Once upon a time there was a shepherd boy tending a few straggling sheep on the side of a mountain. One day as he cared for his sheep he saw at his feet a beautiful flower – one that was more beautiful than any he had ever seen in his life. He knelt down upon his knees and scooped the flower in his hands and held it close to his eyes, drinking in its beauty. As he held the flower close to his face, suddenly he heard a noise and looked up before him. There he saw a great stone mountain opening up right before his eyes. And as the sun began to shine on the inside of the mountain, he saw the sprinkling of the beautiful gems and precious metals that it contained.
With the flower in his hands, he walked inside. Laying the flower down, he began to gather all the gold and silver and precious gems in his arms. Finally with all that his arms could carry, he turned and began to walk out of that great cavern, and suddenly a voice said to him, “Don’t forget the best.”
Thinking that perhaps he had overlooked some choice piece of treasure, he turned around again and picked up additional pieces of priceless treasure. And with his arms literally overflowing with wealth, he turned to walk back out of the great mountainous vault. And again the voice said, “Don’t forget the best.”
But by this time his arms were filled and he walked on outside, and all of a sudden, the precious metals and stones turned to dust. And he looked around in time to see the great stone mountain closing its doors again. A third time he heard the voice, and this time the voice said, “You forgot the best. For the beautiful flower is the key to the vault of the mountain.”
The boy forgot the best, and lost a treasure. We too can lose a treasure. We get so busy, that in our haste we miss things in life that are just waiting to be enjoyed. As William Feather (1889-1981) said, “Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
Remember: “Nothing should be done in haste except catching fleas.”
Once there were two ants sitting on the rim of a cup that contained amrta, the nectar of immortality. As they were talking, one of the ants lost his balance and was about to fall into the cup. He somehow managed to get back on the rim. The other ant asked him, ‘Why don’t you want to fall into the cup? Even if you drown in this, you will become only immortal.’
The first ant replied, ‘But I don’t want to drown!’
Source: Nithyananda Paramahamsa, Bhagavad Gita Demystified, Volume 3 (Life Bliss Foundation, 2009) page 260
We don’t realize that merging with the collective consciousness will liberate us in totality. We resist and hold on to ourselves. As long as we do not disappear into the collective consciousness, we continuously create hell for ourselves and for others.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12:24-45, The Message)
Once there were two ants. One lived in a sack of salt while the other in a sack of sugar. The sugar ant once visited her neighbour and tasted the salt in her sack..
Finding it bitter she said, “Do come a visit my house. I’m sure you’ll find the food there much to your liking.”
The salt-fed ant accepted her neighbour’s invitation but being naturally cautious and not wanting to run short of food she took a grain of salt with her in her mouth.
When she ate the sugar she said, “Frankly I don’t know what you’re talking about. Your food tastes much like mine.”
The sugar fed ant replied, “Perhaps that’s because you’re hounding on to something of your own. Get rid of that and I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.”
The salt fed ant cleaned out her mouth, tasted the sugar and never returned to the sack of salt.
Are you clinging to a thing, an event, an experience or a person in such a way that the disordinate attachment is blocking you from seeing and tasting the sweetness of fresh and new gifts awaiting to be acknowledged and embraced with a gentle and relaxed grasp?
A gardener once worked for a heart surgeon. The heart surgeon was an atheist. The gardener was a man of faith. They got on very well together, but often had friendly arguments about the nature of life, and faith, and the spiritual life.
One day the heart surgeon thought he had finally settled the argument when he told the gardener: “You talk about ’soul’, but let me tell you that I have cut open thousands of human hearts in the course of my career, but not once have I found a ‘soul’ inside.”
“Well,” replied the gardener, “I have to tell you that in the course of my work over all these long years in your garden, I have accidentally sliced through many buried daffodil bulbs with my spade, but I have never seen a daffodil inside them.”
Quoted in Margaret Silf, One Hundred More Wisdom Stories
(Lion Hudson, 2014) page 28
- Because something cannot be seen, does not mean it does not exist.
- What is to be, is hidden deeply within us, and will be revealed only in God’s time and through Gods’ power.
There was a monk who was very impatient. You may wonder, why would a monk be impatient? Don’t they become monks so that they don’t have to deal with the world? Yes, that’s true. So imagine how impatient this monk was…
The more he tried, the more impatient he became. So he decided that he must get away to learn to be patient. So he built himself a little home deep in the woods, far away from civilization.
Years later, a man was traveling in those woods and met him. The man was amazed to find anyone living so far away from the rest of the world, so he asked the monk why he was there all by himself. The monk said that he was there to learn to be patient.
The traveler asked how long he had been there, and the monk replied: seven years. Stunned, the traveler asked, “If there is no one around to bother you, how will you know when you are patient?” Annoyed, the monk replied, “Get away from me. I have no time for you.”
If you happen to know the original author of this story, or the original source, please send me the relevant information to credit it rightly
Every time you feel impatience welling up from deep within, remember the monk! Learn patience where you are, with situations that challenge your patience and people that push your buttons.
A young man who went to a rabbi and said, “I know that we are commanded to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, all our strength. But I know that my heart and soul and mind and strength have bad parts in them. So how can I love God?”
After a pause the rabbi replied, “It seems you will just have to love God with the bad parts too.”
Anything that is worth doing is worth doing well, the saying goes. But G.K. Chesterton amended it. Anything that is worth doing is worth doing even badly, he said!
Do you refuse to sing until you are as good as Pavarotti? Do you refuse to dance until you are another Anna Pavlova?
How did we learn to walk? By walking badly, by toddling, by falling down innumerable times. How did we learn to write our names? How do we learn to love?
A king visited a prison in his kingdom and talked with the prisoners. Each one insisted on his innocence except for one man who confessed to a theft.
“Throw this rascal out of the prison!” cried the king, “He will corrupt the innocents!”
Source: An old Hasidic story retold my
Louis Newman in The Hasidic Anthology (Schocken Books, 1963)
It is a simple story which looks at our willingness to see the wrong in others and condemn them and yet be blind to our sins. The prayer comes to mind ‘Give me the grace creator God to see myself as others see me’.
Being set free starts by admitting that we are not as innocent as we would like to believe!