I am a student in this life. It’s a blessing to learn and I have learned by experience, reading and observation mostly. Yet, it’s a curse as well. As I observe and learn, there arises in me the urgency to put into action the lessons I’m learning. It’s well and good to study a thing in a book, a paper, or a treatise, but another to put into daily action the lessons learned. Putting into action the good things we learn can cause you to remove yourself from your comfort space and face what you would rather not.
“In one’s life. there are levels in the pursuit of study. In the lowest level, a person studies but nothing comes of it, and he feels that both he and others are unskillful. At this point he is worthless.”
Upon my recent return to my home town I took noticed that a lesson was in order. Before I made the journey, I felt such heaviness that hung around my neck as if wearing a slave collar popular for 17th and 18th century Europeans to adorn their slaves with. Not that I felt some oppression by returning home for as a child I had a happy life. But, a feeling of foreboding as if I should become aware of something. I needed to see my aging mother since so many miles separate us and it had been more than a year since I saw her last. This time, however was to be different since there was a lesson in store for me.
“In the middle level he is still useless but is aware of his own insufficiencies and can also see the insufficiencies of others.”
My father transitioned almost five years ago and my mother has carried the household with the heart of a warrior. While she and my father were married she was the traditional June Cleaver 1950’s – 1960’s house wife, taking care of us and the house while my father brought home the bacon. She attended all of our school functions, made dinner and found time to even play with us children. When she worked she never held a job long since my father really didn’t like her to work. Be clear, my father made sure she would have funds to take care of herself financially. Bu, as her eldest child, when my father transitioned I felt it my duty to provide as much as I could to assist her in maintaining her living standard.
So, as I stepped into her abode, I could see there were small repairs that needed to be handled, painting, and just general upkeep. I spent most of my time there taking care of these household requirements for any home owner. In just a few days the house was bright and shiny again, and I could see on her face the pleasure she took in looking at her newly painted walls. So, how could one who does this for their personal God, the living God that gave you life and not only by giving birth but by giving you life more abundantly be scorned? My mother wiped our tears, cleaned our bodies, healed our wounds (mentally and physically), fed us good food and gave us the truth and rights on how to live as an upstanding being. How does one lose friends and be scorned by siblings for giving back as one should?
“In a higher level he has pride concerning his own ability, rejoices in praise from others, and laments the lack of ability in his fellows. This man has worth. In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing.”
Lesson learned. Yeshua said he came not to bring peace, but a sword. I understand now this a time of harvest for me in that it is time to cut away the tares. I am sure I appear as a tare to some, it’s their duty to cut away the tares from themselves. I have been asked by friends back home when I will return for a visit and when I reach they find very little time to commune, verse, or spend any quality time. Those were the actions of former friends. Yet, when your sibling treats you in the same manner it becomes a deeper matter. Surely, such behavior would be understandable if there were some riff between us, argument, or falling out of some sort. Nothing ever occurred as I would never allow such to happen. But, this is the road and I fully accept. On this trip I was able to get clarity on so much.
“But there is one transcending level, and this is the most excellent of all. This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way arid never thinks of himself as having finished. He truly knows his own insufficiencies and never in his whole life thinks that he has succeeded. He has no thoughts of pride but with self-abasement knows the Way to the end. It is said that Master Yagyu once remarked, “I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself.”