When the Time is Right
July 24, 2012 § 40 Comments
Early in my career, I held a teaching fellowship at the Stanford Law School. One of my students gave me as a parting gift a copy of Shunryu Suzuki’s book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. I was touched by the gesture but not engaged by the book. I recall thinking mostly that the “Zen book” looked cool sitting on my bookshelf.
After Stanford, I headed east, jumped into the corporate lawyering world, and lived anything but a Zen life. A lot of time spent spent feeling frantic, unhappy, hollow and unfulfilled. Through those difficult times, as the decades rolled past, Suzuki’s book patiently tagged along on my bookshelf- never read, but never left behind.
Five or six years ago, I picked up the book again. This time I read it, really read it, again and again. I discovered the Tao te Ching. I began working with a therapist. I sought to feel and hold a strong sense of self. I began to live in a more present and centered way. I changed.
I sometimes wonder why it took so long. All that time- most of my life- I had right at my fingertips the text that would start me on the path to strength and peace. Why didn’t I pick it up sooner? So many years lost, I would think.
But that way of thinking is all wrong. What I did or didn’t do before is gone now. And that book, that amazing text, those redemptive teachings, would have meant nothing to me until I was ready. I wasn’t ready before. I am now.
Understanding and redemption come when the time is right. Don’t regret what may feel like their tardy arrival. Rejoice in the fact that they are here. Right here, right now.