In The Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo relates the story of a Hindu master and his young apprentice. Weary of the novice’s complaints, the master sends him to purchase salt.
Upon the apprentice’s return, he is told to put a handful of salt into a glass of water and drink. “`Bitter’” is how the apprentice describes the water. The master smiles.
They walk to a lake. The apprentice is told to throw a handful of salt into the lake and then drink from it. “`Fresh’” is the apprentice’s appraisal of the water’s taste.
“`The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain… remains…exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.’”
The salt of my last few days—staggering car repair costs, injured feline, lupus lurking, increasingly arthritic canine, a mere 320 words whittled from Chapter 1, no regular blog post, no Leashed post for secondchancefarms.org—disheartens, discourages, what ifs abound, fear surrounds.
Five-and-a-half pound feline EmmaRose snuggles the Internet modem box, her laceration and antibiotic injection not even a memory. Beagle mix Cooper James yips as he runs through his dreams; when he awakens, he’s just as happy.
“`So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is…enlarge your sense of things….Stop being a glass. Become a lake.’”
- Drafted a new plot point for my novel; wrote through its context and purpose.
- Anchored structure of novel; opening scene revision close.
- Incorporated ROW 80 goals into my meditation work with Nepo and Dyer.
- Became a lake.
Attribution: Hindu story and excerpts from Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, Conari Press, York Beach, ME 2000.