A youthful monk, journeying home, reached the bank of a vast river. There were no visible means of crossing it. Standing there, he pondered for long on how he could get across. No ideas occurred to him; eventually, he gave up and was about to retrace his steps when he spotted an old Zen teacher standing on the opposite bank. He yelled across to the older man, “Oh master, I am stranded here. Can you tell me how I may get across to the other side?”
The aged teacher thought for a few moments, looking up and down the river. He then shouted back, “My good fellow, you are on the other side!”
Reflection: Life journeys help us grow in awareness of the nature of existence – we are all travelers, whether our journeys happen on the outside or the inside. As T.S. Eliot once wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
This Zen story illustrates a similar concept. No matter how far you go in life, remember that you are not alone in your seeking. Explore each day fully, realizing that each new experience may help you greater understand the physical world, your fellow humans, and most significantly, yourself.