Tests of faith and belief are a funny thing. They can hit you when you least expect it. It's all well and good to prattle on about forgiving a Libyan bomber, can your beliefs stand the test when it involves you or your family ?
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review printed an article that hit very close to home for me today. The article is about a former mortgage broker named Richard Thomas who stole close to $ 1 million dollars from a local business known as Penntowne Mortgage Group. Mr. Thomas has successfully gained his 5th postponement in sentencing by the Federal courts.
I know the story well. I was the President and part owner of the company.
When I first read the article, I have to admit that I was enraged. How can somebody that has confessed to a crime continue to evade final justice ? How can the need for him to "counsel" his son regarding a possible football scholarship conceivably convince a judge to let him squirm out of sentencing once again ? What about my son and his needs ? What about my family ? What about the families of all those that lost their jobs because of this ? What about the families of all of our investors and partners that took the hit ? What about the members of the public that were preyed upon ?
Buddhist discipline aside, I was pissed. I ranted and raved in front of my wife. Maybe people are just animals and maybe the only thing we truly understand is theft, violence and total disregard for each other. Maybe we should just take from others, follow the law of the jungle and prey upon each other. Eat the weak, I got my mine, you go get yours. In fact, I'm going to take yours too. "I'm writing to the U.S. Attorney" I yelled. "That asshole needs to get the maximum."
My wife looked at me. She said "I can't believe you are saying stuff like this. You sound like me. The thing I always loved and hated about you was your sense of idealism."
Now there is something to meditate on. This crisis of the past 2 1/2 years has posed the greatest danger to me not in terms of lost money, endless creditors, lawsuits, sleepless nights and crushing stress. The greatest danger is that the situation could pull me down to the animal level of the individuals (yes, he had help) that committed this crime. If I was to allow it, this could destroy years of personal reflection and improvement. No, the ways of revenge and the gun are not the path to follow. To paraphrase the big guy, I will beat these swords into lotus blossoms, stay on the path and try to be a better person, husband, father, brother, son and friend. I'll take the higher path.
Tommorrow morning, right before sunrise I will meditate. I will meditate on sending forgiveness and loving kindness to Mr. Thomas and his family. I will wish him well on his journey. I will wish his family well. I will forgive him for what he did and hope that he will learn from his mistakes. I will let the past go and send loving kindness to him and his family, my friends and family and so on.
I'm not saying it's going to work ! But, at least I'll try. I've had meditative roadblocks on issues before. Sometimes it doesn't happen on the first shot, but these are the things that we must all work on.
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