On Worry

One of my favorite quotes is from the movie “The Spanish Prisoner”: “Worry is interest paid on a debt that never comes due.”

A wonderful illustration of this happened to me over the weekend. I got an automated phone call that said “This is not a sales call. it is very important you call … during regular business hours.” It sounded like a sales call to me! So I googled the company, and it turned out to be a collection agency. My first thought was, “Oh no, what if one of the doctor bills I’m contesting got sent to a collection agency? How dare they! My credit will be ruined!” But then I took a deep breath or two, and realized that I had no idea what the call was about. And that there was nothing to do but call on Tuesday. The next day or two my mind would every once in a while wonder what it was about, but I was careful not to worry, but just to let the thoughts go.

Today, Tuesday, I called, and it was for someone who used to have my number, not for me at all! So if I had worried all weekend, it would have been for nothing. I’m so glad I didn’t waste more than a couple of minutes on it.

What are you worrying about?

Being open to spirit

How open are you? How open are you to spirit? the universe? God? People? Yourself?

Most people are so full of “things” that there’s no room for being open.

Here’s another enlightening passage from a book I recently read, The Curse of Chalion (which I mentioned in a previous post)

“The gods love their great-souled men and women as an artist loves fine marble, but the issue isn’t virtue. It is will. Which is chisel and hammer. Has anyone ever quoted you Ordol’s classic sermon of the cups?”

“That thing where the divine pours water all over everything? I first heard it when I was ten. I thought it was pretty entertaining when he got his shoes wet, but then, I was ten. I’m afraid our temple divine at Cazaril tended to drone on.”

“Attend now and you shall not be bored.” Umegat inverted his clay cup upon the cloth. “Men’s will is free. The gods may not invade it, any more than I may pour wine into this cup through its bottom.”

“But have you really understood how powerless the gods are, when the lowest slave may exclude them from his heart? And if from his heart, then from the world as well, for the gods may not reach in except through living souls. If the gods could seize passage from anyone they wished, then men would be mere puppets. Only if they borrow or are given will from a willing creature, do they have a little channel through which to act. They can seep in through the minds of animals, sometimes with effort. Plants … require much foresight. Or” – Umegat turned his cup upright again, and lifted the jug — “sometimes, a man may open himself to them, and let them pour through him into the world.” He filled his cup. “A saint is not a virtuous soul, but an empty one. He –or she– freely gives the gift of their will to their god. And in renouncing action, makes action possible.”

This is reminiscent of the Zen story:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”


“The Curse of Chalion” (Lois McMaster Bujold)