How might I take steps to better myself? Too many projects ongoing? What about you? I suppose my desire to learn what I can about myself and the world prompts me to act in the time I've been given.
Today, I was thinking about the book, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom. Now, this isn't because I hope I die soon. Though I admit the concept of heaven is uplifting for me. Some people think death and dying is a rather morbid subject, but this book is actually quite surprising. The writing style and concepts raised expanded on my view of the after-life. I open my eyes to new possibilities about the significance of the 'here and now' and what events have yet to be.
In the book, on Eddie's 83rd birthday, he dies unexpectedly in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart in an amusement park. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his, and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns heaven is no lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or strangers. Each of them changed your path forever.
What did I learn from Eddy's story? Don't give up. Whatever happens to you right now, it prepares you for a future. This is the way of the earthly world. People you know and don't know are helping you along all the time with their choices. Everything is linked. You're loved. You're being heard. Your sense of time doesn't run the show. Life unfolds whether or not we think we're ready.
I remember a story of a old monk who was mentoring a younger monk. The owise monk's peers repeatedly asked him why he was wasting time on his charge. After all, the young monk was openly obnoxious, negative, lazy and demonstrated the exact opposite of desirable monk traits. The old monk replied "I could never turn him away. He is God's greatest gift to me. As the result of his presence, I'm developing deeper patience, understanding and resourcefulness than I've ever had."
The older monk reminds me every problem I encounter introduces me to another side of myself. People who enter our lives mirror some part of us that we may not initially see or understand. How we react teaches about our desires, needs and ego. How I perceive my own difficulties is itself enlightening. Issues don't just go away. I learn to think differently to better understand and work through . Each one is an opportunity to develop my insight and ingenuity. As the result, I raise awareness of the power within myself and encourage people to know benefits in the following:
1) seek experience dealing with problems rather than avoiding them
2) spend time to discover the real underlying issue;
3) actively explore several possible solutions;
4) consult individuals with relevant experience.