Sunday, July 30, 2017

The story of the holy man and the scorpion (new)

He who sees that all actions
are performed by nature alone
and thus that the self is not the doer -
that man sees truly.
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)

There was once a holy man who sat at a river bank. A passer-by observed how he lifted a drowning scorpion out of water, but before he could place it safely onto the river bank, the scorpion stung him. In pain, the holy man instinctively dropped the scorpion back into the water only to rescue it again. The passer-by watched that strange occurrence in amazement for a while and then asked the holy man why he always rescues that scorpion if he knows that he will only get stung. The holy man shrugged his shoulders and replied, "It is the nature of the scorpion to sting and it is my nature to save creatures in distress."

I doubt that the insight of the story of the holy man and the scorpion sells a lot of books, yet, the conclusion is likely spot on. We often fool ourselves when we think that we are in charge of our decision making process. In each and every decision we are driven by instincts, genes, perceived looks, scents, our upbringings, our belief-sets, repressed sentiments, and so much more. The brain merely pretends afterwards that it made a conscious choice, when in fact it rationalizes what had to happen anyway. More often than not, a biological robot is in charge. 

What we spiritual travelers can do, however, is to steadily reduce the weight of our karmic bonds, giving us more degrees of freedom in an increasingly growing number of instances. Surround yourself with a mission worth fighting for and with the friends and family you would walk through fire for. Once you are credibly committed to a cause, life takes you by the horns so to speak. The ride will have its ups and downs but the choices along the WAY set you free. Life will encourage you to let go off all that is not you and your degrees of freedom will steadily go up. Anyone walking a spiritual path has access to the choice Viktor Frankl highlights:

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. (Viktor Frankl)

Witness for yourself how you mange to break free from the biological robot, carried forward by love and spiritual insight. It turns out the 'holy' man in the story from above is probably not as enlightened as he thinks. Life can be tough at times, but it is not meaningless. A better end of the story would be that the by-passer coincidently carries a net and together they lift the scorpion out of the waters. Put your heart and your soul into a mission worth fighting for; respond with a loving heart and a trusting mind to the suggestions of your loved ones, and the freedom to choose your destiny will be yours. 

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