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The Parable of the Wooden Bowl

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. A story for you. Once upon a time and elderly man became too frail to live on his own so he went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and grandson. The old man's hands were shaky and his eyesight was blurred and he was really unsteady on his feet. Every night, the family ate together at the table, but the grandfather's trembling hands and failing sight made eating really slow and difficult.

So food often spilled off his fork and all over the table and the floor. Over time, the son and daughter-in-law became really impatient with him and irritated with the mess. So the husband and wife set a little table in the corner, away from them, where the grandfather sat all on his own while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner together. And since the grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was now served in a small wooden bowl. And when the family glanced in the grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a little tear in his eyes as he sat alone.

So the four year old, the grandson watched all of this in silence, as four year olds do. And one evening before supper, the father noticed that his son was playing with wood scraps on the floor and he asked the child sweetly, what are you making there? And the boy responded, Oh, I'm making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food in the corner when I grow up. So the words struck the parents speechless, and then tears started to stream down their cheeks. And though no words were spoken between them, they both had the realization that they were teaching their son indifference and harshness, instead of kindness and compassion. That evening, the husband took the grandfather's hand and gently brought him back to the family table.

And for the remainder of his days, he ate every single meal with the family and neither the husband or wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk was spilled or the tablecloth soiled. Every one of us can probably relate to this story, right. There are times when we behave like the parents did and we choose convenience over compassion. There's times when we're harsh or impatient, because we're too busy to listen or to be kind or to be patient. There are times when it's just too inconvenient to live our values, so we take actions that seem, you know, easy in the moment, but we know they're going to lead to suffering or disharmony in the future.

And part of the art of mindful living involves a conscious effort to live the life that's true to us, a life in alignment with our deepest values. And sometimes I think maybe the true test of how mindful a person is, is how they act when no one's looking. Or when the only one who's looking is our grandparents, the checkout lady, our partner, the janitor, or our children. So hearing all of these things, are there ways that you could live more in alignment with your values? So it might be being patient brave or mindful in certain situations, you know. What actions could you take today, if any, to change things? And one final note on this is that we don't have to judge ourselves harshly when we become off-course, right.

It's all just part of being human. Mindful living isn't a perfection project. It's not about always being flawless and getting it right. So we can be compassionate with ourselves when we make mistakes along the way. And like the parents did in this story, we can then renew our intention to live with more authenticity, integrity, compassion, and kindness.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

The Parable of the Wooden Bowl

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. A story for you. Once upon a time and elderly man became too frail to live on his own so he went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and grandson. The old man's hands were shaky and his eyesight was blurred and he was really unsteady on his feet. Every night, the family ate together at the table, but the grandfather's trembling hands and failing sight made eating really slow and difficult.

So food often spilled off his fork and all over the table and the floor. Over time, the son and daughter-in-law became really impatient with him and irritated with the mess. So the husband and wife set a little table in the corner, away from them, where the grandfather sat all on his own while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner together. And since the grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was now served in a small wooden bowl. And when the family glanced in the grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a little tear in his eyes as he sat alone.

So the four year old, the grandson watched all of this in silence, as four year olds do. And one evening before supper, the father noticed that his son was playing with wood scraps on the floor and he asked the child sweetly, what are you making there? And the boy responded, Oh, I'm making a little bowl for you and mama to eat your food in the corner when I grow up. So the words struck the parents speechless, and then tears started to stream down their cheeks. And though no words were spoken between them, they both had the realization that they were teaching their son indifference and harshness, instead of kindness and compassion. That evening, the husband took the grandfather's hand and gently brought him back to the family table.

And for the remainder of his days, he ate every single meal with the family and neither the husband or wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk was spilled or the tablecloth soiled. Every one of us can probably relate to this story, right. There are times when we behave like the parents did and we choose convenience over compassion. There's times when we're harsh or impatient, because we're too busy to listen or to be kind or to be patient. There are times when it's just too inconvenient to live our values, so we take actions that seem, you know, easy in the moment, but we know they're going to lead to suffering or disharmony in the future.

And part of the art of mindful living involves a conscious effort to live the life that's true to us, a life in alignment with our deepest values. And sometimes I think maybe the true test of how mindful a person is, is how they act when no one's looking. Or when the only one who's looking is our grandparents, the checkout lady, our partner, the janitor, or our children. So hearing all of these things, are there ways that you could live more in alignment with your values? So it might be being patient brave or mindful in certain situations, you know. What actions could you take today, if any, to change things? And one final note on this is that we don't have to judge ourselves harshly when we become off-course, right.

It's all just part of being human. Mindful living isn't a perfection project. It's not about always being flawless and getting it right. So we can be compassionate with ourselves when we make mistakes along the way. And like the parents did in this story, we can then renew our intention to live with more authenticity, integrity, compassion, and kindness.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

Duration

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