A Wisdom Story

An aging spiritual master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent the young man to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it. "How does it taste?" the master asked. "Bitter," said 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?” “Fine. 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, and explained softly, “The pain 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." The master continued, "So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to dilute discomfort, enlarge your sense of this life. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

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