The Modern-Day Buddha—TECHNIQUE 3: Create and Extract the Value

(Click here to read the Technique 2)

“When you find value, you automatically remove any possible reason to feel resentful because the value you found means that there was indeed an equal exchange…The value gives meaning and purpose to the crisis in question—period.”

One evening a Modern-Day Buddha was having dinner with a friend. This was a very outgoing friend who ran several successful businesses, philanthropic organizations, and charities. He had dedicated his life to being of service to others, especially to homeless and orphaned children. Yet, on this night, something was bothering this man, and when the time was right the MDB inquired.

“I’m frustrated,” the friend replied, “because, despite how amazing my life is, I still have some residual anger left inside of me. This anger, I know for a fact, is preventing me from opening up further to others and to life itself.”

“Why are you angry?”

“When I was just a young boy,” the friend began, “my father left my mother, and I didn’t see him for almost twenty years. We reconciled shortly before he passed away about twelve years ago now. But there is still some ancient resentment inside of me that jumps out of my chest every time I see a child in a similar situation.”

A moment passed before the MDB asked quietly, “How do you feel about your work?”

“I love my work. It fuels my life. In fact, it is not work to me. It is my calling.”

“What part of your many responsibilities do you love most?”

“Oh, there’s no question, it’s the children,” he said with a grand smile. Realizing what he’d said, he suddenly froze, starring out of the dining room window at the first of the night’s stars. “It’s the children,” he repeated quietly.

“Is it possible that your circumstances with your father, painful as they may have been and still may be, played an important role in your success?”

His friend sighed slowly as he continued to gaze out of the window. The MDB reached across the dinner table to touch his friend’s hand. “Is it possible that the joys you’ve known were powered—at least in part—by the sorrows you’ve experienced?”

“I think so,” his friend said, nodding subtly, “I’m sure of it.”

“So he was your teacher, then?”

“Yes, he was.”

“And some of his teachings were, and perhaps still are, difficult?”

“Yes…they are.”

~ ~ ~ ~

The third technique to cultivate awareness and understanding is different than the first two in that it requires a bit of imagination and a strong desire to simply move beyond the pain of the past—recent or distant.

It’s quite simple:  Create and extract the value…from everything.

Now, it’s not difficult to perceive value from an experience that we enjoyed or overtly desired. So, ultimately, what we’re talking about here is all of the stuff that we don’t enjoy. We’re talking about the areas of our lives where we were hurt and are very likely still hurting. No matter how painful, no matter how justified you are in feeling hurt and resentful—find the value.

When giving a title to this technique, I almost called it, ‘Remove the Rationale for Resentment,’ because that’s what we’re talking about here. If you were able to detach from the scars that represent your oldest hurts, what you might find is nothing more than the areas of your life where you likely feel that you were not given a particular amount of value from another, where the exchange between you and the subject of your pain was not ‘equal,’ so to speak. Yes, that might be an overly simplistic way of looking at something like abuse, abandonment, or harassment; but again, try to—if only for a moment—remove your personal investment from the situation and temporarily look at it from outside of the current ‘injured’ version of yourself.

You see, it’s a very simple formula:  When you find value, you automatically remove any possible reason to feel resentful because the value you found means that there was indeed an equal exchange (of energy, time, love, knowledge, experience, or whatever you prefer to call it). The value gives meaning and purpose to the crisis in question—period. Essentially, you no longer see yourself as a victim, nor the perpetrator as a villain because you have found value in the experience no matter how painful it was. Make sense?

Now, you might be wondering how in the world can you find value or meaning in a situation that is/was rude, unjust, corrupt, and perhaps even violent or abusive. It’s simple:  Make it up. Look into your heart and use your imagination to intentionally decide what you have learned from the challenge. Locate specifically how that challenge has caused you to grow and evolve as a person. Because it has, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it has. Look at where you are right now and ask yourself, “How did I get here? Could it have been any other way?”

It seems that our teachers come in every shape and form, wearing many masks, playing many roles. It is easy to lose sight of what they helped to inspire from us in the midst of our own historical pain. Yet, our pain makes this fact no less true:  Through our time spent with them, they helped to provide the contrasting experiences we needed to drive us forward toward this very spot, this very moment. They play a pivotal role in our lives.

The primary difficulty with this technique is buying into what it ultimately suggests:  All things have happened, are happening, and will happen in perfect order. This is, without doubt, a tall order for any of us to subscribe to.

But, think back to a time when you did this reflexively without even thinking about it. Think back to a time when you were hurt, perhaps deeply, perhaps not, and you simply decided that what you learned was far more valuable than the hurt was painful. Now, apply that same idea to the garbage that keeps you pinned to the floor—out of reach of your dreams. Decide, just decide, that there was value there. Make it up if you have to. What you decide will be true. And when you do, everything will begin to change.


  1. Notice when unresolved feelings of some past/current challenge flare up inside of you, causing you to feel like a victim.
  2. In a show of naked honestly, create and extract the value from that challenge. What was it about that challenge that has caused you to grow and evolve?
  3. From that point on, refer to that challenge as a blessing; continually remind yourself of its value.

The next installment:
TECHNIQUE 4—Be Selfish

(In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting the entirety of this book here. To learn how you can purchase/download this book now, click HERE.)

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About the Author…
Noah James Hittner is an independent AuthorMusician, and Entrepreneur from rural Wisconsin who has appeared on both radio and network television. His books and music inspire the mind and warm the heart. To contact Noah, or explore more of his work, visit:

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