Long ago there lived a famous wrestler whose name meant “Great Waves.” He was massively strong and knew the art of wrestling. In private bouts he defeated even his teacher, yet in public was so bashful that even his students threw him down.

Troubled, the wrestler decided to visit a Zen temple for help. There, a wise teacher advised him.

“Great Waves is your name,” said the teacher. “So spend tonight in the temple. Imagine that you are water. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those powerful waves sweeping over everything in sight. Do this and you will never again be defeated.”

The teacher left. The wrestler sat still, trying to imagine himself as water. His mind wandered but soon he began to feel more and more like moving waves. As night advanced the waves grew taller and taller. They swept away the flowers and rushed over the statues. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the tide of a vast ocean.

In the morning the teacher found the wrestler in meditation with a slight smile on his face. He patted the man’s shoulder. “Now nothing can disturb you,” he said. “You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you.”

The same day the wrestler entered and won a prestigious tournament, and was never defeated again.


Sometimes the most challenging opponents we face live inside of us. The confidence we need in life does not reside in temples on mountaintops. When we look with honesty inside our own hearts, that is where we find the self-belief we seek.