There is an Aesop fable
about a man and his son taking their donkey to sell into Market. They decided
to lead the donkey so as it doesn’t get tired and they might get higher price
in the market. People laughed at them for not riding the donkey as this is what
donkey for. So the son rides the donkey for a while until some people
criticized them for not allowing his father to ride. So they swapped places.
After a while they again met some people who criticized the father for being
mean and not letting his son ride the donkey. So they both ride the donkey.
After a few miles, some women deprecated them for being cruel on the donkey and
advocated them to be carrying the donkey themselves. So finding no other
option, they tied donkey’s feet to the pole and carried it in between them.
When they did this, they were laughed at, were awkward and this caused donkey
to free itself and fall into a river. The man and his son were empty handed and
had nothing to see.
So what is the moral of
the story? This story teaches that people without conscience to distinguish
between right and wrong are bound to and fall. This quote by Frederic Amiel
expresses one of the most important tenet of thelife. It tells that a person if
he is just influenced by external surroundings is bound to not have any
direction and his life would be more like a straw in the water. Wherever the
water takes him, he just flows with it. It is a very simplistic description when we
refer to the metaphor of water and straw, as water generally moves in one
direction. For a modern contemporary man, the environment in which it lives in,
is subjected to thousands of influences each day. Media is telling something.
Priest is telling something, Parents are telling something. Everybody in the
world has some agenda to offer. If one tries to follow it all, his situation
would more or less would be like the father and son who were carrying the
So how can anyone be a
bit immune from the external influences that deflects one of his/her direction?
As Joyce Meyer says,
“We all have two lives:
an inner life and an outer life. Your inner life is your soul life, which
includes your mind, will and emotions. Your outer life is your physical life.
And while God cares about every detail of your life, He is more concerned with
your inner life than your outer life.”
One must start giving
attention to inner life which includes mind and thoughts that one cultivates.
The incredible thing about humans is that they have self-reflection mechanism
which again enhances inner life. The more self-reflection (watching one’s
thoughts with different viewpoints) one practices, the richer the inner life
becomes. This self-awareness is what separates man from animal which is almost
slave to its surrounding.