Here’s a beautiful story that I would like to share with you that really made me think deeply about living and balancing life during yoga this week. While we lay in shavasana (corpse pose), my yoga instructor ended our class with this meaningful Zen story entitled, The Tea Warrior. This story is taken from here: http://www.buddhagroove.com/readings/listings/zen-story-the-tea-warrior
*I have italicized the words taken directly from the above link.
Story: On a mountain lived a famous tea master. His skill in this art was unsurpassed, and many came from faraway to sit at his tea house.
One day an impatient samurai burned his tongue on the master’s green tea. Enraged, he challenged the master to a duel.
As the warrior drew his sword, the master turned to his young apprentice. “I have done nothing but make tea my whole life. This duel is surely my end. The tea house is yours, my student.”
The student cried out. “No master, take my sword. Face this warrior and raise your weapon in the same way you raise the teapot!”
The master walked slowly into the courtyard, and the samurai rushed to attack. Then, the master closed his eyes and raised his weapon steadily towards heaven, with the same grace and strength he would command in the solemnest of tea rituals.
At this display of balance, the samurai panicked and thought, “This old man must be a master swordsman!”
The samurai fled the tea house, never to return.
Food for thought: This Zen story shows how true mastery of one skill is far better than trying to learn multiple skills to appear more formidable. In our world we are constantly pressured to multitask and be able to adapt to any situation, but what really makes us effective in work and play alike is to find what we are really good at, and devote as much energy as possible towards developing ourselves in those areas.
The lesson? Simplify. Remove all obstacles. Do only what you enjoy doing, and trust in your unique skill set to get you through any situation in daily life.
My own reflection: The year is coming to an end, and over the course of this year, I have discovered even more about myself such as what truly makes me who I am and what I find real pleasure and enjoyment in, and what I am really good at. Life has been quite hectic and fast paced this year, and if I ask myself why, it’s because even though I have promised myself to cut down from the “pace” I’ve been going from a few years ago, I’m still multitasking as it’s demanded in my workplace, social life and the society I live in. I realize this multitasking mindset needs to be slowly teared down, and to tell myself this: “Hey, it’s ok to slow down and just focus on one thing at a time to the best of my ability or on myself, then move onto the next task, because things will get done eventually anyways.”
This insightful story and lesson from yoga class has reminded me that we need to be true to ourselves and turn inwardly to think about what makes us really happy. For example:
Is it working and multitasking like a robot from 9-5, as demanded by societal norms?
Is it finding something we truly love and enjoy, and turning that into a lifelong passion/career, even if it’s considered impractical or foolish by the majority of people around you?
These are just some things I’ve been contemplating lately, and with the story from my yoga class, I’m inspired to turn my thoughts into actions, and find my ultimate happiness. I know it will definitely take a lot of courage to step forward to simplify life, something that is considered outside of the “norm”, but I’m prepared to slowly work towards my passion and dreams, to find my real “joie de vivre”. As Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I’m ready to take that single first step towards my own “simplified” journey, to be my true self and dance to the beat of my own drum, and live and love life the way I want it to be!
I challenge you to look deeply, and think: What do you truly love and are you ready to simplify your life and live life to the fullest every day at your own drum beat, and not by others? 🙂
Wishing you a beautiful week ahead!