A Lesson on Self-Control

By Dr. Paula Fellingham

One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned is this: The most important thing you can do for your personal well-being is to stop trying to control what you can’t control – others – and begin to control what you can control – yourself.

In part, I learned this through a wonderful story that I’d like to share with you.

There was once an aging Hindu master who grew tired of his apprentice complaining and so one morning he sent the young man for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy, negative youth to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Very bitter,” spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man directed, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” replied the young man.

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure 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, enlarge your sense of things, expand your perspective. Stop being a small glass. Become a lake.”

How can we apply this in our lives? How do you “become a lake?”

I thought about this long and hard, and I came up with this:

Use the principle of choice. Don’t allow others to offend you or to pierce your dreaming heart. Take the negative behavior of others and drop their painful words into the calm expanse of your abundance mentality ~ your tolerant, loving kindness ~ and watch the negativity disappear.

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