Is today too salty?

As I sit here, procrastinating the preparations required for the coming week, I think about a story I recently heard. It goes like this:

An old Hindu master had become tired of his apprentice complaining. So one day, he had the apprentice bring him some salt. The master instructed the apprentice to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

Satisfied, the master asked the young man to take a handful of salt and and stir it into the lake. As they strolled in silence near the lake, the apprentice did as instructed. 

“Now drink from the lake,” the master said.

After the apprentice had taken a drink from the lake, the master asked, “How does it taste?”.

“Fresh,” stated the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man.

With this reply, the master sat beside his young apprentice and offered the following insight, “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.”

I think about this now as I gear up for another week of the trials and tribulations of a working parent, pondering the state of our divided country, and trying to be something other than burned out and disgusted.

Tomorrow, I’ll get mystical and consider our collective situations in the context of infinite time and space rather than another week of school pick up and drop off and office and government politics.

Right now, things are very salty. But in the grand scheme of things, what does “right now” even account for in the continuum? It is merely a blip. In time, the kids will become more independent, things will level out at work, and our country will preserver.

And so, tomorrow, I will be a lake.


One thought on “Is today too salty?

  • Wow. That was one of those parables where the message truly (and suddenly) hit home. Looking at most of my problems, it’s clear that the vast majority of them stem from my own very myopic perspective. Thank you for sharing it!

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