Once upon a time a man went to a sufi saint and asked him why his life was so bitter and unhappy. He wanted to know why it felt like all the sadness of the world had descended upon him. Disconsolate, he had come all this way looking for answers. The saint thought for a minute, then he took a glass, filled it with water and then took a fistful of salt and mixed it in. He gave the glass to our sad-friend and said 'drink', and he did except he could barely swallow more than one mouthful of the bitter, pungent stuff. The saint took the glass back, and walked a short way towards a pond. Once again, he picked up a fist-full of salt, but this time he threw it into the pond. He filled a glass of water from the pond, and gave it to the man and said again 'drink'. This time, he drank the whole glass. The saint asked him, did you taste the salt? He said no. This, the saint said, is what happens when sadness comes into our lives. Life can either be a narrow glass and we can keep taking small bitter sips, or we can expand the scope of our life to become a pond where sadness dissolves and no longer tastes quite so pungent. Ultimately, the choice is ours.
October 25, 2010
I was writing an email, and I wrote down another one of the stories my grandfather told us. I think it would be a shame if I didn't share it with you also. So here goes: