Today, an interesting experience happened to me. I was literally bolted and locked in from inside my house.
The story behind this interesting experience is that I owe the landlord rent payment. Actually it’s only two weeks late but unfortunately I was too embarrassed about it and tried to avoid all contact with her. As a result, she panicked and locked the door using a huge new lock.
I think this is an experience that most people would never get to experience in their lifetime. I mean to be bolted and locked from the inside of your house. It’s like a scene out of a loan shark movie.
My first reaction was a tremendous sense of panic. The landlord probably came when I was sleeping in the afternoon. She probably thought no one was at home and locked the gate, forcing me to contact her. I remembered mumbling to myself “Xiao liao. Xiao liao!” (this is nuts! this is nuts!).
I closed the door, walked into my room and just froze. I think I didn’t move for a good 30 seconds. My initial thoughts were all negative.
These were the thoughts running through my mind, not in order of importance:
You are a good for nothing dimwit. At your age, you actually struggle to pay rent! What an idiot!
Everybody hates you, including your landlord.
Your reputation is zero! In fact, it’s so far below zero that Mas Selamat would appear as an angel if he stood beside you.
I even envision myself jumping down from my flat which is 10 storeys high. It was horrible. Absolutely horrifying.
It took me a good ten minutes before I finally relaxed and commanded myself not to panic. My next thoughts were — was there enough food for my dog? Was there enough food for me? There was only one packet of magee mee left and thank God I bought three pieces of peanut cake this morning when I went out to buy breakfast.
Worrying thoughts but at least they were better than suicidal thoughts.
After another half an hour of worrying, I decided to switch from a worry mode into a mode of thankfulness. You see, I fully subscribe to the idea that everything in life happens for a reason. So the fact that this incident happened is a good learning ground for me. There must be something I can learn from it. Then I remembered a phrase from Napoleon Hill’s book.
“Within every adversity is the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
So what benefit could I possibly gain from this adversity, I thought.
I sat down and imitated the pose of a spiritual monk. I started to reflect and meditate. What exactly has caused this situation to happen? I thought long and hard about it and finally came up with an answer: It was my fear.
I realized I had been running away from people out of fear that they would think I am worthless, useless, good-for-nothing (insert whatever derogatory phrases you can conjure). But did these people really think that way? If I was being honest with myself, I don’t think so. My mind had started to believe all these thoughts which were not even true. I had conjured up all these negative thoughts because that was the impression that I had of myself. Again, these thoughts did not reflect reality.
I think in life we experience fear simply because we create and think of scenarios in our heads that aren’t real. For example, I used to have a tremendous fear of public speaking. I always imagined that I would forget what to say, and that people would laugh and I would be very embarrassed by the whole experience. Again, these thought projections were not real but merely something my mind created as a stumbling block.
I thought about how I have been avoiding all my friends because I created scenarios in my head that they would look down on me, pity my situation and I would lose all respect from them. But again, these thoughts are not real and merely my own projections of my self worth. My friends (at least those I truly care about and are close to me) would love me no matter how much I have in my bank account. They have proven their loyalty to me even when I was in prison. Why would they condemn me just because I was broke? The truth was that I was condemning myself.
I felt tremendously enlightened after that. In fact, I think I broke into a huge smile. What if everything that came into our lives were merely projections of our consciousness? What if I can step out of my body and watch myself doing things? Would I still be afraid? I think the answer would be no. I would feel detached from myself, and instead of experiencing fear or embarrassment, I would merely be a silent participator. Perhaps this is what Buddha meant when he mentioned Nirvana?
I felt a new sense of power. I took out my cellphone and dialled the landlord’s number. I told her quite frankly I was having money issues and that I won’t be able to pay rent till perhaps another week or so. I told her to please unlock the door. I half expected her to scream her head off at me but to my pleasant surprise, she was pretty nice and understanding about the situation. She was just unhappy that I wasn’t contactable.
I think it’s time for me to stop my fears and start living my life in peace. And I believe it’s time I started to contact all my friends again.
Our doubts and fears are not true in themselves.
Our deepest beliefs about ourselves
and the nature of our world
are not true in themselves,
but our thinking makes them true in our experience.
We can change our thinking and change even our
deepest core beliefs.