The Glass & the Lake

One day a teacher grew tired of her apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him into town to buy some salt. When the apprentice returned, the teacher instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

"How does it taste?" the teacher asked.

"Bitter," spat the apprentice.

The teacher chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it into a nearby lake. So, the two of them walked down to the shore and once there the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the teacher said, "Now drink from the lake."

As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the teacher asked, "How does it taste?"

"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.

"Do you taste the salt?"

"No," said the young man.

At this, the teacher sat beside this serious young man who reminded her of herself and took his hands in hers, offering "The pain of life is our salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things... Stop being a glass. Become a lake."

~ Center yourself and focus on something that bothers you. A pain within yourself.

~ Rather than trying to eliminate the pain, try to breathe through it.

~ With each in-breath, notice your efforts to wrap around the pain.

~ With each in-breath, try to enlarge your sense of Self and let the pain float within the depth of something larger than yourself.

Taken from Mark Nepo's Book, "The Book of Awakening." 

Enjoy the ride,


  1. Do you think the same mentality can be given to fear? I've been trying to embrace that lately and it's helped me feel more empowered too. Nice post!


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