One late night a monk and I sat in the shoe room of the temple in the dark all alone. He was leaving the next day for four months and he had a huge to-do list for me, more than I could possibly take on. He never worries if it’s too much, he assumes I have the strength and clear headedness to say yes or no and take care of myself. (He’s got that right mostly, but he also has this karmic power of persuasion that dictators would kill for!). As he went on and on, I repeatedly suggested he was simply taking on too much, asking too much, that we couldn’t do everything he wanted to do. This is a very hard conversation with this particular monk who is so hell-bent on adding more love to the world he will literally do ANYTHING to reach as many people as he can find but I tried anyway.
“Bhante, I’m really working on showing people I know how to slow down, my life appears so full to people I think it’s almost threatening to them, they think I just can’t do it all, can’t get to it.. and people all around me constantly talk about how I’m not “practicing what I preach” because I’m so busy, not “enjoying life” or some bullshit like that even though I feel totally good about it all”
With his epic angry face he nearly yelled “Don’t be a fool. Who cares what other people think of you. Your external pace in this life has no resemblance of what’s happening on the inside. Only care about the inside, only care about your spiritual health. Everything else, what everyone else thinks, let it go.”