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What do you do when you are suddenly the recipient of bad news?

What do you do when suddenly you are the recipient of BAD news?
What do you do when suddenly you are the recipient of BAD news?

Heed the wisdom from above…don’t look back…keep going…to high ground…in the Mind.

I have always been taken with the Jewish story of Lot’s wife. She is a woman to remember even though we don’t know her name. She was rescued from a terrible situation by two holy strangers who led her and her family out of a city under siege.

Here’s the gist of the story.

After a skirmish with the city rebels, two holy strangers (angels in disguise[1]) call Lot’s family together and tell them to get out of the city before it is destroyed. These holy strangers knew this to be true because they were sent to destroy the city.

As we might imagine if we were in this particular situation, we might react as they did. We might question the advice of these strangers and hesitate. We might not want to give up our home, our friends and what is familiar on the advice of two strangers who show up at our door. But if Lot and his kin were paying attention, they would have noticed that something terrible was happening in the city. It was in a word, a wreck. No matter how much Lot’s family might enjoy the place they might want to heed the knock on the door and get out of town.

But there’s confusion, hesitation because few want to be homeless wanderers with little food, water, shelter and the loss of our old companionable habits.

Lot, his wife and family hesitated. They didn’t just bag everything. They weren’t prepared with a bug-out-bag and a survivalist stash. They weren’t prepared. They were fearful for their lives. The two angels had to take them by the hand and lead them out of the city. The holy strangers led them to a certain point then turned back to destroy the city including Lot’s home and goods. But before they leave them, the two holy strangers give some advice to these refugees.

“Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, don’t stop anywhere in the Plain;

flee to the hills, otherwise you’ll be swept away.”

There is an urgent tone to this advice. Go, get out. Don’t look back. Flee. Go to high ground. Or else!

After some bargaining with the holy strangers that led to a whole other set of problems, they go. But… Lot’s wife? Well she looks back. And in looking back she turns into a pillar of salt.

When we distrust, when we follow the personal craving, ill-will, apathy, indolence, restlessness, and worry we remain confused. We don’t leave the city. We do not take heed and get out. We continue to seek rest on the plain or in the past rather than turn and run for high ground. The high ground of the Dharma is right there, wherever you are. But our eyes and hearts and minds are confused. We think and believe we are material beings.

Unlike Avalokiteshvara who studied the teachings of wisdom and by doing so realized the emptiness of form, feelings, perceptions, impulses and self-consciousness. We believe we are form, feelings, perceptions, impulses and all the stuff of ego-consciousness.

When we doubt and look for rest in the material realm of a fleeting world we exhibit our doubt, our confusion and our distrust. We look back, turn brackish. And find ourselves in all forms and feelings of suffering.

Go beyond these troubles. Forget accomplishments. Don’t look back. Run for high ground. Rest there. Study yourself in such a way the ego-self is forgotten. Emptied of all the impermanent wishes, hopes and fears.

Don’t give up. Heed the direction of the teachings. Find out for yourself what is True.

The Truth is like a lion,

You do not have to defend it.

Let it loose; it will defend itself.

Humming Bird

Author: Fly

Old Moon

Zen Contemplative of the Order of Hsu Yun

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Quotes: St. Augustine
Genesis 19:17



[1] Have you ever considered messengers as angels? Buddhism sees experience in terms of heavenly messengers; how do you look at your experience?


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