July 11, 2019

Encounters with certain people, for example, may tend to trigger confrontational interactions. While we can easily justify our dislike of another person, the real question worth asking is why does this person manifest in our reality in the first place? Why does his or her presence bring about such anxiety?* One experience I have had again and again in my editing career is that the universe may look chaotic, but just when I need to learn a certain lesson, a manuscript about that very subject happens to land on my desk. I’ve seen it happen too often to believe that it is random. Since there are at least 900 manuscripts written for every book that is actually published, it’s easy to imagine the number of manuscripts floating around out there. Hundreds are in my submission pile right now. So why is it that just when I’m the most stressed out, overwhelmed with trying to balance my family and my work in publishing, a proposal for a book called A Peaceful Moment for Mothers is the one I happen to pick up? And if these seemingly random positive connections don’t get my attention, I have learned from Miao Tsan’s teaching that the negative connections are just as meaningful. Before editing Just Use This Mind, I would have said that the only thing a really negative encounter with a person had to teach me was to put distance between me and that person. And, countless times before, when the going got tough with a person or a situation, I was the first to get going. But what if instead of avoiding that pain, I can stay with it long enough to understand it, to see what it tells me about what I need to learn or understand or even just see? What if I am able to take the label of “problem” off the person who is messing with my reality and see the ways that I am allowing that person to be a problem or even creating the problem between us myself. I’ll never be PollyAnna. And inner peace will probably always be touch-and-go for me. But now, if I find myself in a confrontational situation, if I can stop blaming others long enough for Miao Tsan’s question to flash across my agitated mind, I have a chance to really get at the root of the situation. And I have a chance to move to a better place. Maybe that’s a piece of inner peace. * p. 29 Just Use This Mind