I was asked by LadyF to imagine a cafe where there’s no menu, instead, it’s a karma cafe and you get what you deserve. She imagined you’d get served nice coffee, a good book, a long-stem rose, and a pleasant companion. What destiny has in store for you.
This got me to reflecting on what we naturally tend to do when asked directly, “What Will You Get Served In This Place?” As in, what do we personally feel we deserve, and this is where things get interesting.
The vast majority of our misery is pining for things we think will make us happy, and avoiding those things we dislike. We make our happiness and fulfilment conditional without even realising it.
“If it wasn’t so cold out right now, I’d be…” or “If it was sunny, then I wouldn’t be feeling quite so glum.”
We’ve all done this at some time. Rather than embracing a moment and enjoying what it has to offer, we focus on our preferences. What we imagine would make us happy. Doing this and not having it makes us miserable and even resentful.
Compounding this situation is our own self-image which consumes huge amounts of our energy. I suspect it’s very seldom we look in the mirror and think to ourselves, “OMG, who is that stunning beauty?”
How many times have you looked in a mirror and seen what a secret admirer would see?
What we tend to do is look in the mirror and scrutinise ourselves for flaws and faults. The reflection is not what we idealise for ourselves in our mind. What we see is too fat or too thin. The skin isn’t as tight as it should be in places, and as we age, gravity is causing sagging at an alarming rate. How could anyone love that?
So when it comes to honestly appraising what we deserve, we ourselves judge very harshly. It’s obvious to us that we’ve made no effort have we? We know about all the cake and sweets we’ve scoffed when we were so determined to lose weight.
We know all the times we found every excuse under the sun not to get out, enjoy the fresh air and do some activity. We’re there observing the whole entire time how hopeless we’ve been, so what do we deserve?
In our opinions, we often feel we deserve far less than we do. But what about our parents who are so proud of us? Who have seen our life journey through very different eyes? What do you suspect that they believe we deserve?
What about all the friends we’ve provided company to? Those we’ve been there for through hard times? Those we’ve laughed with, forgotten about ourselves and our worries and just had fun with?
If the Karma cafe served what all those people thought we deserved, we’d be taken by utter surprise at the result.
The real karma cafe, which is life itself, serves up exactly what it knows we need all the time, but we’re always sending it back.
“Here’s a body somebody is going to adore.”
Really? Look at all the flaws and scars and blemishes it has!
“Here’s a sense of humour somebody is going to delight in.”
I don’t think so. Nobody really gets my sense of humour. I don’t really joke anymore because everyone looks at me funny and doesn’t get the punchlines.
There’s so much life has given us, endless opportunities, even things that we thought would make us happy, and what’s the final result?
Most of it goes straight back to the kitchen. Talk about a fussy difficult customer!
There is a fantastic pearl of wisdom from a Buddhism master Seng-T’san.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against. The struggle of what one likes and what one dislikes is the disease of the mind.”
The full passage can be found HERE
The Tao Te Ching states a similar thing. When you define what is long, short comes into being. When you attribute beauty to one thing, by this measure does ugly come into being?
The Karma Cafe has never ceased to serve what we deserve, we’ve just turned our nose up at it. We’ve obsessed over things we enjoyed and want more of that all the time. We’ve rejected things that were not so enjoyable, but didn’t they provide some reward? Didn’t we learn something about ourselves or others we didn’t know before? Didn’t we gain some new insight or knowledge?
Have a think about all of this, and then ask yourself, “What Will You Get Served In This Place?”
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