Out of the blues, I received a sms from a friend who wanted to know what’s my mission in life. Such a profound question for a woman who has not been using her brains. I told her I’d need time to ponder a little.
It must be the law of attraction, because while in the library, I came across this book. This book helped make it easier for me to think through about why I’m here. The subtitle stated that this is a modern story and it reads more like his story.
This story took place just after the dot-com bubble burst in London. Ed was working in a internet company writing ezine for people in business. He hated his job and his boss, and his dream is to write a best-seller – like me, dream lah. His girlfriend had just left him and he was feeling blue when he met Geoff, who has many good advice about life based on the teaching of Buddha. Now Ed is a very negative man and one who is not interested in religion, with his MEF (my evil friend) alwas lurking in the background in his mind, creating skeptism in whatever Geoff says. Neverthess, the philosophy behind Buddhism makes alot of sense and Ed tries to put into practise what he learned, but things just got even worse. His company went bankrupt without paying him, whatever job that came his way did not last. Geoff always had a reason for it. Karma.
The author has a clever way of explaining Buddhism in layman’s term and putting things into perspective. Like how he describes perfect jobs. Ed wants to be at level A but he is at level D. The trick is to be happy at any level.
Level D writer (or painter or any business)- Have total freedom. Can write anything he wants but he is not paid for it. It’s a hobby. He writes for himself and perhaps for a few people around him and fantasize about success. (That’s me!) He sents stuff to publishers and gets rejected and has given up.
Level C- The writer gets paid but has no freedom.He writes what he is told, like company brochures, or journalism, with not much creativity, but at least he gets paid.
Level B – The wrtiter gets more freedom and is offered better paid work, but still, someone else rules.
Level A – Writer A is like writer D, except he gets paid top dollar, like a star.
Different levels bring different challanges and people expect more from A writer. B and C writers may have more modest ambitions and settle for less.
To get to where you want, you need KYO- Goal, CHI-wisdom, GYO-Action, I-Status. Your goal is something you acheive through doing and your status comes from doing it. Doing leads to being. So, Ed’s goal is to write to acheive the status for being a bestseller writer, vs his goal to become a bestseller writer, get it? Has he started writing? Nooooo….. wisdom comes from thinking about how and what to write, and action through perserverance.
Life state -How a person react to a problem depends on his life state. A low life state brings out all the negative feelings, like "oh no, not again. Why does this always happen to me?" In a higher life state, a person has basic self confidence and knows he would find a way out. A very high life state person would actually welcome the problem as a challenge, like mountaineers – the higher they climb, the better they like it; or Doctors and Nurses, they go right to where there’s pain. Problems are just facts. It’s our attitude to them that makes us suffer or not, depending on our life state. He uses Chinese to explain the term crisis 危机 ‘danger’ or ‘opportunity’ – it can go either way depending on the choices one makes.
Wisdom, courage and compassion (WCC) – if one can build up these qualities, one can use any problem to create something by turning poison into medicine.
This is a good book to read if you want to learn more about Buddhism as there are many much more stuff in there than what I have written. Buddhism is basically being aware of what, why and how you are feeling so that you can change it for the better. I intend to purchase my own copy. However, be warned that the author is a member of Soka Sect, which to some people is a cult. The reviews in Amazon generated some debate on this, which is expected when religion or politics is discussed. I like it for the way it teaches me to change my attitudes (very much like Ed’s in the book) and becoming more positive.
More importantly, the book was thoroughly enjoyable to read.