Zen Cynicism: maitri
There was a story about the Zen master Suzuki Roshi. This was a situation where his students had been sitting and they were 3 or 4 hours into a very hard sitting period, a sesshin. The person who told the story said every bone in his body was hurting, his back, his ankles, his neck, his head, everything hurt. Not only that, his thoughts were totally obsessed with either “I can’t do this, I’m worthless. There’s something wrong with me. I’m not cut out to do this.” It was vacillating between those thoughts and “This whole thing is ridiculous. Why did I ever come here? These people are crazy. This place is like boot camp.” His mind and body were just aching. Probably everyone else in the room was going through something similar.
Suzuki Roshi came in to give the lecture for the day and he sat down. He started to talk very, very, very slowly and he said, “The difficulty that you are experiencing now…” And that man was thinking, “will go away.”