Today is Tuesday, August 13, 2013.
This story was shared by someone on Facebook, but of course I forgot to write down who shared it. I doubt that it was his or her own story, though. It's almost impossible these days to tell who actually wrote a given quote or story.
In any event, the story goes like this:
An old spiritual master had one student who had a bad habit of complaining all the time. The master got tired of the complaining, so one morning, he sent his student to get a bag of salt.
When the student returned, the master directed him to put a handful of salt in a glass of water, then drink the water. The student did as he was told.
"How does the water taste?" asked the master.
"Very salty," replied the student.
The master then asked the student to take another handful of the salt and accompany him to a nearby lake. The master told the student to throw the salt into the lake then drink from the lake.
"How does this water taste?" asked the master.
"It tastes fresh," replied the student.
"Do you taste the salt?"
"No," said the young man.
The master and student found a place to sit on the beach. It was time for the lesson.
"The pain of life is pure salt. No more, no less. The amount of pain in our lives remains the same, but the amount we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. When you are in pain, the only thing you can do is enlarge your sense of things. Stop being the glass. Become a lake."
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It's true that when we are stressed, worried, angry, jealous, fearful, or in physical pain, if we focus on it, then it tends to become our world. This happens to a lot of people who are very ill in the hospital, for example, or when people are grieving the loss of someone. Their whole world is the pain or emotional suffering that they are feeling, and everything in life is filtered through their pain.
When we enlarge our world by focusing outward, on other people, our pain seems to subside. When we fill our lives with people and activities, we give ourselves less and less time to focus on our misery, and we find that the pain is only one of many things in our lives, rather than our whole world.
If we enlarge our sense of life even further, we realize that there is more to this life than what is physically present. There is so much going on in the Inner Worlds, only some of which we are aware of while we occupy these physical bodies.
Finally, if we enlarge our view to include multiple lives here on earth, we realize that what we are experiencing is a drop in the bucket, compared with all of the things we have experienced in our many past lives, plus all the time spent between lives in Heaven. This lifetime is only a tiny portion of our entire existence as an individual Soul. When we look at our pain and misery this way, we realize that we have probably faced many experiences that are much worse than the one we are facing now, whether we remember the details or not. We're here now, so we must have managed to get through our difficulties, somehow. We are much stronger and more resilient than we think.
Next step: Become an ocean. :-)