Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Eureka Moments in Life

A priest writing in a bulletin for priests mentions the message he received from a believer. He sends the priest a happy message every morning on a mobile phone. The priest wants to share the message he received from him— the secret of happiness.

Someone went to a Buddhist monk who he heard was a wonder-worker. "Life it's too hard for me, there is too much stress in my life. Please teach me the secret to being happy?” Hearing these words, the monk said: "I have to go to my garden now. In the meantime, please hold this bag." He didn't know what was in the bag but it wasn't heavy.

He was embarrassed at the request. The monk gave him the bag to hold without telling him the secret to happiness; he thought there must have been something urgent to do in the garden. But over time the bag became heavier and heavier. After about 30 minutes, his shoulder's hurt. But the monk was still working in the garden.

He went out to the garden and asked the monk how much longer does he have to hold the bag his shoulders are hurting. "If the bag is heavy why in the world don't you put it down?" The monk asked incredulously. It was at this moment he realized what the monk was trying to tell him and enlightenment came. To be happy, all he had to do was lay down what he continued to keep tightly in his mental grasp.

There is a famous Rockefeller story that shows what a strong desire and obsession for material things can do and how sharing solved the problem. More than 80 years ago he was a famous rich man in the United States. He became the richest man in the world with oil. But he was blamed for his greed. People who were close to him left, some made dolls in his image to play with, some charitable organizations refused to accept his money which they considered dirty. In his 50s he was given a death sentence. He had lost his health.

The doctors told him that he should not do anything and go to the countryside for rest. He couldn't even have three meals with all his money. His wealth was of no help. He couldn't sleep properly at night and began thinking about life and its meaning. He spent time in nature and had conversations with farmers. Peace was found and health began to improve.

Greed and obsession with wealth were replaced. His mother also recommended that he give his money to charity. Now he began to wonder how he should spend the money. He donated property to charity, gave money to research institutes, and made plans on how money was to be spent after his death. He was praised for being a rich man that gave most of his money away. He almost died in his 50s but lived to be 98. Later he recalled he lived his first 55 years hounded by his obsessions but the last 50 years were happy.

We hear these stories of Eureka moments that change a person's life. Life is too fast, we are too busy and don't appreciate the value of leisure and silence. We miss the insights that come with a contemplative outlook towards life. Instead, we are hounded by our thoughts and miss the insights that come with a long loving look at reality.

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