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A Time To Learn

Time To Learn

A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master:
“If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen.”

The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.”
The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then ?”

Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.”

“But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?” asked the student.

“Thirty years,” replied the Master.

“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that ?”

Replied the Master,” When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

It is a sad statement that sometimes we get so focused on the goal, on the ultimate end, that we completely loose site of the journey that we are on. The real irony of it is that it is the journey itself that matters. It is the things you learn along the way that shape you into what you are meant to be. The prize that you struggle for, more often times than not, is far less important than the path itself. Some people reach so hard for the brass ring on the merry-go-round that they ultimately fall off the horse because they become blinded, seeing only the ring. Some reach for it time and again without grasping it until they simply give up and get off the horse. No matter how close they get, they never fully realize how close they were and they walk away. They never even realize that there were others all around them that would have helped them because they were so focused on the ring and relying on their own arm’s reach to attain it. Had they have realized that there were those people willing to help them it would have enriched their life and their journey and given them even more fulfillment in life. And so, they miss something else beside the ring.

Kasey Kasum, the host of America’s Top Twenty radio program, had a saying. “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”. In other words, go for your goals, but keep your head, your common sense, and your eyes and heart open for the lessons you can learn on your journey through life.

  1. Amy
    November 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I think we often lose sight of the road that gets us to the goal. The road is usually way more important. I have just started to figure this out myself! I have begun to focus more on the road and less on the goal because I don’t want to lose sight of the goal. I want to make the most of my journey towards the goal.

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