When everybody else was concerned with being a 'mover & shaker', what most people identified as 'success', Joe was happy to just 'let it be'! Now, again; don't get me wrong, Joe was no 'slouch' when it came to the business world: while he was no billionaire ( not even a millionaire ), by the age of 40, Joe had become a very wealthy man. He didn't have much concern for money, so he didn't have to worry about where his next meal was coming from, but the main body of his great wealth consisted of his plethora of friends. Even those who may not have liked him, for whatever reason, had a healthy respect for him & so, in their business dealings with him ( at least ), treated him in kind, with all fairness & equity.
Joe had been brought up to treat others as he himself would like to be treated, so when he entered the 'real' world at about the age of 18, soon after graduating, he began to put into practice what he had learned. Things didn't always go well for our 'hero' ( for that's really what he was ), especially at first, for many with whom Joe came in contact were not used to such kindness, having been hardened by a cruel, cruel world, where it was usually 'dog eat dog' & 'every man for himself'. 'It's a jungle out there' was a phrase that he heard quite often, particularly as he neared the end of his formal schooling, I say 'formal' because, while Joe had spent the obligatory 6-8 hours a day sitting in front of a chalkboard, his 'schooling' consisted of much more than that; his busy social calendar was the envy of his peers, for Joe believed that while the currency of the day ( money ) was important for such mundane things as keeping a roof over one's head & putting food on the table, the most important 'commodity' of all was friends, those one could count on to hold you up when you were about to fall, that would, if & when neccessary, give you the proverbial shirt off their own back to make sure you were okay!
Things had not always been so rosy for our intrepid hero! Especially toward the beginning of his rather interesting 'career', Joe fell on hard times quite often, but thanks to his truest friends, he had never lacked either a roof over his head or food on the table. Both the roof & the food had sometimes given him an excuse to grumble, for, especially in his early years, Joe was not immune to the human condition & sometimes gave way to the hardships that beset him. Overall, though, he was able to implement the teaching that he knew in his heart of hearts to be true, so Joe was able to take even his deepest, darkest failures & turned them into the greatest, most enlightening successes!
Having already been through several such 'narrow escapes', at age 21, Joe had just embarked on a new business venture, one that promised to bring great success! Like his previous ventures, this one brought him into contact with a slightly different 'breed' of people than he had been used to dealing with. In his previous ventures, Joe had never encountered such varying levels of unkindness! It was as if these people went out of their way to be nasty! Much as he tried ( never did stop, either ) to treat these people like he would like to be treated himself, these people, for the most part, didn't seem to be phased. Even so, it was not unusual, after Joe had moved on to bigger & better things, for these people to remember his fairness in dealing & to seek his counsel when their own dealings went south.
As an example of 'how to deal', Joe was a prime one! Even those who had treated him unfairly ( to say the least ) were now groveling at his door, begging, like dogs at a holiday feast, for Joe to throw them even the scraps of his great wisdom. Though he did not view himself as possessing this 'great wisdom', Joe happily shared what 'nuggets' he had accrued over his short career. Even though he had accrued much of his 'wisdom' through the unkind practices of the very people who now 'fawned' at his door, he would not turn them away, for Joe knew in his heart of hearts that they had only treated him thus though fear & ignorance, both of which they had inherited through generations upon generations of lies & propaganda!
Joe had been taught, from a very early age, 'the Golden Rule'! Though he did his best to implement this principle throughout his illustrious career, he had always been nagged by the gentle suggestion that there was more to it & indeed there was, infinitely so, in fact! The notion of treating others as we would like to be treated is a noble endeavor, but Joe soon realized in the varied processes of his Journey that this was simply the outward manifestation of an inward reality, or realization: there truly are no others! This is not to say that we are all the same, personally speaking, for we all have different jobs to do while we inhabit these biological shells, but in our inmost beings, we all comprise One Great Spirit. It is this astonishing fact that Joe came to realize & thus enjoyed the greatest success in all his dealings in this 'cruel, cruel world'!
If only we could all learn to live like Joe & just 'let it be'! When we stop trying to make everything go our way, stop judging people as good or bad, right or wrong & just accept them for who they are ( in their heart of hearts ), dealing fairly with all, even when it's not returned in kind & showing kindness even when the general perception is that it's undeserved, even if it seems to be unwanted. Joe learned that it's those who are the most unkind that need kindness the most. Though they may never seem to be affected by our kindness, the seed that we planted will have its effect, sooner or later!
Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank