Learning how to respond to conditions in this way is more important than getting right whatever practicalities we are being taught, like how to strike the gong. Can we listen and follow without the ego-self asserting itself? If we feel our ego rise up ready to strike, right there is the gateway to enlightenment. The person we think is giving us a hard time is suddenly giving us a precious opportunity. Can we give up everything in that moment?
We can learn to welcome criticism – to be grateful for it. How so? If someone criticizes us, they either have a valid point or they don’t. If they do, we can be grateful that they’re pointing something out which it would be useful for us to know. They’re helping us, in other words. If there is no justification for their criticism, if they are mistaken, we have nothing to worry about. We can be content, realizing that we’re not after all at fault.
In either case, all it takes is that we consider, with as much honesty as we can muster, what’s being said, and decide ‘what this is’. What we should not do, but usually do, is to decide they are mistaken without first considering the facts dispassionately. We have a chance to see what the truth really is. If we always react aggressively to criticism, people who may have something valid to draw to our attention will think “I know what’ll happen, they won’t listen, and I don’t think I can be bothered with that today.” and we could miss out on some useful information.
This reminds me of Rev. Master Daishin’s teaching of ‘I am involved, but it is not about me.’ ‘Me’ being the ego self. We are usually so caught up in the ‘me’ being the most important thing that we can’t see the full picture – the involvement of many other factors. Like others’ needs and wishes. We include our own needs in that, but give ourselves no more importance than that of others.
Note: I was personally touched by this talk and saw the benefits others are likely to derive from visiting his words, published here on Jade over several days. Thanks to the Reverend for permission to do this. Listen to the talk.