'The Grace of Solitude'
A wise, aged man sat at the village gate. A man on horseback stopped before him. He asked, 'What are the people of this village like?" "Why do you ask this?" answered the wise man. The stranger said, "The people of the place I come from are indecent. Their shamelessness upset me. I had to leave. I want to become a resident of a new village. So, I am asking you how the people of this village are." The aged man said, "Brother, I advise you to look elsewhere. The people here, like where you lived, are vile." The stranger moved on.
Next, a bullock cart came to a halt at the gate. Another stranger asked, "Grandfather, how are the people of this village? I am searching for a new place to live." As he did prior, the wise man asked, "How were the people of the village you left?" The man, with tears now streaming from his eyes, said, "I didn't want to leave. My fellow villagers were decent and kind people. I had to leave to earn something, for my business was not doing well. I have one hope, however, that whenever my luck improves, I will return and live there until my death." The aged man said, "You will find the people of this village decent and kind like the people of your former village. I don't think you need to seek elsewhere."
A fellow was nearby, listening to all this. The bystander said, "I'm confused. You said to one man this village is vile and advised him to move on. To the second man, you said this village has decent and kind people, advising him he need not seek elsewhere." The wise man spoke, "We tend to see others as we are, do we not?"
We're more likely to see the good in persons,
when we become the good we wish to see in them.
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2021
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.