When Robert Piper turned 18, he was going through very tough both physically and emotionally. To help himself with his problems a practising Buddhist sent him to a Taoist monk who specialises in meditation and martial arts. He recovered from all his ailments by following a path of self discovery and meditation.
Following are 9 things that the monk taught him:
1. Never give up and keep trying
The most important thing that he learned was that the key is to keep trying and trying and never run out of patience. His teacher taught him that if something does not work out in a way, there are a lot of other ways to keep trying the same thing till he achieve his goal. Versatility and not giving up always works out in the end.
2. You will always have the solution inside you
We all know that teachers can show the way to us but we have to walk through on our own… all by ourselves. When we make a table we can be showed how to make one side of it, but we have to do the rest on our own. This is how we learn how to function in life. When we travel to another country it is up to us how we follow our subconscious and our inner voice… how we take everything in our stride and we make it through without being familiar with our surroundings. Life will always throw new situations at us and it is our job to figure out where we will go and how.
3. You learn something only after you try and don’t succeed
Before he walked on this path whenever he did not succeed in something it would take him years to get over it. He had started working when he was young and whenever he did not succeed professionally, he would dismiss himself to a point where he could not get himself to go to the office after that. It went to a point where he was close to leaving his job until he became good at it. When he first started calming down and meditating, concentration was a big barrier but he did not give up. He kept trying. We all know that what does not kill makes us stronger.
4. When you start this you start to recognise your ego.
Our ego stems from a place of comparison and he would crib because he was not as successful as his peers. When he started meditating he began to individualise this ego and stopped comparing. He stopped blaming himself and understood that his ego was his solution to nothing. Meditating helps you separate yourself from the worldly emotion of comparison.
5. We must develop feelings of compassion and resilience.
His teacher refused to meet him if he did not call him at least five times. He was very aggravated by the whole process. Now, this taught him how the real world functions because you generally don’t hear back from someone until you try numerous times. This was part of his training, but it also taught him how life works. We should remember to be compassionate but not be weak and soft.
6. Patience is a virtue
His teacher made him wait excruciatingly long before he met him. If he went to his house, he would make him wait for an hour or when they meet at restaurants, he would tell him to meet him at a time but turn up hours later. He would be anxious the whole time thinking about how everybody must be judging him for waiting alone and not ordering anything. He would then turn up acting like nothing happened and showing no signs of remorse. He would always ask him how his parents were and then go on with his normal banter. This taught him to not be upset about things and learning to understand that patience comes from calmness of soul.
7. Let go of your ego
When it started it was painful to sit by himself in restaurants for a long time because he was constantly thinking that he was seen as a loser, alone in a restaurant, but the real truth is that other people’s opinions don’t matter. He used to get really bogged down just by anything and everything before walking on this path of self discovery. He recently noticed how a plane delay of hours did not affect him at all. When you let go of your ego, you learn to take in whatever is thrown at you and make the best of it.
8. Taoism says “No self, no enemy”
Your enemy is within you that causes all your insecurities. Once you understand this; it will change every aspect of your life. There are times that we don’t do something simply because we are scared. Evaluate how things would go on smoothly if you don’t give in to your fear and be happy with what you already have in your life.
9. Happiness can be found well externally as well as internally
This was taught to him by the Buddhist physician. He used to meditate before he would go to meet his folks. He is one of the happiest people that Robert have ever come across. By finding happiness within, he reached an emotional stage where he could spread it everywhere. We must manufacture happiness inside to make the world a happier place and finding a legitimate purpose in life and have real goals.
Robert Piper is a meditation instructor & the creator of monkinthecity.com. He studied with a Taoist monk for 9 ½ years & traveled to Asia & Australia in search of other meditation teachers.