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The Stream and the Rock - a Taoist tale ... of errors

March 2, 2018

 

In a most ancient land, at a time so long ago that even Man has forgotten, there is a wonderful valley, filled with life, teeming with joyful playfulness, radiant in its beauty and the sheer joy of embracing the living day.

 

And meandering through this valley we find a little stream and his best friend, the rock.

Every morning as the first rays of the early sun rise upon the horizon, the little stream rushes forward, bubbling and tickling the rock  “Wake up, wake up... it’s a new day ! Look what I can do ...” and giggling with friendship, splashes the rock all over... “Wake up, wake up ... I’ve brought you little fishes to play with ... See their bright colors  ... how pretty there are ... and how they shelter in your shadow ... Wake up, wake up ... It’s a bright new day, filled with great opportunities !”

 

And so the two unlikely friends spent many years together ... just enjoying each other - different, yes ... but still appreciative of the other.

 

... Until one day this ‘Wise Man’, attracted by this daily noisy encounter, stood by and just watched ... and watched ... and watched ... finally saying “The stream will win, and the rock will lose, wasting away by the irrefutable power of water”

 

“Crazy old man” the rock whispered “We’ve been friends from the very beginning ... Who is he to say what is to come” ... and the bubbling stream and the steady rock laughed together ...

 

Every day this ‘Wise’ Man came, and every day he made the same statement ... and as the years passed and he grew old, he brought ‘students’ along so his ‘wisdom’ would not be lost ... and still the rock and the stream laughed and laughed and laughed ...

 

And as the Man passed away and even the students grew old, and the same statements were repeated, again and again and again... something stared to change ... they began to question, to wonder “What if these Wise Men are right ... what if this friendship is just a sham, a foolish game, with no true purpose ...?

 

The weather grew hotter, the winds stronger, the storms, once pleasant interludes, now lashed with fury at this land ... as if to punish it for deeds unknown [or maybe for its careless ignorance]

 

The stream, no longer a playful, bubbling creek, now became a torrent of mud and sticks, crashing against the rock with increased fury ... angry, blind with rage, seeing only a perceived antagonist who dares stand in his way ...

And so he bashes away at his forgotten friend, wearing down his hard shell, decreasing his once mighty strength ... until all that is left are poor, broken pebbles ... scattered pieces of a long lost friendship.

 

...Finally the storms abide, the waters slowly recede, the sun, tentatively, emerges to look down at the catastrophe created by such dark emotional outbursts ...

There is no more stream, no more rock, no more little fishes, no plants, no beauty, no joy, no laughter ... all that’s left is mud ... and the stink of destruction ...

 

“Oh foolish stream, foolish rock ... Did you truly think that just because a ‘Man’ styles himself as ‘wise’ that he is truly so ...?! You that once had a precious, joyful friendship, how much did you trust each other ...how easily were you swayed ... and did you not consider the reasons and purpose behind such ‘wise statements’  ... You sold your life, your wellbeing, your joy ... and for what ? someone else’s opinion ! ... foolish, foolish, foolish ...Do you know not the value of friendship, the joy of laughter, the richness of life ... and why did you never once turn against these very pretentious men, so full of their own importance that they could not the preciousness in front of them ?! ...

How long will it take to rebuild that which once was so pure, so clean, so spontaneous ...  ”   

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