“They lived happily ever after! The end!”
Sound very familiar? This is the usual fairy tale happy ending where they would move to a faraway land, escaping from all the troubles and live happily ever after. We grew up listening to these sorts of stories expecting that we too will face a similar fate.
What is this happily ever after that most of us seek? Is it an illusion? Does it only apply to fairy tale characters? Have you ever wondered what suddenly happened?
Many years ago, I stumbled upon a book written by the renowned Venerable Ajahn, who puts into perspective the nature of the human mind and how to over come these periods of “rough patches”.
Like everything in life, this too will pass!
There is one story in particular that i would like to share –
Many years ago, some monks had bought a vast amount of land in Australia to build a monastery, they were out of funds to pay for construction and decided to do it themselves. Ven. Ajahn was given the responsibility of brick layering of the wall. He was a perfectionist. He made sure that every single brick was perfect, no matter how long it took. Eventually he completed his first brick wall and stood back to admire his craftsmanship. The first thing he noticed was that there were two bricks near the center of the wall that were not aligned properly. There were two bad bricks.
He wanted to destroy the wall and start over but was rejected by the head monk. This tormented him very much, for months he dwelled on the fact that the ugliest wall was built by him and he avoided taking visitors past the wall because he was ashamed of it.
But one day a visitor walked past the wall.
“That’s a nice wall!” he casually remarked.
The monk looked at the visitor and said “Are you blind? What are you talking about? Can’t you see the two bad bricks?”
What he said next changed the monk’s view of the wall, himself and many other aspects of life.
He said, “Yes. I can see two bad bricks and I can also see the 998 good bricks as well”
For the first time, the monk could see past the two bad bricks, at the good bricks that surround the two bad bricks. Before his eyes were only focused exclusively on his two mistakes and was blind to everything else. That was why he wanted to have the wall destroyed or was ashamed to showcase it to the visitors. Now that he could see the good bricks the wall did not look bad after all, in fact it looked almost perfect. That wall stands strong even after twenty years and with time the bad bricks became insignificant. The monk forgot exactly where those bad bricks are.
Too often in life, we focus on the two bad bricks and forget about all the perfect bricks on the top, towards the right, left and the bottom. Every time we look our eyes focus on the mistakes and the faults. We end up wanting to destroy the whole wall just because of two bad bricks and sadly sometimes we do destroy a very nice wall and regret afterwards.
Some end relationships or commit suicide due depression and self-loathing because they are focused on two bad bricks and blind to the good ones.
We have all got two bad bricks, but the perfect bricks in each of us much more. It’s easy to get caught up on the less important things in life and lose focus on what matters most. To live a happy life, we need to work on our perspectives and priorities. Focus on what truly matters and life will have a way to be that much brighter and fulfilling.
When put into proper perspective our problems are all in some way temporary.
Human nature is such that the negatives get amplified rather than the positives. If you are given a white A4 with a black dot, everyone would notice the black dot but what about the rest of the paper? Same theory applies with life, there are so many things to be happy about, to cherish, to be grateful for, to celebrate but world tend to focus on the negative and what goes wrong. The world will not always appreciate the good that you do, but will put you down for the mistake that you made, raise above the criticism and stay strong.
The grass is greener, not on the other side but where you water it.
In life things happen to us, things happen around us but what truly matters is what happens within us.