“An old zen 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 glass 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 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?”
“Much fresher,” 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 glass. Become a lake.”
I read this a few weeks ago and it stayed with me and so I thought I would share it with you. For me, this is the reason I practice yoga. Yoga expands my presence, it’s the way inside so that I can stay awake. Otherwise, I am the apprentice, only drinking from my salty cup, thinking the world a bitter place.
I will always recommend yoga (remember the physical practice is just one of the eight limbs of yoga so there is a lot of yoga out there to study) but if yoga doesn’t call out to you, then find something…a cooking class, dance lessons, learning a new language, saying yes to something that you’re afraid of…anything that can keep you anchored to the present moment and expand it. I find that the more conscious I am, the more the world isn’t defined by the past or the future, the more I can be the lake.