Zen reflection for the day

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A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him. “Master, I wish to become your disciple,” said the man. “Why?” replied the hermit. The young man thought for a moment. “Because I want to find God.” 

The master jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, the master finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath. When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. “Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water.”

“Air!” answered the man.

“Very well,” said the master. “Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air.”

This story struck me as being about the power of commitment.  Commitment is a catch 22.  It is easy to talk about wanting.  “I want to know how it will be before I commit.  I want to be certain.”  Only once you commit can you feel certain because, psychologically, there is no turning back.  At some point, you just need to take the plunge.

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One Response to “Zen reflection for the day”

  1. robertkatz Says:

    Fantastic story, John. I see some generational trends in your thoughts as well. We are the products of meticulously planned childhoods, where certainty was key to decision making. Think “helicopter parents.” That, combined with the power of the Internet and Google, have made finding certainty easy, in many cases. Which makes it even more difficult to commit, blind, as you are doing now. Thanks…

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