There is an old Zen story about a cobbler who was charged by his neighbors with stealing vegetables from the village garden. His angry neighbors ranted and raved about his theft, selfishness and greed. He responded “Is that so?” Years later they found out that indeed it has been another neighbor who had stolen the vegetables that terrible summer and that the cobbler was innocent. His shunning was lifted and the villagers apologized to which he said “Is that so?”
How we respond to what happens around us is important but mostly important to our own health and well-being. The injustice of the village to the cobbler would have been dragged into court for retribution and remuneration in our day and society. There would be anger, speeches, letters to the editor, rantings, ravings, legs fees. And then, later recanting, new law suits, etc. This is not to say that we let injustice go unchecked or that we become a door-mat. But it is to say that we might just let go of the outrage and angry thoughts enough to ask if what we think is true or, perhaps, just a series of righteous thoughts based on a series of hunches.
Living a peaceful life is not so much about what happens to us as it is about how we respond to what happens to us. Rosa Parks sat quietly. But she sat.