We are taught:
“You are to purchase My sincerity. Purchase My sincerity with your own sincerity.”
Life of Oyasama, p. 233
Let us imagine that we are climbing a steep mountain to reach the summit. Panting and gasping for breath, we trudge uphill step by step. Looking up ahead, we tell ourselves, “Once we get to that place over there, the climb should be less strenuous.” Yet when we get there, we see a treacherous cliff trail. Once again, we rouse ourselves and summon all our strength to reach the next point on the route where we desperately hope things will get better. However, what awaits us there is a steep and perilous trail that seems endless.
Life can be a little like that. There are times when we find a new problem every time we think we have solved one—times when a never-ending series of crises seems to come from nowhere and with little warning. Although we try very hard to do the right things, somehow everything we do turns out to be counterproductive. We are facing an uphill battle. However, as counterintuitive as it may sound, there is no need to worry.
On the other hand, there are times when things seem to go smoothly even though we are not making much effort. At these times, we are, as it were, walking downhill, where we can use gravity to help us. We need to remember, however, that this is like digging into our savings, which we have worked so hard to build up.
A steep uphill climb allows us to gain altitude quickly. Admittedly, we need to grit our teeth and give it absolutely everything we have. It is arduous and exhausting, and we may struggle for breath. Yet a world of delight awaits us. The higher up we go, the more we begin to see. Our line of sight extends well beyond our immediate surroundings. As we marvel at the spectacular views, we begin to realize that we have climbed up even higher than we thought.
The more obstacles we overcome, the more our view expands. The more effort we put in, the more we can grow as persons. The seeds of sincerity we sow will bear fruit, allowing us to live our lives abundantly.
Struggling with life’s difficulties is hard, yet we can also find enjoyment in it. Did someone say life is a series of uphill battles? Well, bring it on! we say.