Ah Winter, not my favourite time of year, but the best excuse for curling up with a hot chocolate (if you haven’t tried using Hazelnut milk, what are you doing!!) and a good book. Maybe it’s from teaching more yin and restorative Yoga the past few months, but this year, I have been drawn to short stories and parables.
I’ve always found that a story can teach so much more than a complex discourse or a long lecture. So much wisdom can be found in these fables which is why from the beginning of time, stories has been used to help explain, guide and enlighten its’ listeners.
And so, I’ve decided that going forward I would like to share with you my favourite stories, some short, some long, some easy, others complex, but all deeply profound. Regardless of your spiritual inclination you will find something to take away with each story and find that their messages linger long after you read them.
The Stone Cutter
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.
One day he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant. To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined.
Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!” Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around.
It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!” Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers.
But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!” Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone.
But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!” Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him.
But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it ““ a huge, towering rock. “How powerful that rock is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a rock!” Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth.
But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the rock?” he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.
This is the most wonderful illustration for the concept of The Grass is Always Greener that I have ever found. And I’m sure it’s something that we can all relate to. I know it definitely comes up for me a LOT. How often have you looked at someone else and wished you were them, or seen from social media someone’s holiday and wished you were there.
Whatever your life circumstances, there will always be someone who desperately wishes that they could have YOUR life.
Happiness is relative. Happiness is something we choose every moment. By practicing gratitude for what we do have, our health, home, relations, as well as the things we take for granted like running water, the smell from the bakery, a smile from a child. Gratitude helps us to appreciate what we have when we have it. The practice encourages us to be present instead of living in the past, the future or through a screen.
What are you favourites stories? Please share in the comments below!
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