Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Let the dirt settle

Buddha is moving on the road and it is noon. It is very hot. He feels thirsty and tells his disciple, Ananda, “Please go back, we crossed a small stream just two-three miles back, from there bring some water for me.” And Buddha rested under the tree.

Ananda went to the stream. But just when he reached near it, a few bullock carts passed the stream, and since the stream was very small, now it became dirty. All the dirt that was settled underneath had surfaced, including the old dry leaves. The water was no more drinkable.

Ananda tried the same as you would try – he entered the stream and tried to settle things so that water can become clean again. But the poor disciple only dirtied it more. Disappointed, he came back and requested to Buddha “the water is not drinkable, but I know a certain river ahead, I will go and fetch water from there."

But Buddha insisted “Why did you come back? No, I want the water from that stream only”. When Buddha insists, how could Ananda deny? So reluctantly, he went again. But his hesitation changed to joy as he realized something looking at the water again - by the time he reached half of the dirt had settled again without anybody trying to settle it, it had settled on its own accord. He understood the point this time!

Then he sat under the tree and watched the stream flow to let the other half of dirt get settled. He waited, he watched, and soon the water was clear, the dead leaves had gone back to the bottom and the dirt was all gone as well. Fetching the clear water for his master, Ananda came joyfully running and fell at Buddha’s feet to say, "Oh Lord, that’s the mistake I had been doing my mind my whole life! But now I will just sit under a tree and let the stream of mind pass by, let it settle by itself. Now I will not jump in the stream and try to force order upon things”.

This is not to say that order isn't necessary. It is. But many a times, we waste our precious moments and sacrifice happiness to chase things which time is going to settle on its own anyways. A broken heart takes time to heal. Peace of mind doesn't come in an instant. Understanding your spouse takes time too. Don't always jump to settle the mud on your own - give time a chance to do its job as you just wait and watch with hope that, sooner or later, the dirt is going to get settled on its own.