|Reflections on Spiritual Practice|
Learn Not to Complain
During my two-day stay in the Orlando Center to attend the Chinese New Year celebration, one lesson I learned is "Do not complain".
In the Center, there is a public men's bathroom in the gym with shower facilities in the front and the restroom in the back. Because of the traffic in and out of the shower room, a lot of water was carried out onto the gym floor in front of the bathroom. Also, as people came in from outside, they tracked in some dirt. Consequently, the floor in front of the bathroom and in the restroom soon became very dirty and muddy.
When I went to the restroom and saw the dirty floor, I felt very uncomfortable and started complaining, "Why is the floor so dirty? Why has no one been assigned to clean the floor? Those who are organizing the celebration should find someone to clean the floor."
After coming out from the restroom, I started walking around the Center, but the complaining thoughts were still in my mind. As I was walking around, I saw many fellow initiates busily working. Several sisters were helping initiates and guests check-in at the registration desk. Security guards were directing traffic. Some initiates were putting decorations on the trees while others were helping move boxes of food to the kitchen. Everyone was happy and in a celebrating mood.
Looking at the fellow initiates who were working around me, I suddenly realized that I had no right to complain. Everyone was working hard to make the celebration a success. I had not done anything but complain. I should not complain and wait for someone else to clean the bathroom and restroom for me. I should help clean them up myself. So I went back. But I could not find any usable cleaning equipment nearby. A little bit disappointed, I went to my tent to take a rest.
The next day, when I went to the restroom in the early morning, I saw a brother using just a broom and shower water to clean the floor inside the bathroom. I got some inspiration from the brother's actions. Instead of waiting for the cleaning equipment to come to me, I started assembling some cleaning equipment myself.
Although I still could not find a real mop, I found a "partial" mop with the cloth end, but without the handle. Then I located a pole that could be used to move the "partial" mop around. Finally, I borrowed a bucket from a sister in the bookstore. With all this equipment put together, I started cleaning up the floor in front of the bathroom and the one in the restroom.
In the afternoon, Master stayed with us for two and a half hours to answer initiates' questions. When Master answered one initiate's question, I felt She was speaking to me when She said that some people come to the Center with some pre-set ideas of what the Center should look like and, if the Center is not the same as they imagined, they feel disappointed. We should not expect other people to serve us!
Through this lesson, I came to understand that when we run into a situation that is not ideal, we should not complain. Instead, we should do what we can to improve the environment. I remember that Master once said that magic is created by our two hands. With our own hands, we can turn a wasteland into a paradise. That is what Master and fellow initiates have done in all the Centers around the world.