“Do you battle inside yourself? Maybe often? Do you feel conflicted? You want something but feel you shouldn’t have it. You don’t do something but feel you should have. Isn’t that true? Would it be accurate to say, at times, you want to escape the turmoil inside?
You want to rid yourself of certain thoughts or feelings that cause discomfort or pain?
Everyone has some at times. We encounter ourselves. We experience anger when we promise ourselves we wouldn’t get mad. We have regrets we know we should move past or we fear the future when we know we need not. Is this you at times?
I certainly have felt this way.
A Zen Koan: The Warrior And The Master
A great warrior, a Samurai Warrior, approached a Zen Master and asked, ‘Where is the gate to heaven? Where is the gate to hell? Are there any gates? Where do I enter from?’
The warrior was a man of simple understanding. He knew life and death. He understood battle. He did not know or care about philosophy or wanting to learn another way. He simply wanted to avoid hell and go to heaven.
‘Who are you?’ the Master asked.
‘I am a Samurai! I am the leader of the Samurai! The emperor pays respects to me.’
‘You!’ exclaimed the Master. ‘You look like a beggar!’ He laughed.
The Samurai drew his sword to kill the Master. Just as he drew the Master to him the Master spoke.
‘This is the gate to hell. This anger, this sword, your ego opens the gate to hell.’
The Samurai understood and immediately sheathed his sword.
The Master spoke again, ‘Here opens the gate to heaven’.
Heaven And Hell Are Within You
The mind, your mind, has the capacity for heaven or for hell. Heaven and hell are within us right now. The doors open by the choices we make. What we focus on is what we get. What we entertain and think about most is what we become.
What do you spend most of your time dwelling on? Is it positive and healthy or negative and less than glorious? Which gateway do you find yourself going through most often?
The Warrior was smart enough to recognize this and simple enough to not rationalize. In an instant you can move from heaven to hell or from hell to heaven. Our choice makes the difference. Our decisions govern where we end up. Where do you?
Heaven and hell isn’t a future place at the end of life. It is our moment to moment experience. We choose where we will land. We choose what we experience. We choose the gate we go through EVEN when we are not conscious of making that choice!
Awareness Is The Key To Making The Change
The moment the Samurai became aware that he was reacting to an insult was his opportunity to leave the gate of hell. The insult made him hot and angry. It bruised his ego. He suffered from it. He was prepared to take a life because of it.
The instant he realized the pain put him at the gate of hell he stopped! He put away his sword. He put away his hurt and his anger. He made a choice. He responded differently. He became new!
Thus, opened to him the gate to heaven. He no longer reacted out of habit. He made a change. He became aware that he could decide. He understood! His decision in that moment made all the difference!
Both Gates Are Inside You – Choose
Choose the one you want to go through. Choose the one you want to spend time in. Where you put your attention is where your energy flows. Make the decision to live positive. It is a powerful choice. Put your awareness there. You become what you think about!
Napoleon Hill stated, ‘Any idea, plan or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.’ We can replace old, tired, negative thoughts, feelings and habits with new ones. ANY idea, plan or purpose can be placed in the mind! Make your mind work for you!
Great masters, educators, philosophers, trainers, and texts new and old, have said the same for centuries. We can replace old behaviors with new. We can make new choices that help us live better. We can live from a powerful, positive place of well-being.
Life Is What You Make It Already – What Do You Want It To Be
We can make new habits by repeating the new thoughts and feelings often each day throughout the weeks to come. Awareness is the key that opens us up to recognize which gate we are at. We need not remain a victim to our reactions and prior conditioning.
Whenever we realize which gate we are at we can choose whether or not to go through it. Whichever we choose accept responsibility for the choice and the consequences. Whenever we realize we are at the gate of hell we can choose not to go there. It is up to you!
You may stumble many times. Eventually, you will go there less and less. Through making the choice to stop and not go through the gate of hell you are doing something of great importance.
In the instant you choose to enter the gate of heaven (and do so repeatedly) you will learn the new habit. It will get easier and easier to make better choices. You will become aware more and suffer less.
You can make new and healthier choices. You literally can be, do and have anything you want when you put our mind to work for it in the right way.” Rex Sikes
Live more fully today!
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*Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.
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