The Master was walking through the fields one day when a young man, a troubled look upon his face, approached him. "On such a beautiful day, it must be difficult to stay so serious," the Master said. "Is it? I hadn't noticed," the young man said, turning to look around and notice his surroundings. His eyes scanned the landscape, but nothing seemed to register; his mind elsewhere.
Watching intently, the Master continued to
walk. "Join me if you like." The Master walked to the edge of a still
pond, framed by sycamore trees, their leaves golden orange and about to
fall. "Please sit down," the Master invited, patting the ground next to
him. Looking carefully before sitting, the young man brushed the ground
to clear a space for himself.
"Now, find a small stone, please," the
Master instructed. "What?" "A stone. Please find a small stone and throw
it in the pond." Searching around him, the young man grabbed a pebble
and threw it as far as he could.
"Tell me what you see," the Master
instructed. Straining his eyes to not miss a single detail, the man
looked at the water's surface. "I see ripples." "Where did the ripples
come from?" "From the pebble I threw in the pond, Master." "Please reach
your hand into the water and stop the ripples," the Master asked. Not
understanding, the young man stuck his hand in the water as a ripple
neared, only to cause more ripples. The young man was now completely
baffled. Where was this going? Had he made a mistake in seeking out the
Master? After all he was not a student, perhaps he could not be helped?
Puzzled, the young man waited.
"Were you able to stop the ripples with
your hands?" the Master asked. "No, of course not." "Could you have
stopped the ripples, then?" "No, Master. I told you I only caused more
"What if you had stopped the pebble from entering the water to
begin with?" The Master smiled such a beautiful smile; the young man
could not be upset. "Next time you are unhappy with your life, catch the
stone before it hits the water. Do not spend time trying to undo what
you have done. Rather, change what you are going to do before you do
it." The Master looked kindly upon the young man.
"But Master, how will I
know what I am going to do before I do it?" "Take the responsibility
for living your own life. If you're working with a doctor to treat an
illness, then ask the doctor to help you understand what caused the
illness. Do not just treat the ripples. Keep asking questions." The
young man stopped, his mind reeling. "But I came to you to ask you for
answers. Are you saying that I know the answers?"
"You may not know the
answers right now, but if you ask the right questions, then you shall
discover the answers." "But what are the right questions, Master?"
"There are no wrong questions, only unasked ones. We must ask, for
without asking, we cannot receive answers. But it is your responsibility
to ask. No one else can do that for you."
-- Author Unknown
A cause is WHY something happens. An effect is WHAT happens. To understand WHAT happens, first find out WHY something happens..