Meditation & Health #7 Contents

The Rhythms of Life, the Law of nature

Translation by Sheng-Ning Illustration by Albert Chia & Amber Zhong

In ancient times there lived a well-known scholar. One of his students, who had studied with him for over 10 years, one day suddenly announced his sorrow to his teacher. “Oh, my goodness,” said the student. “I’m really miserable.”

The scholar sat silently by his side, and after the student had finished crying, he asked, “What kind of suffering do you have?”

“It was tough, but I managed to secure an administrative job in the magistrate’s office, handling documentation work. However, our magistrate demoted me right after I started and as a result, my salary was cut in half. I feel so embarrassed because he brought in an illiterate relative to replace me. You see, it’s fine for me to be humiliated but, my dear teacher, you are the most well-known philosopher and scholar around. Isn’t this insult to me tantamount to an insult to you, my teacher?”

On hearing this story, the scholar slapped the desk in delight, saying, ”Congratulations! This is superb. Great, indeed!”

“What are you talking about? I’m in a pitiful situation, but you’re acting like everything is fine! Are you rubbing salt in the wound? What kind of teacher would ever make fun of his student?”
“I am congratulating you.”
“Congratulating me for what?”
“Divine secrets should not be divulged.”

Three months later, this student was selected for a position by the Provincial Chief. Being underemployed and thus at loose ends, he put his time to good use by participating in an important professional event. The Provincial Chief liked him and transferred him to the Provincial Office so that this student could serve as his secretary, which meant a jump of several rungs up the government ladder. The student happily announced the good news to his teacher: “Teacher, thank you so much. You hit the nail on the head! You are good at predicting the future.”

The teacher said, “Why would I need to forecast your future? What you have experienced is part of the law of Nature. You forgot this law when you encountered something that you had a personal stake in.”

The scholar’s words immediately awakened his student, who said, “Thank you! From now on, I shall be more observant and try to blend the law of Nature with my life.”

A person’s life reflects the rhythms of Nature, with its ups and downs. Before high tide there is low tide, and vice versa, and the higher the high tide, the lower the low tide. Perhaps you have a good job, but although you possess integrity and demonstrate exemplary skills, your boss decides to let you go. The loss of something may signal the arrival of something positive –– probably a better job awaits you.

Difficulties often precede a major positive event, in accordance with the natural rhythms of life. For example, many people encounter disconcerting incidents two or three days before their marriage. Or perhaps you are managing your business well and just when your company is about to be listed on the stock exchange, a major incident threatens all you’ve worked for. Just before you achieve fame, there will be situations that create extreme fear and sorrow. This is the law of Nature.

If you understand this law, then you will not fear problems or unhappy situations. You will flow with the rhythms of life, remain calm and composed.

Meditation & Health #7 Contents