One of my students has fallen from The Way. It happened in a mere blink of a moment fourteen months ago. I let her steep, did nothing. It was not mine to intervene until she recognized and asked. It took her fourteen months.
Where she held contentment and self-confidence in herself, where she practiced responsibility for self, she now feels only desperation and resentment. She seeks approval, regard, accolades. She desires to be noticed by others, her any action cheered and applauded. She wishes to be envied for her accomplishments. Yet, she doesn’t wish to chop wood and carry water…unless the doing brings the accolades and reward.
Embracing laziness (sloth) and greed for reward and praise (lust), cultivating pride, coveting, she reaps the fruits of her mindstate—dissatisfaction and anger…at everyone and everything. She thirsts, and her thirst cannot be slaked, cannot be quenched, by any water.
I’ve listened. I watch.
I’ve set her a task.
But she is not so different than the many.
A question, perhaps a test: Can you live in solitude and do, happy in the results of your doing simply in the doing; can you live in solitude and be, happy simply being?