I happen to love parables or Zen Stories for the simple, but often profound truths they convey. So this week when I was at a loss for a topic to write about, I pulled out my folder of “stories” and found one that reminded me of something I felt worthy to share.
A young woman, depressed and unhappy with her life, decided to visit a Zen Monastery to seek help. Rather than ask her for details, the head master immediately sent her to get some salt. When she returned, the wise man instructed her to mix a couple of tablespoons of the salt in a glass of water and then take a drink.
“How does it taste?” the sage asked.
“Bitter,” spate out the young woman.
The master chuckled before then asking the woman to take her salt and follow him to a nearby lake. Once there, the young woman was told put the same amount of salt in the lake water as she did in the glass, and then swirl it around. Next he said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young woman’s chin, the master asked, “So, how does it taste?”
“Refreshing,” said the woman with a slight smile.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the sage.
“Not at all,” answered the young woman.
At this the master sat beside this curious young woman, and explained softly: “The pain and sadness of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So if you are sad or in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of yourself. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”