Thursday, August 7, 2008
He had the Attitude!
This is a great Sufi parable:
A king wanted to appoint a prime minister. Four great thinkers of the country were called. They were put into a room and told that the door was going to be locked and that the lock was not an ordinary lock, but a mathematical puzzle. "Unless you solve the puzzle, you will not be able to open the door. If you solve the puzzle, you will be able to open the lock and come out."
The king went out and closed the door. Three of the four thinkers got down to work, immediately. They had brought paper and some guide books, and they started working really seriously. There were a few numbers written on the lock. They observed the numbers and noted them down. Then, they started working out the problem.
The fourth thinker simply sat in a corner. The three others thought he was mad. "What is he doing?" He was sitting there with his eyes shut. After a few minutes, he stood up, went to the door, pushed the door and it opened! And he went out...
The other scholars were still busy scratching their heads to solve the problem. They didn't even realize what had just happened. They were too preoccupied to see that the fourth person was already out.
Finally, the king came in with the fourth man. Addressing the three thinkers, he said, "Stop! The examination is over. I have chosen my prime minister. This is the man." They were jolted out of their stupor. They couldn't believe their eyes. They said, "How could this happen? He wasn't doing anything. He just sat in the corner. How could he solve it?"
And the man replied calmly, "There was no problem. I sat there, and the first thing, the basic thing, was to know whether the door was locked or not. I simply meditated silently. I just gathered my consciousness together. I became completely quiet and pondered over where to begin. The first thing an intelligent person always asks is whether there is really a problem or not. If there is a problem, it can be solved; if there is no problem there's nothing to be solved! And if you start solving, you will go into infinite regress. So I went just to check whether the door was really closed, and found that it wasn't."
The king said: "Yes, that was the trick. There was no lock at all. The door was left open. I was waiting for the man who would ask the first real question. You accepted the puzzle and you started solving it; that was where you missed the point. You could not have solved it even if you had worked on it for your entire life. This man knows how to be aware in a situation. He asked the right first question."
Moral of the story:
A lot of life's little troubles that bother you can be resolved by a change in your attitude.