A DOLL OF SALT

A doll of salt, after a long pilgrimage on dry land, came to the sea and discovered something she had never seen and could not possibly understand.  She stood on the firm ground, a solid little doll of salt, and saw there was another ground that was mobile, insecure, noisy, strange and unknown.  She asked the sea, “But what are you?” and it said, “I am the sea.”  And the doll said, “What is the sea?” to which the answer was, “It is me.”  Then the doll said, “I cannot understand, but I want to; how can I?”  The sea answered, “Touch me.”  So the doll shyly put forward a foot and touched the water and she got a strange impression that it was something that began to be knowable.  She withdrew her leg, looked and saw that her toes had gone, and she was afraid and said, “Oh, but where is my toe, what have you done to me?”  And the sea said, “You have given something in order to understand.”  Gradually the water took away small bits of the doll’s salt and the doll went farther and farther into the sea and at every moment she had a sense of understanding more and more, and yet of not being able to say what the sea was.  As she went deeper, she melted more and more, repeating: “But what is the sea?”  At last a wave dissolved the rest of her and the doll said: “It is I!”

Source | Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, Living Prayer ,
(Darton Longman and Todd, 19 66) pages 105-106

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a slightly different rendition

A salt doll journeyed for thousands of miles over land, until it finally came to the sea.

It was fascinated by this strange moving mass, quite unlike anything it had ever seen before.

“Who are you?” said the salt doll to the sea.

The sea smilingly replied, “Come in and see.”

So the doll waded in.

The farther it walked into the sea the more it dissolved, until there was only very little of it left. Before that last bit dissolved, the doll exclaimed in wonder, “Now I know what I am!”

Source | Anthony De Mello, Song of the Bird
(Image Books, 1984), page 98

CONSIDER THIS

  • I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.Galatians 2:19-20
  • What is it that you need to give and what is it that you need to receive for a better understanding of who you really are?
  • What do you think is the relationship between you and the other, you and the rest of creation, you and the Other?

THE BEST BOOKS

A seeker came to the teacher, asking, “I am interested in the spiritual quest – what books would you suggest I read?’

The teacher smiled and pointed to his empty bookshelves, saying, ‘The best books are people.’

Wishing to justify himself, the seeker said, ‘Surely, a spiritual man like yourself would recommend that I read the Bible. Which translation of the Bible would you suggest?’

The teacher smiled faintly and replied, ‘The best translation of the Bible is a saint!’”

Source | Edward Hays, The Ladder: Parable-Stories of Ascension and Descension
(Forest of Peace Pub., 1999) page 76

PONDER AND CONSIDER

As a general rule, I would say that human beings never behave more badly toward one another than when they believe they are protecting God. In the words of Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, “People of the Book risk putting the book above people.” — Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith

  • What kind of book are you to the people around you?
  • How would you define a saint?

COOKIES

Toad baked some cookies. “These cookies smell very good,” said Toad. He ate one. “And they taste even better,” he said. Toad ran to Frog’s house. “Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies that I have made.”

Frog ate one of the cookies. “These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog.

Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another. “You know, Toad,” said Frog, with his mouth full, “I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.”

“You are right,” said Toad. “Let us eat one last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad ate one last cookie.

There were many cookies left in the bowl. “Frog,” said Toad, “let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop.” Frog and Toad at one very last cookie.

“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another. “Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need will power.” “What is will power?” asked Toad.

“Will power is trying hard not to do something that you really want to do,” said Frog.

“You mean like trying not to eat all of these cookies?” asked Toad. “Right,” said Frog.

Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “But we can open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Frog.

Frog tied some string around the box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “But we can cut the string and open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Frog.

Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on a high shelf. “There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.” “But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad. “That is true,” said Frog.

Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf. He cut the string and opened the box.

Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a loud voice, “Hey birds, here are cookies!”

Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away.

“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly. “Not even one.”

“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of will power.” “You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.”

Source | “Cookies” by Arnold Lobel
from Frog and Toad Together

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. | Romans 7:15 (nrsv)
  • What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. | Romans 7:15 (the message)

In the story, Frog and Toad eat so many cookies that they fear they will become sick.

  • Is there something that you like to eat or drink so much that you can’t stop yourself, even when you fear that you will get sick?
  • If you know that eating so much of something will make you sick, why do you continue to eat it?

Frog defines will power as “trying hard not to do something that you really want to do.”

  • How do you define will power?
  • If you really want to do something, why would you try not to do it?
  • Can part of you want to do something, while another part does not?

At the end of the story Frog says that they have lots and lots of will power because they want to eat more cookies but cannot because they have given them all away.

  • Does something have to be tempting you in order for you to have will power?
  • Do you have will power even when you are not using it?

RULE NUMBER 6

Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him:  “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?”

“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damned seriously.’” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any.”

Source | Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander,  The Art of Possibility 

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Humour, laughter and lightheartedness can bring us back down to earth and back to reality. Humour has the power to  put our life and situations in proper perspective. When we let go and lighten up, we can free the demanding, critical, and controlling parts of ourselves and open up to a world of “what’s possible.”
  • As often as possible lighten up and get out of your own way. Step back from your intensity and your compulsive need to be right. Smile and breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Daily try to approach the unfolding day’s events and happenings from a position of what’s possible rather than what can’t be done.