I share the following story with you that has been an inspiration to me during challenging times:
An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, he sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a cup of water and then to drink it.
"How does it taste?" the master asked.
"Bitter," spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take another 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?"
"Refreshing," remarked the apprentice.
"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
"No," said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside the young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt, no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a cup. Become a lake.”
Ven. Myohye Do'an
A blog by the Lotus Heart Zen Meditation and Study Group members