Everything in your life begins with you sowing seeds.
Which seeds do you want to sow?
When we come into this life we are given seeds. This is the seed of kindness and the seed of anger. Love, understanding, doubt and confusion are all seeds that we have been given. Depending on which seeds we sow in the earth of this life, will be those trees we see in our garden. Some have beautiful flowers and others have a sticky, unpleasant sap. They all start out as little seeds, but as they sprout and grow they manifest their particular characteristics. Some we like, others we don’t.
It is up to you which seeds you plant and nurture in your life.
The archer and the oil salesman
In times gone by, some people used to make their living going from one village to another, earning a meagre amount from trading or performing for the public.
One such person was an archer. From a young age he had practised archery and had become good at it. He would travel and perform at fairs or for groups of villagers for whom any kind of entertainment was a welcome diversion.
The archer would set up a small target and then proceed to exhibit his mastery with the bow and arrow, splitting the arrows already embedded in the centre of the target. The villagers found all his displays entertaining.
The gathered people would applaud and encourage him to perform more of his seemingly impossible feats.
This went on, month after month, year after year. Not only did the archer earn quite a reputation for being a capable marksmen, but he also began to develop an inflated opinion of himself.
Then one day, while exhibiting his skills at a local fair, something unexpected happened.
A huge crowd had gathered to watch the archer showing off his skills. The crowd applauded and cheered him. But as the applause faded, he heard a faint voice from the back of the crowd saying, ‘Ah, it’s only a matter of practice.’
‘Some fool making comments,’ he thought to himself as he refocused for another shot, which was followed by cheers and applause, and then by the same irritating comment, ‘Ah, it’s only a matter of practice.’
Again he refocused and continued to impress his audience.
However, thoroughly agitated, he ended his show early and went looking for the man who had been making these infuriating comments.
At the back of the crowd he noticed an oil salesman sitting next to his two barrels of oil and a bunch of empty bottles.
‘Hey you, are you the one who keeps saying it’s just a matter of practice?’ the archer demanded.
‘Yes, that was me,’ answered the salesman.
‘What do you mean it’s only a matter of practice? Don’t you know I am the best? There is no one better than me. There is no one else with the same skills as me.’
‘Don’t be angry,’ said the salesman. ‘Because you practiced you have become good. If you hadn’t practiced you would not be as good.’
‘If it is only a matter of practice then anyone could do this. But it is me who has these abilities,’ the archer countered.
‘Let me show you something,’ the humble salesman said, as he pulled out a coin from his pocket. It was a coin with a hole in the centre. He put the coin on top of an empty bottle, picked up the bulky barrel of oil and began to pour it through the hole in the coin, straight into the bottle without spilling a drop.
He turned to the archer and said, ‘Now you try this.’
The archer then realized that it indeed was a matter of practice, for there was no hope of him being able to do likewise. He looked at the salesman with an apologetic expression.
‘Dear archer,’ the salesman said. ‘You practice archery every day and you are good at it. I practice pouring oil every day and I am good at that. It truly is a matter of practice.’
Some people spend a lot of their time feeling irritable. Arguing with their family makes them irritable, being told off by their boss – all kinds of things make them irritable.
The problem is that if you practise being irritable every day you will become an expert at it. Whatever you do every day, you will get good at it.
If you practice understanding, you will become good at understanding, just as if you practice anger, then that becomes the skill you are honing.
If we spend our time acting unconsciously, then it becomes second nature.
What do you want to become good at in your life?
When the desert blooms
The desert is a forbidding place. It’s dry and dusty, the landscape barren and colorless. The wind blows and dries out the sand and the soil. The relentless sun strips away what little moisture is left, baking the ground hard. In places, you would think nothing could survive, and there are no signs of life.
However, just below the surface are countless seeds waiting for a chance to grow. Waiting for the rain. Sometimes 10 years can pass without a drop. No sign of rain to come, no guarantee that it will ever arrive.
In such circumstances, it can’t be easy to keep hope alive and wait patiently, but those seeds never give up hope.
They don’t say, ‘I thought the rain was going to come next week.’
They wait for their chance in a constant state of readiness.
We also have seeds patiently waiting for a chance to flourish. The seed of fulfillment, waiting for the rain of clarity. Waiting for you to make the decision to be fulfilled. If you can make that choice and start to act on it, then within you those dormant seeds will bring forth their splendor.
There is a sickness eating away at humanity. Once you get this sickness, it is difficult to cure. It is the disease of unconsciousness, of living this life unconsciously. All around the world, I say to people, ‘freedom is inside of you.’ I also speak about this freedom in prisons, to people we consider to be the least free.
What is freedom? If you want to feel that freedom, then you have to cure the disease of unconsciousness. There is a cure, and it is understanding the value of your existence, knowing its preciousness. Then, no matter where you are, you can feel the real freedom that exists inside of you.
As strong as water
A river flows freely. It doesn’t ask anyone where it should flow, but finds the course that suits it best. In that course it may come across a rock. The rock says to the water, ‘I will not move. You go around me.’ With humility the water replies, ‘OK, I will change my course.’ The rock thinks it has won, but the rock doesn’t know water’s true strength.
The water has persistence. Little by little the water carves away the rock. In time the rock has moved and the water is flowing in its place.
The canyons give testimony to the strength of the water. With great humility the water does not give up. It keeps flowing and slowly wears down the rock. In the end it is the solid rock that yields to the gentle supple water.
That water turns the stubborn rock into sand and washes it away.
Find the dream that is the most important to you. That dream isn’t to climb on top of the world’s highest mountain. That dream is to be fulfilled.
The heart overflowing with gratitude brings an incredible feeling of happiness.
When you understand and accept what is precious, it makes you feel good.
When you are not going back and forth between yesterday and tomorrow, and become firmly rooted in the moment called now, you feel good.
When your foundation is not built on theories or formulas or beliefs, but on the solid ground of knowing the inner self, you feel good.
When you know the greatest friend is always with you, inside you, that feels very good.
The most important thing in your life is to really feel good from inside.
Feel this life, be grateful and let your heart be full of joy. Then you will truly begin to live.