A Remarkable Story
By Jobekah Trotta©
Amazingly I received the notification
that these properties were available. Assuming they were in the
Shasta CA area, I responded right away, knowing full well how quickly
properties appear and then disappear off the CA real estate market.
However I subsequently discovered they were located in the lush
quietude of Eastern Washington. This was a little further than I
wanted to seek a new address, but the way of the fates had a different
reason for pointing the way.
My oldest son was jailed for six months
for spousal abuse. Angry all of his life, wearing the weight of
a huge chip on his shoulder, there was no words or counsel that
would encourage to seek help. We were so very sad when he lost his
house, wife, children, and everything he owned during those six
It was then that I was prompted to peruse books on Amazon for anger.
Being a novice practitioner, I particularly wanted to find something
that could inspire him in the way that taking refuge in the Mahayana
Buddhist tradition did for me over a year ago. (That is another
complete story in itself). I must have looked at nearly a hundred
books, reading carefully the first few pages that were available
to read and make a decision based on its contents. I was scrolling
when I saw one of the books offered for sale, framed in a bright
golden light. None of the others had used that idea, so I went to
its pages and read, not wanting to stop, and was convinced this
was the book to send to my son in the county jail.
I wrote telling him of my book find and went back to the same page
to copy the information. I had to do some searching, because when
I found the book again, it didn't have the golden frame around it.
I wondered why they had taken it off because it was so effective
as an "attention getter."
My son received the book, and when he had it unwrapped and placed
in his hands, he sat before opening it and asked the spiritual world
that he be able to absorb and understand the meaning of the words
inside in order to have the help he needed. He read and reread and
reread it again, and then one afternoon alone in his cell, as he
explained to me, it was like an electric switch turned to "ON"!
A flood of recognition rushed over him as though he had been given
a new set of eyes, a new brain, a new heart, a new being and purpose.
He wrote an energetic, positive, stream of consciousness, six-page
letter to his father and me. Gone like a darkened bird from the
top of a roof, he did not sound like the same person.
He took the book to his counseling session and told the counselor
that if he read this book, he would think of approaching his psychological
techniques in a totally different way. He gave his book to the counselor
and in two weeks a dozen copies of the same book had been purchased
through Amazon used books. The counselor expressed that he would
and did change the way that he approached counseling sessions with
the inmates based on his reading of the book and how it impressed
him to change his techniques.
My son declared to everyone he would never be violent or verbally
abusive to anyone for the rest of his life. These are not solid
words when you are incarcerated and everyone has an animal survival
consciousness, waiting for the prey, looking for the attack, preparing
for the most negative of circumstance. People challenged this odd
behavior with the threat of beating him up, killing him, and setting
him in different questionable circumstances. He held his peaceful
ground. The inmates nicknamed him "Holy Man" and began
to come to him asking questions, wanting answers, asking for help.
He referred them over and over and over again to this book on anger.
People read the book and contacted their families they had not spoken
to in over a decade and asked them to read the book. It changed
their lives as well.
A race riot was brewing in the quad one evening; things were getting
very negative and violent. My son jumped up on a table and invited
everyone to look within and see who they were even if they were
trapped in the circumstance of being bars and lack of freedom. He
asked that a representative of every one of the races who felt they
were an example of an intelligent and spiritual leader to come forward
and to shake hands. All races were represented, and all shook hands.
They began to shout from the tiers, "Holy Man! Holy Man!"
He replied, "No it is not me! It is you -- you made the decision
to change in that moment, to change what you did and thought."
Even the police remarked that they had never had anyone turn things
around using that approach and saw that there was something to this
person. Every sentence, every paragraph, every focused presentation
of the Dharma has been a life-altering present one gives oneself.
When he left prison, the Native Americans sent him off with a song,
the Latinos shook his hand, and the African Americans called him
"brother." My son truly thought much of all of them.
He has exceeded expectations in counseling now that he is on the
outside. Others constantly ask him to speak at meetings and seminars,
and all he can say is that it is a simple story from a simple person
who had a chance to change his life due to a book his mother saw
on the internet. He has tried to find as many ways as he can to
personally apologize to others for having caused pain or suffering
in their lives. It has left many with a codfish expression of voiceless
open-mouth disbelief at his change and his apology.
I know that this is a long story, but when I clicked on to the page
where Sravasti Abbey had its information, I kept seeing the smiling
face of Thubten Chodron. All of a sudden it hit me! This is the
very person whose words, assembled on paper in Working
with Anger before my son's eyes,
changed his life, his focus, his way of thinking, doing, and being.
I am eternally grateful for her perception, her outreach, and her
sharing of the Dharma.
My son now, is a novice practitioner as am I, and we exchange our
stories, our travels, and the tiny precious droplets of wisdom we
And to answer your question: I don't know how you even had my email
address to send the message about the property to me!
Now I am beginning to wonder if, once again, I am being led to discover
the deeper, more complex meaning behind the communiqué received
about the land.
Thank you for writing,