Ways of seeing

I remember one afternoon as I was sitting on the steps of our monastery in Nepal. The monsoon storms had turned the courtyard into an expanse of muddy water, and we had set out a path of bricks to serve as stepping-stones. A friend of mine came to the edge of the water, surveyed the scene with a look of disgust, and complained about every single brick as she made her way across. When she got to me, she rolled her eyes and said, “Yuck! What if I’d fallen into that filthy muck? Everything’s so dirty in this country!” Since I knew her well, I prudently nodded, hopping to offer her some comfort through my mute sympathy.

A few minutes later, Raphaele, another friend of mind, came to the path through the swamp. “Hup, hup, hup!” she sang as she hopped, reaching dry land with the cry, “What fun!” Her eyes sparkling with joy, she added: “The great thing about the monsoon is that there’s no dust.” Two people, two ways of looking at things; six billion human beings, six billion worlds.

Matthieu Ricard “A Way of Being.”

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