How to go about life when the going gets tough? A lady had this question to ask her old father. She was having such a bad time, she had no idea if she would ever get through it. Beset with one setback after another, she was weary and near to losing all hope.
The father listened silently. He then went over to the kitchen. One by one, he filled three pots with water and put each on a burner. As the pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one, eggs in another and ground coffee beans in the last pot. He then told his daughter to observe.
When all the three pots were done, the father put out the fires. The steaming potatoes were put on a plate, the eggs placed in a bowl while the coffee was poured into a cup. He then asked: “So, what do you see?”
Absorbed in her gloomy thoughts, the daughter only saw a simple sck of potatoes, eggs and coffee in the making. But the father bade her to look closer and touch the potatoes, which she found had grown soft. The eggs, however, had been boiled hard under their shells. As for the coffee, it was giving off a rich aroma and only needed milk and sugar to be sipped leisurely. Mystified, the daughter asked what it all meant.
The father now shared his observations. As far as the potatoes, the eggs and the coffee beans were concerned, each had been visited by the same adversity – boiling water. However, each had reacted differently.
The potatoes went in strong and hard, but turned soft as the water boiled. Meanwhile, the fragile eggs, with only their thin outer shells protecting them, grew hard. And the coffee beans? Why, they simply changed the water itself, giving it a wonderful colour, smell and flavor!
The father then concluded with a question: “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Like a potato, an egg or a coffee bean?”
Adversity can soften or harden; it is also possible to turn adversity round into something else. But howsoever a person reacts to it according to his or her ture, adversity is always a rite of passage.
As she reflected, it dawned upon the daughter that things were happening around her, things were happening to her — but the only thing that mattered was what was happening within her.
She also realised that events by themselves do not create suffering. It was the resistance of her mind to those events that was creating the pain. She only had to look deep inside herself to what lay within...