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Buddha On Emergence

Buddha said, "What people expect to happen is always different from what actually happens. From this comes great disappointment. This is the way the world works."

We invest heavily in our plans when we are disconnected. Being disconnected, our reduced experience of life makes us think that events happen linearly and our personal effort has an oversized control over the outcome. We use confirmation bias to assert that operating principle, which only further compounds our disconnection. Actually each effect is an integral of so many causes, including our tiny bit. The tinier our bit gets, the more connected we are.

One of the teachings from the Gita that I always grew up with was: release the outcomes. At first, it requires faith; then it sounds so simple; but with practice, it poetically sums up so much of the path.

Interestingly, I read this Buddha quote in a book by Shaila Catherine. I saw her speak at an event, where loads of monks and particularly nuns, were excited to see her -- for a rare public appearance. We were part of the hosting committee, so I was way in the back and couldn't get a good look at her. Post event, also, I didn't see her. Then, at dinner, she ended up coming to my table and saying, "Is this seat taken?" We had a nice group chat, and we departed together and I felt moved to make a humble offering of a 3-minute cab ride to her next destination. At that time, I had no idea of the extent of her experiences -- as she describes in her book, after a lifetime of very serious cultivation, she experiences material life as "kalapas" -- the tiniest molecular matter that arises and passes millions of times per second. That's just the tip of the iceberg. No wonder all the monastics were excited to hear her!

What grace that we got to connect, and even more so, that I got to make a small offering to her. Completely unplanned, unexpected, unpredictable, non-linear -- and hence connected. :)

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