Tuesday 15 November 2016

The Salt Doll

Last week, I was searching for a short. meaningful story to use as a devotion. As a result, I found myself completely engrossed in Anthony de Mello's The Song of the Bird. I love de Mello's wisdom that emerges from his short, sharp and often surprising stories. I came across one that really spoke to me and I vowed to return to it at another time. So here is the story.

The Salt Doll

A salt doll journeyed for thousands
of miles and stopped on the edge of
the sea.

It was fascinated by this moving
liquid mass, so unlike anything it
had seen before.

"What are you?" said the salt doll
to the sea.

"Come in and see," said the sea with
a smile.

So the doll waded in. The further it
went the more it dissolved till there
was only a pinch of it left. Before
that last bit dissolved, the doll
exclaimed in wonder, "Now I know
what I am!"

You see what I mean? So much wisdom in so few words. I think I could write an entire thesis on what this story teaches me, but none of us have time for that. So here it is in dot points.

  • The journey is more important than the destination. The story doesn't tell us of all the important encounters that occurred in those thousands of miles leading to the sea, but we know they are part of the story.
  • Always have a sense of curiosity and ask questions. This is how we learn and grow, by having an inquiring mind.
  • We learn, not by being told, but by experiencing. The sea could have begun some lengthy explanation about its consistency, its breadth and its depth. Instead it said to the doll, "Come in and see". In experiencing, the learning becomes a part of us.
  • In our learning about the other, we discover our own self. How true is that? In meeting people who are from different cultures or hold a varying opinion to ours, we are challenged to examine our own prejudice and long held assumptions.
  • When we discover from where we came, we find our true self. There is something about knowing where you have come from that helps you to know where you are going.
  • In discovering a deeper knowing about who we are and to whom we belong we are able to let go of the ego's need to succeed. In fact, in losing our false self, our true self is found.
Such a profound little story! So much to teach us!

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