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?
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THE LIGHTHOUSE AND THE SHIP

A battle ship was on exercise at sea in bad weather. The captain was on the bridge. It was foggy. Just after dark the look out spotted a light on the starboard side. The captain asked if it was steady or moving. The look out replied the light was steady meaning they were on direct collision course with that ship! The captain ordered the lookout signal to the other ship:

“Change course 20 degrees. We are on collision course.”

The signal came back ‘”Advisable for you to change course.”

The captain signalled ‘”I am a captain. Change course 20 degrees.”

“I am a seaman second class. You had better change course 20 degrees” came the reply.

The captain was furious. He sent back ‘”I am a battleship. Change course!”

Back came the signal, “I am a lighthouse. Your call.”

Source | a variety of sources
See also Lighthouse and naval vessel urban legend

PONDER AND CONSIDER

Our limited perception of our reality can limit and endanger us. What we do to open our mind to the world of others?

DEW DROP

As the sun rose, a dew drop became aware of its surroundings. There it sat on a leaf, catching the sunlight and throwing it back out. Proud of its simple beauty, it was very content. Around it were other dew drops, some on the same leaf and some on other leaves round about. The dew drop was sure that it was the best, the most special dew drop of them all.

Ah, it was good to be a dew drop.

The wind rose and the plant began to shake, tipping the leaf. Terror gripped the dew drop as gravity pulled it towards the edge of the leaf, towards the unknown. Why? Why was this happening? Things were comfortable. Things were safe. Why did they have to change? Why? Why?

The dew drop reached the edge of the leaf. It was terrified, certain that it would be smashed into a thousand pieces below, sure that this was the end. The day had only just begun and the end had come so quickly. It seemed so unfair. It seemed so meaningless. It tried desperately to do whatever it could to cling to the leaf, but it was no use.

Finally, it let go, surrendering to the pull of gravity. Down, down it fell. Below there seemed to be a mirror. A reflection of itself seemed to be coming up to meet the dew drop. Closer and closer they came together until finally …

And then the fear transformed into deep joy as the tiny dew drop merged with the vastness that was the pond. Now the dew drop was no more, but it was not destroyed.

It had become one with the whole.

Source | Peter Hughes

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • What would happen if you stop clinging to your little story and allow yourself to be embraced by the larger story of which we are all a part?
  • Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf. | Rabindranath Tagore

DESERT OR BEACH?

Did you hear about the guy from Brooklyn who was in the Sahara Desert in swimming trunks, for heaven’s sake, and a towel?  Walking in the Sahara Desert, he meets an Arab, and he says, “Hi.”  And the Arab says, “Hi.”  He asks, “How far away from here is the sea?”

“The sea? For heaven’s sake,” says the Arab, “that’s a thousand miles away from here.”  And the guy from Brooklyn says, “Boy, some beach you guys have out here!”

Source | Anthony de Mello, Rediscovering Life, page 102

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • A beach? Now is this optimism and a positive outlook on reality or radical ignorance verging on stupidity?
  • What is the difference between a sandy beach and a desert?

THE DUCKLING

The Sufi saint Shams of Tabriz tells the following story about himself:

I have been considered a misfit since my childhood. No one seemed to understand me. My own father once said to me, “You are not mad enough to be put in a madhouse, and not withdrawn enough to be put in a monastery. I don’t know what to do with you.”

I replied, “A duck’s egg was once put under a hen. When the egg hatched the duckling walked about with the mother hen until they came to a pond. The duckling went straight into the water. The hen stayed clucking anxiously on land. Now, dear father, I have walked into the ocean and find in it my home. You can hardly blame me if you choose to stay on the shore.”

Anthony De Mello, SJ | Song of the Bird

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • Are you living up to your original vocation, your deepest call, that is?
  • Are you living up to your potential or perhaps leading a mediocre, non-committed kind of life?
  • Are you satisfied with simply staying on the shore or bold enough to risk entering the waters?