The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

Asking God for the Wrong Favor

Have you ever noticed when you don’t get what you want, on the most simplest of terms, you get upset? Sure, there are all of those really big, grand ideas that we each hope and want for our life. But, as they are so big, we kind of understand that they probably are not going to happen. But, it is those small things that get to us. Things that we think are so simple that they should be ours. They are the ones that get us riled up.
Like a parking spot. We go somewhere, we expect to find parking, and when we don’t get it, that question of, “Why not,” rages inside of us.
I know for me, in places like San Francisco, there have been more than a few times when I have been trying to go to a restaurant, a gallery opening, or something like that, and I would drive around and drive around but there was nothing. I had a reservation, but I couldn’t get to it.
One time in particular is etched in my mind. I dropped my lady off in front of the restaurant. This restaurant was on Polk Street, and that area of SF can get a bit sketchy.  I wanted to keep her safe and so she wouldn’t have to walk and all that.  My thought was, I’ll just go and find a spot. But, nothing, nada. I looked and looked, drove and drove, I could find nothing. My lady was sitting there, waiting for me. But, I had nowhere to park. I was freaking out.
Something so simple. Something so small. Something so expected. But, I could not get what I wanted/needed.
Maybe you have had one of those moments. Something so simple that should be yours, but it is kept from you. Thus, and therefore, you are completely freaking out.
Some people, in those situations, cry out, “Why?” Some, (I guess), even pray to God. “God help me!” But, why should God be bothered with some level of granting you your desired foolishness?
And, this takes us to another area of this entire issue; i.e., who you ask for help and why. Like I mentioned, many people commonly cry out to God, as that is what they have been trained to do. Who else can you ask for help in a situation like that?  It’s not like any physical being would/could have the potential to get you a parking spot when there are none.
But, here is where all this subject gets complicated… …All that asking…
It’s like the teacher of my teacher, Swami Sivananda would discuss, (and I am paraphrasing), if you are asking for help from the Great Beyond, (he referred to whom you are asking as the Devis, (female deities), you will be expected to pay them back. And, that’s the thing, asking is easy. People ask for things from the Great Beyond all the time. They want what they want for free. But, what are they willing to pay back when the bill comes due? Nobody ever thinks about that.
How many people ask, but how few people pay?
Most people ask the Great Beyond for so much, from the very big to the very small. Do you?
I think back to a couple stories spoken to me by my Zen Filmmaking brother, Donald G. Jackson that are an ideal example of The Asking. For example, he believed that chanting got him from working in a factory in Michigan to a job in the film industry here in California. He had joined the Nichiren Shōshū group, where they chant, “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō,” while having their students focus intensely on what they want. And, it is promised they will receive it. Don believed it worked for him. Maybe it did, I don’t know? But, like I have questioned since the ‘70s, over and over and over again, about this society and their methods, “How is that Buddhism?” Buddhism is about achieving, No Desire, not the acquisition of desire. But, he believed that he asked and he received.
The twist to all this came later in his life, leading to the title of this piece. He would detail to me that he would pray that all he wanted was a way to make micro-budget films and he hoped for a means to finance them. A finance company did come to him. One of those dirty deeds done dirty cheap film finance companies and Don and all the investors got screwed. They all ended up in court and all that. But, in the interim, Don lived very high on the hog and made a bunch of movies. Movies that he hated. He would often say to me, “I am so sorry that I asked for something so small.”
But, here’s the thing… Don wanted, he asked, and he got. But, when what he received was not what he truly wanted, then what? Moreover, what was Don willing to pay back? He never even thought about that question.
How about you? What have you asked for? …Small or large? When you asked, did you ever think about repayment? Whether it was/is something so small as a parking spot, or something much grander, what are you willing to pay for getting what you want? And, once you get it, what happens if and when you realize, it is no longer really what you wanted?