A Zen master named Gettan lived in the latter part of the Tokugawa era. He used to say: “There are three kinds of disciples: those who impart Zen to others, those who maintain the temples and shrines, and then there are the rice bags and the clothes-hangers.”

Gasan expressed the same idea. When he was studying under Tekisui, his teacher was very severe.

Sometimes he even beat him. Other pupils would not stand this kind of teaching and quit. Gasan remained, saying: “A poor disciple utilizes a teacher’s influence. A fair disciple admires a teacher’s kindness. A good disciple grows strong under a teacher’s discipline.”

Focus On Growth

The story is only saying regarding disciple but in reality we all are three in one. Through each circumstance, the Universe wants us to grow. But it depends on us. Observe around you and you will find that everyone is responding to the same circumstances differently. Because of that we create different reality.

Let me share with you one short real incidence:

Seema and Dimple are best friends. They stay in the same society. Their kids are in the same school and in the same standard and they have been playing together since the very beginning. I was their neighbor and I observed the way they brought out conversations with their kids. There was a huge difference in the quality of the questions that were asked to the kids.

When the kids went to their preschool for the first time, they were very excited. The mothers eagerly waited for them to come back from school and know their experience. Seema asked her daughter if she liked the school. She was only expecting a yes or a no as an answer. Whereas Dimple asked her daughter what she liked in the school. Here she would get an answer which is far better and detailed than a simple yes or no. She would understand the state of the child better.

When kids were back from school, Seema generally asked whether they finished their tiffins or what was there for homework etc. Dimple would ask a different question like “What did you enjoy in school today?” or “ What did you learn today?” etc.

There was an incident that I remember. One day both the kids returned home crying. Both the daughters were overwhelmed. They exclaimed their pain to their mothers, “You don’t love me?.” When Seema heard this, she began to give explanations of how much she loved her daughter. She reminded her of how she bought clothes and toys for her, how she took her out every weekend and fulfill all her wishes and her daughter still said she didn’t love her. Dimple asked a simple question “What do you want me to do so that you know I love you?.” “Please hug me as soon as you come back from office.” The emotional drama simply came to an end.

Now, it was the day when the first semester results were declared. Both the girls could not score well. Seema asked her daughter, “Why did you score less in the exams?”  Whereas Dimple asked her, “What needs to be done to score good marks in exams?” In the final semester examination results, Seema’s daughter still could not score well but Dimple’s daughter scored surprisingly well and topped her class.

Our brain is like a supercomputer. It will always give you an answer. If you ask negative questions the outcome is most likely to be negative but when you ask a good positive question you will get a positive result. For example, if you keep asking yourself why this keeps happening to you. The answer you will receive is that you are an idiot. But if you ask yourself what you could do to overcome this situation, you will get a positive empowering answer. Plenty of times the brain asks a lot of questions and the majority of these questions are negative. This depends on past experiences and upbringing most of the time.

As Tony Robbins quotes, “You can change the quality of your life by changing the quality of the questions you ask your mind.”

Learning from the story Three Kinds Of Disciples: Focus On Growth

Experience Learning

Growth is our responsibility. Education can be given but no one can make you mature and grow. How we take every circumstance and whether we respond or react that depends on us. All circumstances are a challenge and an opportunity to grow.

We only have a certain amount of energy for each day. If we use it for the wrong purpose, if we focus on the negative or dwell on whoever hurt us, then we’re not going to have the energy we need for the right purposes.

Direct Your Thoughts to Serve You

One of the best things you can do as a daily practice is to notice your thoughts, the conscious and the unconscious ones. Listen to the noise in your own head and consider it. If you constantly hear the same negative thought patterns, it is time to take those thoughts captive. Don’t beat yourself up or shame yourself for thinking negative thoughts, that just continues the cycle. Your negative thoughts are not some terrible sin you need to feel bad about, it is your brain’s way of protecting you. But you are smarter and bigger and better than your brain and you realize that if thought’s aren’t serving you, they have no use in your life.

How do we know if a thought is serving us? Consider how the thought makes you feel. If the thought you are thinking makes you feel things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control then keep on thinking it. It is serving you well.

However, if your thoughts lead you to feelings of anger, worry, jealousy, disputes, envying, impurity, immorality, depression, anxiety, strife, or the like, then they are not serving you.

You Are What You Think: How You Can Direct Your Thoughts to Change Your Life:

You are not at the mercy of your life circumstances and you are not at the mercy of your thought patterns. You are in full control. We have been given the power, through the Universe, to take every thought captive to the obedience of our Self-Alertness. Do not live in a place of defeat, allowing your negative thoughts to rule over your life.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

The first step is simply to notice your current thought patterns and consider how those thoughts are affecting your emotions and your actions in life. Once you’ve noticed thoughts that are not serving you, then you can begin to change the way you think, replacing bad thoughts with good ones. If you believe you are not good enough, you need to start to tell yourself that you are good enough. You are more than enough. And you begin to look for evidence to prove this truth to your brain. This begins to build new neural pathways and reprogram your brain to replace the truth for all the lies you have been believing.

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