Sunday, June 22, 2014

Not Zen 116: Not So Great

The clerk of a Quaker church was widely regarded as a holy woman. She carried out many good deeds in her community. Her neighbors sought her spiritual advice. Local politicians saw this and coveted her support. She gained influence and, because of this, even more people sought her advice.

One morning, a young woman from her church approached her after the service. Together, the two walked from the meeting room down a path that led to a nearby park.

"I'm not doing well in my life right now," the young woman admitted when they were alone. "I've made a lot of mistakes. You aren't making any. What's your secret?"

"Secrets are beyond me," said the clerk. "Every day, I meditate on my life. Then I meditate to clear my mind. And after I finish my meditations, I ask myself, 'Am I a good person yet?' and the answer is always no, I'm not."

"But you're a saint!" The younger one shook her head in disbelief. "You're perfect!"

"No. You just don't know me well enough to see all of my mistakes. And before you go to someone else and say the same thing to them, let me tell you: they're making mistakes, too. We all are."

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