughter felt bad for lying to her parents about who the father of the child really was so she confessed that it was not the wise old sage, but her boyfriend. The parents came to the wise old man and demanded the young boy back. The old man said, “Is that so,” and returned the child that he had come to love very much. The community found out the mistake and the wise old sage was once again returned to an honorable standing in the community. The wise old man never became bitter, stressed, frustrated or angry. He simply accepted life as it came and made the best of it.
Non-resistance pairs perfectly with the principle of non-judgement. Once there was this man who won the lottery. His family said, “Wow, you are so lucky!” The man replied, “Maybe.” The man bought a new car with his new money. His family said, “Wow you are really blessed now that you have a new car.” The man replied again, “Maybe.”
The next day the man was driving his new car and crashed. He was injured badly and taken to the hospital. His family came to visit him and said, “If you hadn’t won the lottery you wouldn’t have bought that car and gotten into this accident. You are not so lucky now.” The man once again replied, “Maybe.”
While the man was in the hospital, a mudslide hit his house in the night, completely destroying it. His family visited him in the hospital and said, “What a blessing you were in the hospital when the mudslide hit your house or else you would have been killed,” to which the man replied, “Maybe.”
I liked this story a lot because it illustrates perfectly the principle of non-judgement and Shakespeare’s truism that nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so. Which means, we are the ones who assign meaning to our every day occurrences. Events are simply events. We are the ones that label them good or bad. Why not just allow life to unfold and embrace it? We came to Earth to live and learn so it seems silly to get all upset when things don’t work out. Remembering the story of the wise old man who learned to accept life as it unfolded and the man who won the lottery and refrained from passing judgement on events as they unfolded. Both understood the importance of embracing life as it arrives. Finally, non-resistance and non-judgement go beautifully with principle #3–non-permanence.
Non-permanence is best illustrated by the story of the King who calls the wisest man in his kingdom to his court. He asks him to give him wisdom and in exchange the King will give him, the wise, old man whatever he desires. The old man agrees to the exchange and several days later he returns to the court with a box containing a gold ring. The King is perplexed and the old man tells him to read the inscription inside the ring. It says, “This too shall pass.” The old man tells the King to wear the ring always and whenever he has a perplexing problem, or whenever he is fully enjoying life, spin the ring while remembering the inscription, “This too shall pass.” For nothing is permanent. Good times will come and go, as will hard times. Keeping this principle always top of mind is wise for it helps alleviate worry and stress while also inspiring gratitude and mindfulness.
When you combine the three principles of non-resistance, non-judgement, and non-permanence, with a steadfast faith, hope and trust in God, nothing can shake you! Embracing all three of these principles banishes worry, stress, anger, and promotes instead peace, love and joy.
I’m saddened that my attempts to reach an amicable agreement with the gentleman wanting to file a lawsuit have not been successful. I have followed Jesus’s teachings to the best of my abilities by seeking to “agree with mine adversary quickly,” but thus far it has been to no avail. Since I know my heart is pure and my hands are clean, I can lay the matter at the feet of my God and practice the principles discussed above, and all really will be fine. Again, nothing can permanently go wrong for those that walk with meekness before the Lord.
My final thought is this–and must be shared even though this post is already horrendously long. I was studying Doctrine and Covenants section 4 today and I was struck with the attributes listed that are necessary for those desiring to assist the Lord in his work of saving souls. The Lord’s list repeats the characteristics of love and faith multiple times. I can honestly say that I am growing stronger each day in the principles of love and faith. I LOVE people so much. My bowels swell with compassion for them too. I abhor judgement and if I ever catch myself judging, I am quick to stop. I feel keenly the brotherhood of man and even as I sit here in this completely foreign land, my heart swells with fondness for these people that seem so different, and yet so the same.
God has definitely been working this miracle of love in me for I have no other way to explain it. I know that it isn’t natural for man to love his fellowman the way I feel it. It truly is a divine gift. It is what Moroni called charity—the greatest gift of all. I thank God daily for allowing me to feel it. I hope it continues to grow till it completely consumes me.
I think I will quit thinking now. 🙂 This 8 hour train ride has been so fun kids. Matt and I have been playing Yahtzee. I’m looking forward to playing that again with you guys. We watched a funny show called, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” I did some stretches in the bullet train, and now I’m typing this post about my deep thoughts. We are maybe going to watch Gandhi as we still have 2 more hours till we arrive. Tina is picking us up from the Yiwu Train Station. I’m super excited to meet her!
Well, I hope you are all having fun in Laketown. I love you mucho.