This story is from Dance with Life Chapter VIII. The teacher is explaining the nature of thought and understanding so he tells Mira his version of this classic wisdom story. I hope you enjoy…
Once upon a time there was a little drop. The little drop lived on a very big and solid rock right out in the middle of the vast blue ocean.
Little Drop sat on the rock and said: “This is my world.”
Little Drop sat on the rock and said: “This is my nature.”
Little Drop sat on the rock and said: “I am solid. I am just like the rock. I will endure.”
But Little Drop was not rock, and though it searched and searched it could not find a way to make itself feel hard as rock. It could not find a way to stay solid instead of crystal clear. It pushed itself into tiny crevices and waited to see if time would freeze it there. It lay out flat along the surface, hoping that the rock would soak it in. It asked the shellfish to let it sit near them to learn how it could hang there just like them. But nothing worked, and Little Drop grew larger from its tears.
Then the ocean lapped towards the rock, and called to the Little Drop to join it. But Little Drop pulled back and said: “I have no need of you. I am on this solid rock. You are just formless sea. You are not like me!”
Time passed, and Little Drop was not content. Try as it might it could not find a way to make itself become solid like the rock.
And the ocean lapped again.
It said: “Little Drop, can you not see that all the while I chip away at this great rock. It is I who makes the sand. It is I who took the sand and formed it into this giant rock.”
But the Little Drop scoffed: “I do not believe you. You who are so shapeless, how could you shape?”
Time passed and the Little Drop grew anxious. It could feel its strength fading. As it searched for a place in the rock, the sun beat down melting parts of Little Drop away.
And the ocean lapped again.
It said: “Little Drop, come join me now! If you do not, soon the sun will have melted you away, and it will take a long, long time before you become a Little Drop again.”
The Little Drop began to listen. It could see the sun carrying other drops very far away. It could see new drops appear and search for ways to be like the rock. It could see rocks crumbling into dust. The Little Drop grew uncertain. It looked out to the ocean, and wished that it could be as big and powerful as that vast sea.
And the ocean lapped again. And the Little Drop wanted proof that it would feel as solid as the rock if it joined with the ocean. But the ocean shook its head. It said: “Little Drop, I can give you no such proof. I am not of rock, but nor are you, for you are not rock but sea.”
The Little Drop was doubtful. It wondered: How could something as little as me have anything at all to do with that vast sea?
All around the Little Drop more and more of the other drops were beginning to disappear and, noticing this, the Little Drop forgot its fear. It trickled from its rock towards the ocean.
The Little Drop was finally in the sea. It lay quietly for a moment, thinking: Any moment now I’ll fade into the sea. But something strange began to happen. The Little Drop could feel what it was like to be of water. It could feel solidity of a different sort. It could feel the giant form that is the ocean, and all the while its little self did not disappear.
The Little Drop sparkled with delight. It could feel the sun but did not fear it. It was part of something magical, which would not disappear. It saw the little rock, and saw the difference between rock and sea. It rippled out and felt its hugeness. It asked the ocean: “How could it be I thought I was rock? Why did you let me sit there thinking I was different from the sea?”
The ocean lapped in laughter. “Why Little Drop I put you on the rock so that you could feel the difference. So that you would search for your own feeling and that one day you would return knowing who you are. So that you could understand, that being part of me does not mean the end of you. So that you would see that one little drop was ocean all along.’’
(Dance with Life p.53-56 print edition)
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