Excerpts - What Will People Think?
(notations in brackets have been added for clarification )
[This teaching idea comes from my teacher through Donna Lancaster's newsletter. If you would like to receive her newsletter, you can contact her at email@example.com. Meanwhile, here is some material from our teacher that I didn't have.]
Is public opinion an idol?
How do we place it as 'what will people think?'
Is that our great god?
Would you be controlled and change your course of conduct any by being concerned with "What will people think?'
"What people will think" is quite an idol.
We're beginning to find the name of our favorite god-the one in which we stand in awe of. Is this the name to which we give the most power? "What will people think?" How much tribute do we pay to it? "What will people think" earns the waiters and waitresses much of their income.
"What will people think?" Does this control our actions? Does it keep us in line? Is it one excellent way to control people? We honor this god. We are idolaters all day long. We have become totally in bondage to "What will people think?" What are we giving power to and what are we serving? What do we feel guilty about most of the time? Does that god "what will people think?" make us feel guilty? It is a monster at making us feel guilty. Do you want to keep on worshiping that god?
Do you remember the story about the Kings clothes? It tells how this god came into being. Each of us made our god and this is how it came into being.
Over in one of the old countries when they had more or less the feudal system, three men came into town and announced that they wanted to rent a shop. So they got a shop rented and they told the landlord that they were weavers. They had some looms and they brought them in and set them up. They brought in bundles, seemingly. But when they opened them, nobody saw anything.
So they passed the word that they were a special sort of weavers-that if you were good enough for your position, you could see what they wove. But if you were not good enough for your position in the community, you could not see the cloth they wove.
So they sat at their looms and weaved away. All the people would come by and see these empty looms turning. They had already heard this little story that if you couldn't see it, it was because you weren't fit for your job. And after all, the god of that day was also named "what will people think", so they couldn't say, "There is an empty loom."
So they said, "What beautiful cloth."--because they had to serve their god, pay tribute, do homage to him. Pretty soon the word trickled up to the castle and the king heard about it. He said, "Now that's interesting. I want to see that. Now it's just possible that I'm not fit to be king and I sure wouldn't want that to leak out."
So he thought a while and said, "I'll find the old prime minister who was prime minister to my father. If any man in the kingdom is fit for his job, he is."
So he called him in and said, "Go down and see about this cloth that these weavers are making." And he told him about how it was such wonderful cloth that if a man was fit for his position he could see it and if he was not, he couldn't see it.
So the prime minister went down and looked in. He went in to the place, and the humble weavers bowed and welcomed him and said, "Come see. Here is this pattern and here is this one over here on this shelf." The old prime minister adjusted his glasses and said to himself, "My god, I don't see anything, but I mustn't let anybody know. What will people think?" His god immediately demanded obedience.
So he began to say he saw the cloth. He raved about it. He said, "I must bring this story to the king." He tore back up the hill in great trepidation and great fear lest anybody suspected that he didn't see the cloth. He went in and told the king a glowing report that this was the most beautiful cloth he had ever seen. Such textures and colors he had never seen in all his life.
So the king finally got up his nerve and went down. And lo and behold, he saw nothing. But his god wouldn't allow him to say he didn't because his god said, 'what will people think?' He had to say he saw the cloth. So he ordered a complete wardrobe.
And, of course, the weavers would demand a little extra money for gold thread and some more for this and that. They would say, "Isn't this beautiful with this brocade gold. The pearls on this one are woven right into the cloth." The king would go down and admire it. Finally they got to the fitting. "Take it in a little bit right there," he said. He then ordered this complete wardrobe. He decided to really put it on good. He decided to have a parade to show off his whole new uniform--his whole new wardrobe.
So they stood him up on the front of a big carriage. The king was standing there in his underwear parading down the street. Everybody obeyed the god of "What will people think" and said, "What wonderful clothes!" "Doesn't our king look wonderful?"
Well, there was one little brat in the crowd kept hollering, "Hey, the king ain't got no clothes on?" The kid was a reprobate. He wouldn't recognize the god.
I haven't paid homage to that god for quite a while; but isn't this the god that controls us all under many forms? We maintain we see the truth of all sorts of things because 'what would people think' if we didn't see those supposed truths?
What would people think if we didn't agree with them. We can pull our agreement away from any given explanation. Let's see if we can quit worshipping this idol. At least you can see what you're doing. It takes a little courage, a little of saying to yourself, "So what." How many of us can, this moment, say, "I will do what I see as fact, true, without regard to "what will people think?"
See what you're doing every moment. Be very conscious. See that you are an idolater. All we're talking about is being more conscious. You're consciously aware that you're an idolater serving a god called, "what will people think?" Would you be more conscious than you've ever been in your life? That would be a higher form of being. To be aware you're doing it is to be conscious and somewhat awake.
The Paderewski Concert
[Though this isn't from my teacher, it certainly ties in with "what will people think" and adds the dimension of utilizing the present moment and turning what seems to be a catastrophe into an opportunity to experience oneness with the Spirit within.]
Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.
Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door he couldn't read marked "NO ADMITTANCE".
When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to
begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."
Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he a added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.
That's the way it is with our Heavenly Father. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life's work truly can be beautiful.
Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.
Remember, God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called. And He'll always be there to love and guide you on to great things.
[The mother was worshipping the god of "What will people think." But there is another observation about this story. We have heard so often from the teacher about reporting "what is" objectively without criticizing or judging it-to get the mind quiet and listen. Paderewski didn't make the formality of a concert important-he dealt with what is. The teacher has said so often that when our minds are quiet we can handle anything. Padarueski saw a young child who was oblivious of the what is with regard to concert and audience, but had an enthusiasm for the piano. He used the situation with his quiet mind and did what he wanted to do. He was tuned into Spirit and was guided with this feeling of oneness with all concerned and created a great moment for everyone concerned. We have been reminded often that the way to communicate with Spirit begins with a quiet mind and is accompanied by feeling………..Marsha]
The Emperor's Seeds
[This is another story that isn't from my teacher, but also ties in with "What will people think."]
An emperor in the far east was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called all the young people in the kingdom together one day.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and to choose the next emperor." I have decided to choose one of you." The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today, one very special seed". "I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed." "I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!"
One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.
After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew--three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by--still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Ling didn't have a plant; and he felt like a failure--six months went by--still nothing in Ling's pot.
He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants; but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends; however, he just kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot; but his mother said he must be honest about what happened. Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace.
When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kids laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey, nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, I will appoint one of you the next emperor!"
All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure!" "Maybe he will have me killed!"
When Ling got to the front, the emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down.
He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!" Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today; but I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow.
All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.; therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!"
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory. If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy. If you plant patience, you will reap improvements. If you plant faith, you will reap miracles
So be careful what you plant now, it will determine what you will reap tomorrow. The seeds you now scatter, will make life worse or better your life for the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits, or you will pay for the choices you plant today.
~ author unknown ~
[All of the children were listening to the god of "What will people think?" and Ling despite the embarrassment stayed with what was of value to him with the help of his mother. It takes courage to do what is of value to us despite what other's say. The last paragraph of this story about what we plant now is another way of reminding us of self-remembering that I'm a privileged invited guest at this big party on earth and I can do what to me is being a good guest and make some small contribution, even if it's only to a pleasant mood as my way of saying thank you for having been invited………Marsha]