“You must not change your heart. You must not let go of this string at any cost.”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 199, “Just One”
In the life of any of us, a situation could arise where problems, including health disorders, occur one after another with devastating consequences, giving rise to the thought “I can’t cope anymore.”
A possible reaction might be a certain sense of indignation expressed in the question: “Why me?” Or we might feel like blaming someone else: “This is HIS fault!” Then again, we might end up in despair thinking: “My life is over.” Overcome by depression, we might try to avoid people. We might also find our faith wavering.
If we took it out on others, bore a grudge against others, or fell into despair, it could all be downhill from there. Some people in that situation may even undergo physical changes, for example becoming hard-featured and ill-looking.
No solution will come from blaming others or bearing a grudge against others. No one has ever achieved salvation by filling his or her mind with dissatisfaction.
A better alternative might be to try to squarely face what is happening. We might perhaps see the situation as a challenge, instead of a problem. For instance, we might liken it to a homework assignment or a test to see how good an artist of life we can be. The harder our challenge, the greater the points awarded. Seen in this light, a difficult situation would be a golden opportunity to gain many points.
Such a situation could also be described as a fork in the road, for the direction of our life could change completely, depending on whether we choose to let anger gain the upper hand or to practice positive and joyous acceptance. The whole point of being on this path is that we can develop skills in dealing with life’s challenging situations, which are described in this path as “knots,” from which fresh and promising buds can appear.
In this regard, we would do well to keep our mind connected to Oyasama, who is always there to help us, lovingly encouraging us to hold fast, saying, “You must not let go of this string.”