The View

Their journey was long, from their small temple in a humble village in the valley, across the mountain path to the city beyond. Master Shu, and his disciple, Kai, would take all day to make the trek there and return home.

After returning with the few necessities only the city could offer, Master Shu and Kai, sat reflecting on the day. Their meal had been eaten and their feet relieved of the dirt and pain of their journey. They talked about all the beauty of field, mountain, and stream. About the people in bright robes who hurriedly rushed by them in the city. And the workers, soiled by labor and far afield, who paused and waved as they passed by.

Master Shu inquired of Kai, “Do remember the rocks and stones we tread in the valley seeming so sturdy and sure, while the mountain in the distance looked worn and crumbled by wind and rain?” Kai nodded his agreement. “Do you remember that from the mountain path with walls strong and firm as iron, the valley rock looked melted and carved by the river below?” Again, Kai nodded.

“Do you remember the smiling faces of the farmers far off in their fields?” continued Master Shu. “I do, Master” said Kai, a smile creasing his own lips, as he thought of them again somewhat fondly. “And, do you remember the faces of the people in the city, who were close enough to share a whisper with us?” asked the Master. “I do not, Master. I cannot recall even one”, replied Kai.

“This is a great lesson of the Tao, my faithful student” instructed Master Shu. “We cannot allow our temporary distance from things or people to color our perception of what or who they are, when seen as a whole. The Tao teaches us the Oneness that allows them to be all things. The rocks can be hard, firm, and sure. And they can be soft, crumbled, and weak. The mountain can be tall, strong, and solid. And it can be weathered, carved, and eroded. The worker’s in the field can be hurried and disregarding, and the people in the city can be inviting and warm. Distance may define the attributes, but the Tao makes them a whole for they exist as one, inseparable by perspective.”

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