Just be a witness to your Life; be an observer. If you choose not to try to control your Life, you will always be happy and at peace with your Life and yourself!
Here’s a short Zen story that illustrates this point. It teaches us three new, magical, words that can bring us happiness now and always. All we need to do is to say them as nonchalantly, as effortlessly as we would have said “Hello”! Saying these three words in every situation, in each moment, can deliver peace, meaning and bliss to your Life instantaneously.
The three words are – ‘Is That So?’
The Zen Master Hakuin Ekaku (1686~1768), one of the most influential figures of Japanese Zen Buddhism was revered by his neighbors as one living a pure Life. A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. One fine day, the girl’s parents discovered that she was pregnant. This made her parents very angry. She initially would not confess who the man__who had got her pregnant__was. But after much forcing, she, at last, named Hakuin. Horrified, the shocked parents went to the Master, blamed him, berated and threatened him with dire consequences if he did not “own” their daughter’s child.
“Is that so?” was all that Hakuin said, smiling.
After the child was born, it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, as people shunned him for his “immoral” conduct. The barbs from, and being ostracized by, the people did not trouble him at all though. Instead, he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from some of his more forgiving and tolerant neighbors and provided for everything else the little one needed.
A year later, the young girl could stand her own lie no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the local fish market. The mother and father of the girl were even more horrified this time. They at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get their grandchild back again.
Hakuin was both forgiving and willing. In yielding the child, all he said again, smiling, was: “Is that so?”
The moral for all us is to just be like Hakuin. Let us learn to be just witnesses of whatever happens to us in Life. In fact, that’s what we really are __ mere observers. In joy or in sorrow let us not get attached to the events, people and circumstances of our lives. This, and this approach alone, can guarantee us the happiness that we all crave for, work hard for, but never really manage to find. True happiness is being in a perpetual “Is That So” frame of mind. You too can switch to that thinking right now. It’s a personal choice!