The Muddy Path
After they returned from their daily walk one day a student asked his teacher:
"Why do we always go through that one path on our walk which always has mud when there are other paths beside which don't?"
His teacher replied:
"Because I enjoy nature through that muddy path and it always influences our discussions in the most beautiful ways."
The student was perplexed and asked:
"But we can just lay down some flat rocks for more traction and we won't get as dirty or it won't be as slippery."
His teacher replied:
"Well that is why we walk with caution, use our boots, and we don't apply all our weight with every step. But we can take another route on our next walk if you prefer?"
The student decided out of love for his teacher who enjoyed the muddy path so much, that he would lay hundreds of flat rocks along that stretch of the path that was the muddiest. He thought to himself that his teacher would be so proud to walk the path free of mud with greater traction with every step.
The student decided to test his path the next evening and as he walked on his newly formed rock path, he discovered somebody had purposely avoided his construction in preference for the muddy one beside it. As he tracked the foot steps he came to the end of the path where he was shocked to see his teacher. He then immediately realized it was his teacher who took the alternate muddy path.
"Why my teacher?" the student stated with concern. "Why have you chosen the alternate muddy path when I have made one with greater traction, that was less slippery, less dirty and would allow you to walk unencumbered?"
The teacher replied: "I enjoy the muddy path, the sounds, the ever so light sinking of my feet, and I have learned to adapt how I shift my body weight with every step. This too has influenced our discussions."
The student now thoroughly confused stated "But wouldn't our discussions now be more productive, without our struggle to maintain our footing so we could focus on our lessons without worrying about the terrain."
The teacher explained: "It depends on what you would like to learn. We see different things. After years on the same path, I have learned to enjoy every step for what it is and accept that I trek on nature to the terrain she offers me. I don't need to change the terrain, because I've learned to change myself and when I change myself, the terrain is whatever I would like it to be."
The student looked at his teacher with admiration and asked: "When will I learn how to do this?"
The teacher replied: "When you realize that you are the terrain."