Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
Dear members and friends,
Let me begin with sharing a short story from Zhuang-zi,
Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes, (i.e. to keep them from falling off), went to see the prince of Wei.
“How miserable you look, Sir!” Cried the prince. “It is poverty, not misery,” replied Chuang Tzu. “A man who has TAO cannot be miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not misery.”
Now, who is responsible for the feeling of misery due to not having enough? Or discontentment in life due to not achieving enough? Or anger due to not having a “fair” opportunity to gain what one desires in this world? Is that the person who is feeling miserable, the community that is promoting the materialistic lifestyle, or both?
Whom are we trying to please in our desperate efforts of gaining more, achieving more, and beautifying more? Would it be our self? The indefinable “them”? Or would it be God? Or are we just doing so because that is what we were taught in order to have a “good” life?
What would be the “right thing,” if there is such a thing, to accomplish in this life? When I was in my twenties, I thought that I would figure it out when I become near 50. Although I’m turning 49 this year and am still searching, one simple thing has become clear: every moment that I spend desiring that which I do not have, being concerned about something that has not yet happened, or just in discontentment for any reason, is a waste of my time, my mind, and my life. Consequently, I am still working on cultivating my mind to stand on a firm ground that is not shaken or disturbed by things which exist outside of my mind. I pursue this simply because it has been confirmed many times that I am much more helpful to others when there is peace and tranquility in my mind. And, at the end of the day, I feel good and content when I know for sure that my time was spent supporting, helping, and caring for other people.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee