Everyone is writing and posting about the Year of the Horse – the Wood Horse. I am too, and I’m going to put a long essay at the end of this post all about what to expect this year.
What I personally want to write about is the habits we have that might get in the way of our thoroughly taking full advantage of these opportunities.
There is a story about awareness and the readiness to act that goes like this: A long time ago in a place not too far away from us here, there was a river running fast and cold. In the river were many rocks and it was well known that there was a rock that even in this cold river was hot. It’s heat could change your life for the better if you happened to find it. A young monk heard about this rock. He thought that if he could find the rock he would be able to change all of humanity for the better. He deeply wanted to do this. So he took himself to the river and knelt in its cold waters near where he felt the rock might be. He put his hands into the cold running water and began to feel the rocks as he picked each one up, he would say “cold rock.” He spent many hours in a day and many days. One day he was on his knees, “cold rock, cold rock, cold rock.” as he released them back to the stream. “Cold rock, cold rock, hot rock, cold rock, cold rock,” then he jumped up and cried out, “oh, I felt it, I felt it!” But nothing he could do, no amount of mindfulness or attention could bring the hot rock to his hands again.
This is what there is to be mindful about. We have all dropped the “hot rock” without responding in time. Chances missed are chances missed, it’s what we do after that defines us.
This young monk became clear on his wishes for himself and his dreams for the world. He redoubled his efforts – not at the stream, but in the world around him. He took his fine hands to the task of bettering all he found. His brave heart supported his efforts and his diligence made him into a fine man who many looked to and learned with. He never lost heart and he allowed whatever could happen to be.