The Parable of the Mud

Once a man had a vision as he was meditating. He told his friends:

As you know, my practice is to meditate on the four elements — Fire, Water, Earth, Air — and express my gratitude to the spirit of each for what it has granted me in my life.

Last night, as I meditated, I gave thanks to Air for my breath, my mind, for inspiration. In return, Air gave me inspiration and creative breakthroughs.

I thanked Fire for my will, my blood, my passions. Fire gifted me courage and transformation.

With Water I was grateful for my emotions, my unconscious, even my aging and death. Water gave me love, hope, compassion, and dreams.

To Earth I gave thanks for my body and for the earth’s great riches.

But the spirit of Earth in return mocked me: “You presume to thank us, but your pride in your spirit is misplaced. Soon enough you will die and will be nothing more than mud.”


I sat quietly with this thought. I brought to mind the gifts of all four elements, Air, Fire, Water, even Earth — all part of me and the sum of me.

I spoke to Earth. “It is true that I will become mud. But I am not mud now, nor will I become mud until I am Earth again, when I am no longer One of Us.”

Earth was silent.

“And even then, O Earth, I shall be Earth and Air and Water and Fire — I shall be All of Us once again.”

Earth listened.

“And why do you scoff at my mortality, Earth, when you know that soon enough we will all combine again to become a new spirit, a new being, and we will once again be One of Us. You will be One with Us.”

Earth was still silent, but I knew the Earth had blessed me.

“Thank you for this blessing, Earth, for without your harsh truth I might not have found this comfort.”

And his friends marveled.

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