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There once was a boy. A spoiled brat of a boy. He didn’t respond to his parent’s discipline. He was every parent’s nightmare. Everyone in the family tried to influence the boy, but he wouldn't listen. Tired of never-ending conflict his parents decided to seek out advice from a well-respected traveling monk passing through their village that day.
Approaching the monk they asked, “We doubt our child can be taught to feel love, compassion, or even respect. What can we do?”
The monk answered clearly, “A true loving state can be reached by everyone. We all have the capacity for love within us. Send your boy to travel with me. When he comes back he will embrace all human beings and all living creatures.”
As exasperated as they were, there was nothing left for the boy’s parents to do but to send him away with the traveling monk.
Days turned into weeks; weeks turned into months. The pair passed many villages and stayed at many monasteries.
4 years pass.
When the boy’s parents greeted him again, they did not recognize him. It was not just that he was taller, but he was calm, respectful, understanding, loving, caring, and he smiled constantly. His parents could not thank the heavens enough for the happy return of their beloved son.
But, there was a change in the boy’s eyes. A sadness. Was he hurt? Did something bad happen to him? They did not inquire right away as he now had copious amounts of love and care to shower them with. But when the moment was right the boy’s parents approached him to ask about his sadness.
“Yes, my dear parents. You are right. Even though I am now blessed with happiness and inner joy, I am also carrying a burden of knowledge of the true nature of things.” The boy said lifting a burlap pouch from his pocket.
He reached in and pulled out a small bit of wood the color of the sunrise. “I found this at dawn on the banks of the Chao Praya as we were passing by. I call it - Morning - because I felt like I woke up that day. I woke up from being my old ignorant self. I carry this piece to remind to me of how to be loving. I thought about how much you loved me even though I behaved poorly. I realized that love was not about giving a favor to another or to get something in return. Now. Now I know what love is. I love for the sake of love. And the fuller my heart gets with love, the less room there is for negativity.”
He reached back into the bag.
“This piece of wood,” he said, “I call Holly. It reminds me of how to be compassionate. I found it on the day my foot got caught by a thorny holly plant. Blood was running down my foot. I was hurting. At that moment I realized, that pain is unavoidable, and everyone feels pain - physical or mental - during their life. I also realized that I myself caused a lot of pain to my siblings and to you.” he said reaching over to show his parents the details in the wood. “I instantly felt embarrassed for what I had done and for who I had been. At that moment I made a decision to be aware of my actions, to be compassionate and not to cause pain on purpose.”
The boy placed the two pieces of wood on the table, for his parents to study, and reached into the bag again. He placed the third fragment between the others. “I call this piece Tiger. It reminds me how to be joyful. I found it on the day a tiger crossed our path. Tremendous amounts of fear and adrenaline rushed through my veins at that moment. I was scared. I was praying like never before, promising that I will do whatever it takes to be a better man. My eyes closed. In the darkness I let my feelings caress me. When I lifted my eyelids the light shone off the tiger in magnificent colors. It turned in the light and walked away. I could sense every detail as if in slow motion. I repurposed the adrenaline from fear into joy. I felt so alive!”
The room was quiet. His parents beckoned him over to sit closer as he reached again for the bag. They wanted to hear every nuance of his story. “The last piece of wood I call Bolly and it reminds me of how not to be indifferent. I found it in the evening on Makha Bucha day festival. The food vendors were setting up their stalls in preparation for a the celebratory feast. Kids and parents, young and old, were gathering together in prayer - as one. It felt like … I am a part of something bigger than myself, something whole yet very personal. At that moment I knew - love knows no distinctions.” he said.
“There are always two sides to anything. When you explore one side, you discover the other. And that is the ugly truth. But that's ok! This is life and I love it for what it is. Now that I know love, kindness, compassion, joy, and community, I also know hatred, jealousy, anger, pain, cruelty, fear, envy, and indifference. I am carrying all these experiences, therefore you see sadness in me. But I am happy and I am content, because I know the truth. And I love you.”
When you realize the existence of all these parts it is hard to ignore them. #OneWorld #GotWood #GrowTogether #LearnFromEachOther #WalkInOthersShoes
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