Tuesday, February 1, 2005

A samurai, a very proud warrior, came to see a Zen Master one day. The samurai was very famous, but looking at the beauty of the Master and the grace of the moment, he suddenly felt inferior.

He said to the Master, "Why am I feeling inferior? Just a moment ago everything was okay. As I entered your court suddenly I felt inferior. I have never felt like that before. I have faced death many times, and I have never felt any fear -- why am I now feeling frightened?"

The Master said, "Wait. When everyone else has gone, I will answer. "

People continued the whole day to come and see the Master, and the samurai was getting more and more tired waiting. By evening the room was empty, and the samurai said, "Now, can you answer me?"

The Master said, "Come outside."

It was a full moon night, the moon was just rising on the horizen. And he said, "Look at these trees. This tree is high in the sky and this small one beside it. They both have existed beside my window for years, and there has never been any problem. The smaller tree has never said to the big tree, 'Why do I feel inferior before you?' This tree is small, and that tree is big -- why have I never heard a whisper of it?"

The samurai said, "Because they can't compare."

The Master replied, "Then you need not ask me. You know the answer."


Probably the best way to end our Morning Walk today is to refer you to a line in a very famous reflection entitled Desiderata. Within the text, there is a line that states:

"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself..."

The one element we all share in common is our uniqueness. And uniqueness has its benefits and its responsibilities. One of the greatest benefits, obviously, is that you will never have the luxury of comparing yourself as a whole with another human. With that benefit comes the great responsibility of never falling into the trap of dissecting yourself into portions and comparing portions with others. "He's a better runner than I am. She's a better conversationalist..." As the reflection states, "...if you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter..." And often times, we humans tend to focus only on the bitter in our comparisons.

Go easy on yourself. You have great power and responsibility in your uniqueness, so love it, live it and leave it to the Creator to do all the comparing.


Post Note: If you are interested in reading the entire text of Desiderata, feel free to go to Reflections to Soothe the Spirit and Ignite the Mind. Under the Powerpoint presentations is the presentation entitled Desiderata.

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