For this week's letter, we want to share a Zen parable about how our minds create our experience. This story is relatively well known; you may know it, I’m going to share the excerpt from Pema Chodron’s book, The Wisdom of No Escape.
A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, "Tell me the nature of heaven and hell." And the roshi looks him in the face and says: "Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?" The Samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, "A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?" Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, "That’s hell." The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, "That’s heaven."
The way we relate to our world is what creates our experience of heaven or hell. Today, we wanted only to share this story with you. We don’t want to add more; the story is poignant enough as it is. We encourage you all to sit with it. Contemplate it. Find the truth in it for yourself.