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Opening new doors of opportunity

Reflections on a knee injury

An Abbey guest turning prayer wheels at Chenrezig Hall.
Circumstances we might consider unfortunate can open great opportunities to study and practice the Dharma.

John writes about how a knee injury prevented the sports activities he long took pleasure in, but turned his mind to more meaningful activities.

There’s a story I would like to share as it is a good example of the power of the Dharma. I enjoy playing hockey and have played weekly for years now. Recently my knee was injured, so I went to the doctor. The results of the MRI just came back. There is a meniscus tear and a little floater in there. The doctor looked really bummed out, as did his assistant, but I looked at them both and said it’s all good. I don’t really hurt and I can walk, so who cares if I can’t do the sports I used to do. I could get surgery, but the long-term risk is arthritis in the knee. At this point, I am not willing to have the surgery. Accordingly, hockey is now out and could be permanently, depending upon how my rehab goes.

The other day I was talking with a friend about doors of opportunity opening and closing. Well, the hockey door is closed for now, which is okay because it did, in fact, lead to a lot of distraction. Now, however, I can spend more time at home with my wife and hopefully devote some of that saved hockey time to studying the Dharma, which is an infinitely better use of my time. Hence, a door of opportunity is opening. Also, the injury itself is a reminder of impermanence, and this situation helps me realize how utterly trivial my suffering is compared to the suffering that other beings endure. Whatever discomfort or inconvenience I experience is the ripening of prior destructive karma, and not being able to play hockey gives me more time to study the Dharma. So I can only comment, “Isn’t this actually a good thing?” Yes, it sure is. I relate this because, had this happened five years ago, I would have been very upset and depressed. The Dharma is real and it works, and the foregoing is a very real example of that.

Guest Author: John Meinhofer