Lady Li was daughter of the border officer at Ai. When captured by the Duke of Jin for a concubine, she cried so hard and long she completely soaked her robes. But when she reached the Duke’s palace and experienced the comforts there, and tasted the delicious foods, she felt foolish for her tears. – Chuang Tzu, Chapter 2
At first I didn’t like this story. Is it about how shallow women can be, how easily they can forget their families if given a warm bed and good food? But I missed the point. Now I see it’s a parable about how the things we fear most can turn into positives. Even our worst nightmares can redeem us.
One of the aspects of your articles that I value so much is the authenticity that comes through in them. When the now is filled with challenges, your stories knit together the harsh bones of today and help me look beyond to something more transcendent. Thank you so much.
Thanks again for writing, David.
I’ve been treating a guy who was diagnosed with Liver cancer 8 months ago for a few weeks, and he can only afford to pay me about 1/4 of my ordinary fee, and I feel great about the time we spend together. Today he arrived with a big grin on his face- I taught him some qi gong exercises last week and he loves practicing them at home, and he feels good, better than he’s felt in awhile, and he’s enjoying his time with his wife, on the 2 days he’s still able to work, and while he’d love to beat the cancer (he’s taking some Chinese herbs that have been successful for some people), he did say that he’s been appreciating his life more since his diagnosis. He’s certainly been good for my attitude toward the frustrations and annoyances in my days…
Thanks so much for these great reminders.
I had a personal experience along these lines when I decided to take care of my mother who had alzheimers. Whereas I’ve heard many people say it was giving up their life, an extreme sacrifice, for me there were so many gifts in it. My mother and I, in her early stages, discussed parts of our lives that we never would have shared if it weren’t for the alzheimers. Our relationship developed a closeness and intimacy that hadn’t been there before. Strange, but true. I watched a woman who was very depressed in her life become happy and grateful as her thoughts and mannerisms formed in a more childlike manner. Of course this was just one phase of the devastating disease and eventually she moved into blank stares and her connection to life seemed to be a thin thread. All of it, including her death, was an important part of my spiritual journey. I am so very grateful to her.
Hi David, Perception is everything. It is good when we can be flexible, like your friend, and accept what fate has dealt us. Life is always worth living…you just have to find the right level of consciousness.
“Chuang-Tzu said we should accept as a gift everything that comes, even death. ”
How profound to read these words the day after my father gave me and my whole family this precious gift. He did not want to “prolong the inevitable” though he could have fought and lived another month or two. He spared us and himself that suffering by letting go, surrounded by his family, just two days after he said he was ready for the exit. It was a beautiful death for which I will always be thankful.
Thank you. How easy it is to forget how to be grateful for all that we are given.
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