As we come towards our February day of Silence, we are aware of the ever widening range of challenges facing our global community ~ for some these may be extreme in terms of outer circumstances, for others it may come as internal anxiety or frustration with family, friends or our own thoughts and feelings.
A Hindu parable seemed relevant to share as we each find our own way of navigating the various challenges and opportunities that come our way each day. It goes as follows:
An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. "How does it taste?" the master asked.
"Bitter" spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."
As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?" "Fresh," remarked the apprentice. "Do you taste the salt?" asked the master. "No," said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.
So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things .... stop being a glass.
Become a lake.
--Mark Nepo (a Hindu parable)
May you find your own way of ‘enlarging your sense of things’ ~ be it silence, three deep breaths, counting to 10, or any number of the thousand paths that lead us to experience the deeper wholeness that moves behind all things.