One day, Buddha and his followers were walking from one town to another. On the way, they passed a lake and stopped there to rest. Buddha told one of his followers that he was thirsty and requested him to bring him some water from the lake.
The follower walked to the lake but when he got there, he saw people washing clothes at the shore. Just then, a bullock cart also started to cross the lake, churning up the clear water and making it muddy. Naturally, the follower worried about carrying this water back to Buddha since it was obviously not fit to drink.
He returned to Buddha and told him that the water was muddy. Buddha smiled and said,
“Just let it be!”
Then he suggested that they relax under the tree near the lake for a while. About half an hour later, he asked the follower to go back to the lake and bring him some water to drink.
The follower, on reaching the lake was amazed to see the crystal clear water. All the mud had settled and he happily collected water in his pot and carried it back to the Buddha.
Buddha looked at the water and smiled. He said, “Look! You let the water be and the mud settled down on its own. The water cleared with no effort.”
Our minds are like that. When we are disturbed, sometimes the best thing to do is just let it be. Give it some time. It will settle down to its peaceful state. We don’t have to go out of our way to do anything to calm down. And when we calm down, we have better thoughts and take better decisions.
Even when we have a difference of opinion with someone, arguing endlessly does not serve any purpose. Sometimes it is best to leave it alone and come back after a while. This helps both sides sleep over it and perhaps wake up in a better frame of mind, more clarity of thought. Flogging that tired horse is just useless after a point. Also, by stepping away, it minimizes the chances of saying things we might regret later.
So, sometimes–most times–it is good not to force it.
Just let it be.
#WednesdayWisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor.