The Single Step


Ak’wian struggled to understand the duality represented by the Yin and Yang. It was hard to contemplate that all things held both ends of any spectrum. How could a kindness hold any evil? Or an evil act any good?

The student visited his Master, Qui Lum, in the temple to ask about this important tenet of thought. He made his inquiry and Qui Lum sat quietly for a moment, pondering how to best help his faithful student understand this important truth. After a short time, Qui Lum rose and asked Ak’wian to come with him to the entrance of the temple. He asked Ak’wian to step just outside, as he remained at the door. The student obliged and turned to face his Master just inside.

Qui Lum asked, “How many steps lead into the temple?”

Ak’wian answered, “Just the one, Master.”

 “And what is the step made of?”, he inquired of Ak’wian.

“It is made of stone and mortar,” was the students reply.

“Well, then on this we can agree. Between us lies one stone step,” said Qui Lum. “Now, answer me this, is the step up or down?”

“It is a step up, Master” answered Ak’wian.

Qui Lum instructed his student to exchange places with him. The Master now stood in the courtyard looking back at Ak’wian in the doorway.

“Now, is the step up or down? Asked Qui Lum of his student.

“From here, it is a step down, Master” answered Ak’wian.

“How can it be that the step, which is still but one, and still made of stone and mortar, that has changed in no way, be both up and down?” asked Qui Lum. “All natural things are like this. What they are beyond what we see is always the culmination of what are direct opposites. The only thing which creates up or down is the direction we are travelling. And in either direction it never ceases to remain just one step of mortar and stone. When we follow our path, living in each moment, our direction determines what are steps become.”


20 Responses to “The Single Step”
  1. beth says:

    a master lesson, brad

  2. Such a great example to explain the otherwise unexplainable!

  3. Very true indeed…

  4. jonicaggiano says:

    I applaud this beautiful piece Brad. What an amazing story with a great message. BRAVO. ❤️🤗🙏love Jonikins

  5. K.L. Hale says:

    What a joy to read, Brad. It’s so beautifully written and woven into a rich cultural and spiritual exchange of wisdom. 💛🤗

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thanks, Karla! These stories are my only chance to write in fiction, and although challenging, I do enjoy writing them. Much love to you and have a happy Easter! 💜😘

  6. petespringerauthor says:

    An excellent lesson for all of us and a beautiful way of teaching it.

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you, Pete! What a beautiful thing to say, especially from someone who has taught his whole life. I appreciate you, my friend! By the way, I am missing Jim’s wit and humor already.

      • petespringerauthor says:

        Absolutely! I hope things are okay with him. I wrote him a couple of days ago, and I haven’t heard back. Hopefully, it’s nothing more than a much-needed break. We can’t all be Cal Ripken. 😎

      • Brad Osborne says:

        I think I will write him too, just to check in. And you are right, Pete, we all can’t be Cal. Take care, my friend!

      • petespringerauthor says:

        He answered me yesterday. He’s well—just needed a break. Just had a beer in Helena, Montana, with our son.Meeting his fiancee and him for dinner. Life is good.

      • Brad Osborne says:

        I got the same response and was glad to hear that he will eventually return, although in a more limited scope. Enjoy your time with your family and be well my friend!

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