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Grateful? For What?

By Karen Wright

According to legend, while roaming in the desert a young man came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water. The water was so sweet he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher. After a four-day journey he presented the water to the old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water. The young man returned to his village with a happy heart.

Afterward, the teacher let another student taste the water. He spat it out, saying it was awful. It apparently had become stale because of the old leather container. The student challenged his teacher: "Master, the water was foul. Why did you pretend to like it?"

The teacher replied, "You only tasted the water. I tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness and nothing could be sweeter."

The meaning of this story goes well beyond the clich , "It's the thought that counts." It represents an awareness that goodness, even happiness, is a choice available to us in every moment. Even in hard times; even faced with that which we would never wish for ourselves, we have the capacity to experience the sweetness lying beneath the bitter. The capacity is unquestionable... the real question is, "Do you exercise that capacity?"

We're sensory creatures and it's way too easy to get caught up in the physical-ness of this world. To keep our attention riveted to our surroundings and forget that all that means nothing. Situations, circumstances, and stuff have no intrinsic meaning only that which we give them. Why we ignore, avoid, forget this incredible power is a question beyond my understanding. Every person I know is proud to tell you how much of a control freak they are, but when it comes to the ultimate control of determining how we experience life, we seemingly forfeit all responsibility.

When you look out at your life what do you see? Do the hardships and sacrifices dominate your thoughts? Does the violence and madness the media pumps into your home each day demoralize you? Or do you still see all that and know that life is still the greatest game in town? Can you perceive challenge as an elevator, not an obstacle?

There are millions of good people in the world who are doing remarkable things. There are beautiful sights and lovely sounds and delicious smells. There are warm hugs and caring hands. There are joyful smiles and children's giggles.

Focusing upon only that which you believe is wrong blinds you to all that is right. Are there hardships to overcome? Sure, but you don't overcome difficulties by giving them the power to depress you. Look them head-on and know that you are stronger than they CAN ever be. You always have been; you always will be.

This is a glorious world and we live in a spectacular time. The truth you feel inside will become the reality you see outside. I know this all sounds very Pollyanna-ish. Especially if you've forgotten who you really are. If you've given your circumstances sway over your soul. But, this is the test we all must face. Will we grow or will we wither? It's always our choice - no one else's. It's why we're here. It's why we face what we do. To remember who we really are. Masters.

Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.
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