Balance. Purpose. Enlightenment.
In the long run, every man will pay the penalty for his own misdeeds. The man who remembers this will be angry with no one, indignant with no one, revile no one, blame no one, offend no one, hate no one. –– Epictetus
How good are you at making sense of trouble? When life pulls the rug out from under you, can you reason out why?
Sometime in mid-winter of 2014, my towel was stolen off the hook at the YMCA. When I came out of the shower, dripping wet, I found my towel gone and in its place a worn and dirty look-alike. I was furious, and the fact that the thief left a filthy towel in place of mine, one I wouldn’t use under any circumstance, only made matters worse. When the emotion finally subsided and I had a chance to reflect on it later that evening, I found myself remembering a similar event that happened a half century earlier, and making sense of trouble.
I was nine or ten years old, spending a winter Saturday at a nearby ski area. I was wearing a stylish ski hat that I had inherited from one of my older brothers. It was a little worn and a little dirty, but I felt very grown up wearing it. While sitting at one of the tables in the main lodge, I looked down and saw on the bench the very same hat as the one I was wearing, only it was brand-spanking new, clean and plush, probably just bought in the boutique shop, or perhaps received as a Christmas present. It was the same color, the same size, identical in every way. It seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. I stole that hat and left my worn and dirty one in its place!
I suppose I made the switch as much to cover my tracks and give me time to get away with the goods, as I did out of a sense of decency, not wishing to leave its owner without a hat to wear on a cold winter day. My friend the towel thief probably felt much the same way. The temptation of a new and clean towel, small a thing as that may seem to be, probably triggered in him the same larcenous desire as that pristine ski hat had aroused in me some fifty years earlier.
My first reaction to the loss of my towel, of course, was one of indignation, of feeling wronged, yet it was inescapably clear that I had once wronged another in precisely the same manner as had now been done to me.
One major theme of the Lemurian Philosophy holds that we are not innocent bystanders in the events occurring in our lives. Putting forth the effort to sincerely study and apply the Philosophy can gradually raise our awareness to the point where we may correlate these events with our own thoughts and actions, making sense of trouble, bringing into our lives a greater sense of peace and understanding of ourselves and of others.
I had no claim to righteous indignation when my towel was taken. I am one of those people who believe that things happen for a reason. But were I not a student of the Lemurian Philosophy, I doubt whether I would ever have earned the opportunity to correspond these two events and gain valuable insight from the experience. #actionandreaction #lifechallenges #spiritualprogress #spiritualintelligence #universallaws #lemurianphilosophy
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5 thoughts on “Making Sense of Trouble”
This story has attracted more comments in a shorter time than any of the 90 or so blog posts so far. We have always hoped these personal vignettes of Lemurian life would stimulate this kind of thoughtful discussion and are glad to be part of the conversation.
Very interesting and illustrative story! I had a similar experience when I first got my driver’s license. I had to deliver some food to a church picnic, which I did, and when I was backing out of the parking spot, my bumper caught the tail light of a car behind me and broke it. I got scared and left the scene without leaving a note or finding the owner.
Several years later, my friend Mike and I took my little sports car to the DMV to get my license renewed. I found a tight parking spot right in front and my little car fit right in. Mike stayed with the car and I told him if anyone got close to it to honk the horn. While I was in line I heard my horn honking outside, but thinking Mike was playing a joke on me, I didn’t go out till I was finished with my business. When I got out there, he was standing in front of my car with both headlights broken. He told me the truck in front of my car had backed up and while he was honking the horn, the bumper, which was the exact height of my lights, broke them both out at once. The truck driver took off right away.
I wasn’t a student of the Philosophy at the time, but making sense of the trouble was pretty easy because all this was more than a coincidence. I had experienced the same frustration and upset that I’m sure I had caused earlier, and it made an impression on me. Especially the fact that one tail light equals two headlights! You don’t always get what you want, but you always get what you need….
This story, which I love, gives new meaning to that great statement by The philosopher Epictitus. I have had that statement memorized for years now but never really understood it. Thank you for this correlation giving it new context and meaning.
I find this an excellent reminder to more fully understand whats happens to us and why – and the need to take responsibility for such happenings. An enjoyable story to read, that encourages and speaks of the need to positively view life’s occurrences, and to always set good causes into action.
This triggered a memory of a similar correspondence in my own life. Only in my case, cosmic law worked quite a bit faster – it only took two years. In third grade, for some misdemeanor, I was consigned to what they used to call the cloak room where pupils hung their coats. I wasn’t happy about it, so I looked in the pockets of the coats hanging there until I found a consolation prize: a pin with a cartoon character that you could wear on your shirt. (They came out of cereal boxes in those days.) Two years later, for my birthday, I got a great wallet with a colorful map of the United States on it. When some boys from school came over, I proudly showed them my wallet, and after they left, the wallet was nowhere to be found. None of these boys, of course, ever owned up to having taken the wallet, so I was out of luck. It has taken me all these years to make sense of this particular trouble. Thanks to the boy with the ski hat!