A moment of enlightenment
This is the story of a woman named Cora. She was the only child in her family, and love and affection had been lavished on her by her parents. Her parents were not wealthy, yet they continued to support her, even after she graduated from college. She did not work for a living.
She talked about her illnesses and pains to her friends. She had an ingrown toenail and talked about it for hours. They would tire of her constant chatter about every little pain that came her way.
She suffered a broken arm, a gall bladder infection and other problems. She was so concerned about her health that she would talk to her friends, citing her problems, over and over again.
She also sought help from spiritual groups. When she was 41 years old, a friend told her that he had gone to India to meet a “guru.” He said the Guru was enlightened and had great power. The guru was named Mahat. Cora’s friend said that Mahat had cured his gout and changed his life for the better.
Cora was transfixed by his story. A few weeks later, she decided to go to India with a group that was going to India to see Mahat.
Mahat lived in a small one-room hut which had no water or electricity. His days were spent in meditation or speaking to those who visited him. People came from all over the world to be in his presence.
Cora and her group went to India. The first night they rested in a hotel. The second day, they set off on the trip to meet the guru. They faced the crowding, the lack of sanitation, the smoke and dust. The level of poverty was beyond Cora's comprehension.
After traveling for eight hours, she thought to herself, “What have I done? I must have been crazy to come here!” The group spent the night at an inn. It was sparse and primitive. Cora felt that the food was not clean, and she detested the bathroom.
The next day they came to the village in which Mahat lived. They found him, sitting on the ground, cross-legged, in front of his hut. He was a small man with a scraggly beard, uncombed hair. Several of his teeth were missing. A small crowd gathered around him.
“Oh! He looks like a beggar!” Cora thought to herself. “Have I come all this way, and suffered all these indignities, just to see a bum?” Her group went over to the crowd and sat down. Cora was offended because there were no chairs.
People in the group would ask questions. His responses were usually short. Cora did not speak the language that was used, so she did not understand the conversation.
Then, in perfect English, Mahat asked, “Do any members of the group from America want to ask questions?”
Mahat look directly at Cora. It was like an electric shock. She felt that he knew her, that he knew the difficulties she had experienced. She stood up, walked toward him and sad down in front of him.
“Oh, Marat!” Cora exclaimed, “You would not believe the troubles I have had!”
Then she regaled him with the difficulties she had experienced. She went way back to her ingrown toenail and enumerated all her troubles. Eight minutes later, she finished.
“I like suffering,” said Marat, “It brings me closer to God.”
These nine words changed Cora's life. Going back home on the plane, she kept thinking of the words: “I like suffering. It brings me closer to God.” -- over and over again. The words gave her a perspective that completely changed her thought process.
She stopped talking about her illnesses, and her life opened up. She had new friends, and got a job as a teacher's assistant. Her life became more joyful. Her interest in flowers, plants and animals increased. She learned to love other people.
Then, one fine day, she woke up and discovered that all the pain in her body was gone.
She now lives a life of gratitude.