One of my friends complained to me that he was not earning enough money, he was worrying about not making the mortgage – it was all he could think about.
Another friend is always ill, always! And every time I see him he tells me the same thing, ‘I can’t get rid of this bad chest, I just can’t seem to get myself right’. He tells other people too, because it’s worrying him.
Another is writing screenplays, but thus far he has not successfully sold one. He thinks the industry is against new writers, he says that television is not kind to the neophyte, ‘and don’t get me started on cinema!’
A fourth friend is scared. Like Messner half way up Nanga Parbat he is too frightened to go up, too frightened to go down and he is too frightened to stay where he is. My friend is scared of life, and in his search for relief all he talks about is his fear.
I read this lovely old Zen tale once, about a student that can’t find enlightenment, and the fact that he can’t find it becomes an obsession, it’s all he can think about. He goes to see his master and he tells him his story. The master tells him to go to his cell, lock himself in, and spend the next week thinking about one thing and one thing only; becoming a bull. ‘Think about becoming a bull, meditate on becoming a bull, talk to yourself about becoming a bull and imagine becoming a bull. Spend every waking hour in this contemplation.’ The monk does as he is instructed and a week later the master visits him in his cell. ‘Come out here,’ says the master, ‘and tell me what you’ve learned.’ The monk shakes his head, dismayed, ‘I can’t come out there master,’ he says, ‘I’ve tried already, I can’t get my horns through the door.’
The monk finds instant enlightenment.
What you think about obsessively, what you input all day long you will become. If you are tired of only earning a pittance, stop telling yourself (and stop letting others tell you) that you are only worth a pittance. If you want to be healthy, stop telling yourself (all day long) how unhealthy you are. If you desire success, stop talking failure and blame, and never allow others to keep you in an unsuccessful place with their negativity. And if you don’t want to be fearful….stop telling yourself how scared you are! If you keep telling yourself how scared you are of course you’re going to be scared.
Do you want to become a bull and get stuck in a small room because of the size of your horns? If you don’t, then stop thinking about becoming a bull, and stop letting other people tell you that you are a bull because you’re not.
(No bulls were hurt during the writing of this article).