Become the Lake

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his bestselling book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty shares the following story about the importance of perspective.

“What brings you to me?” asked an old, wise woman of the young man who stood before her.

“I see joy and beauty around me, but from a distance,” the young man said. “My own life is full of pain.

The wise woman was silent. She poured a cup of water for the sad young man and handed it to him. Then she held out a bowl of salt.

“Put some in the water,” she said.

The young man hesitated, then took a small pinch of salt.

“More. A handful,” the old man said.

Looking skeptical, the young man put a scoop of salt in his cup. The old woman gestured with her head, instructing the young man to drink. He took a sip of water, made a face, and spat it on the dirt floor.

“How was it?” the old woman asked.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” said the young man rather glumly.

The old woman smiled knowingly, then handed the young man the bowl of salt and led him to a nearby lake. The water was clear and cold. “Now put a handful of salt in the lake,” she said.

The young man did as he was instructed, and the salt dissolved into the water. “Have a drink,” the old woman said.

The young man knelt at the water’s edge and slurped from his hands.

When he looked up, the old woman again asked, “How was it?”

“Refreshing,” said the young man.

“Could you taste the salt?” asked the old woman.

The young man smiled sheepishly. “Not at all,” he said.

The old woman knelt next to the man, helped herself to some water and said, “The salt is the pain of life. It is constant, but if you put it in a small glass, it tastes bitter. If you put it in a lake, you can’t taste it. Expand your senses, expand your world, and the pain will diminish. Don’t be the glass. Become the lake.”

Source: Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, p. 218

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