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DOUBLE PARTIALLY GOOD NEWS/ THE CHINESE FARMER/ BEYOND ORDINARY GRATITUDE

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

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DOUBLE PARTIALLY GOOD NEWS AND THE CHINESE FARMER: First, after examining the PET full body scan, the only cancer that was revealed as the source of the secondary tumor in my neck was in the area of my nasal passage, called the nasopharynx. This is rare in the Western countries, but is mainly seen in Asia.. So it is a localized cancer that appears to not have metastasized to other places in the body. This is very good. However, even from Western treatment protocols it difficult to treat since it is a slow growing cancer. A 60% success rate isn't very inspiring or is anything to do with Chemo or radiation.

The second piece of good news, is that the tumor in my neck has shrunk to less that half its size, and is noticeably smaller after my lying on a type of mat that the gives of far-infrared and negative ions. However, for the last 2 weeks it has now stopped any noticeable change. I will continue everything else I am doing, and schedule at least one session lying on this mat for some time, in addition to other practices I do. I will keep you posted, and also monitor my progress and consult with my Ayurvedic doctor after I visit a cancer clinic in Mexico... I am not planning on celebrating with ice cream and cake any time soon--if ever--and remain diligent in doing everything I can for prevention and care.

If I continue to improve, the main credit is to all those devotees who have been praying for me. Prayer is powerful and everyone is benefited by it. Thank you all! Thanks you all! Thank you all so much! Now I have to endeavor to give back to all of you.

Parable of the Chinese Farmer

Once there was a Chinese farmer who worked his poor farm together with his son and their horse. When the horse ran off one day, neighbors came to say, “How unfortunate for you!” The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

When the horse returned, followed by a herd of wild horses, the neighbors gathered around and exclaimed, “What good luck for you!” The farmer stayed calm and replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

While trying to tame one of wild horses, the farmer’s son fell, and broke his leg. He had to rest up and couldn’t help with the farm chores. “How sad for you,” the neighbors cried. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” said the farmer.

Shortly thereafter, a neighboring army threatened the farmer’s village. All the young men in the village were drafted to fight the invaders. Many died. But the farmer’s son had been left out of the fighting because of his broken leg.

People said to the farmer, “What a good thing your son couldn’t fight!” “Maybe yes, maybe no,” was all the farmer said.

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A few quotes where are appropriate to how I am feeling:

"I expect to pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do, to any fellow being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." [Attributed to a number of people including William Penn and Stephen Grellet, with a number of varieties by such persons as Gandhi and Emerson]

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” [Henri Frederic Amiel]

"Why you are wasting your time in these things? Your life is short here. Then utilize it for self-realization. What is the use of this civilization, civilization that for artificial necessities of life you waste your whole duration of life…” [Shrila Prabhupada on a morning walk in Los Angeles in 1976]

Forget the past that sleeps and ne’er
The future dream at all,
But act in times that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.

[Bhaktivinoda Thakur in his famous poem, Saragrahi Vaisnava]
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BEYOND ORDINARY GRATITUDE: Last month in the USA Thanksgiving was celebrated, and there are similar celebrations around the world, where the practice of gratitude and appreciation for our blessings are given an official day. A good idea! Most of us would agree that being grateful is an important quality of a person, as opposed to a person who takes everything for granted and is never satisfied, or is a complainer. As important as having a grateful heart and giving nature are, my guru's guru, Shrila Bhaktisiddhant Sarasvati Thakur, in his often challenging way, was critical of a limited type of materialistic or fair-weather friend kind of religious piety.

In other words we have a tendency to be grateful when all is going well and we have an abundance of everything, but in tough times when we loose our job, home, our car is repossessed, or we have cancer or the like, the tendency can be to complain to God for the trouble we are experiencing. We have to go beyond conditional gratitude, or religious gratitude involving seeing God as merely our order supplier--even for a parking place--or the person we blame when everything goes wrong.

OK, I am not bashing being grateful for the material facilities we generally want, but saying it must go further by contemplation of spiritual wisdom. For example, I am grateful for a lovely family, for all my many friends, and extended friends and family I am interacting with here. I am grateful I haven't had to struggle for money my whole life, and that I don't worry about things, and that I expect things will always work out--and they do! I am grateful that I am not too bad looking and have a nature that is generally liked. I am grateful for my many teachers, and their books and CDs, from whom I have learned how to live in the world on both the human and spiritual level. I grateful for our home and being able to live in clean, quiet and aesthetically pleasing environment, and also living in a beautiful country setting. And yes, I do see these things as blessing from God. This is a good beginning, but we have to go beyond that, or build on that, to the spiritual level.
Photo taken at Bear Mountain in NY State by Gerald Berliner Photography. photo 10711064_10203305339294484_59477937_zpsee81d8d6.jpg
In other words, we have to extend our vision of what is good in context of the understanding that we are eternal souls living in a temporary and problematic world. If we accept that the real goal of our life is spiritual advancement, that changes, or should change, how we evaluate our circumstances or level of material prosperity or lack of it. This is obviously a big topic which I am only touching on, though I hope you might think about it, on a day that is meant to celebrate being grateful for our blessings.

What blessings are for those on a spiritual path will naturally include what most people would accept as positive, but also include even things like great reverses, cancer, negative or hostile criticism, or a whole host of things that to most people are unwanted. If in the midst of our illness or apparent misfortune we are able to have realization of our spiritual nature and our soul's incompatibility with matter, then we are truly blessed. I am not saying that we all must be poor or not take care of our health to be spiritual. However, in the midst of whatever situation we are in, a spiritual outlook is essential for happiness and to feel the embrace of God, or Krishna, in all circumstances. Here is a blog about the topic of selfishness, which could be though of state of mind that isn't grateful: http://www.krishna.com/…/5/problem-world%E2%80%94selfishness
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