Our Choice

No-one has ever become poor from giving –  Anne Frank

 In life we always have a choice, to look after ourself, or choose to work with the whole.  Of course, not every experience in life means we have to ignore our needs and consider others, but rather, remind ourselves to be conscious of our decisions.

It takes compassion and time to become aware of others and their needs.  Sometimes it feels easier to just look after ourselves and yet, I always feel richer when I examine how my decision will affect those around me.

Often we feel we cannot give or consider those around us, out of a fear of scarcity.  Coming together and sharing, requires us to be vulnerable, and takes courage to trust in a resolve, that in giving there will always be enough.

The story below helps us see where we can choose and expand our thoughts in life.


Two travellers are lost in the desert.

They are dying from hunger and thirst.  Finally after many months, they come to a high wall.  On the other side, they can hear the sound of a waterfall and birds singing.  Above, they can see the branches of a lush tree extending over the top of the wall.  It’s fruit looks plump and delicious.

One of the men manages to climb over the wall and disappears down the other side.

The other, instead, returns to the desert to help other lost travellers find their way to the oasis and over the wall.


“Non nobis solum nati sumus.
(Not for ourselves alone are we born.)”   – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Source: http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/zen-for-neighbours.pdf

26 thoughts on “Our Choice

    1. Yes I thought the same, as they were starving and thirsty! I beginning to understand the Zen parables don’t seem to worry too much about details but rather focus on the lesson 🙂

  1. Wow! Great post.
    I know what you mean by this. I have this paradox of feelings at the moment. The first is an urge to stay back in the arena of divorce grief – as a helper of others in the same position as I was three years ago. The other is to ‘climb over the wall’ to freedom and run away … far away.

    Yours is an inspiring story .. that after your grief you chose to follow a career to help others.
    I am truly inspired by that.

    1. Thankyou for your kind words Elizabeth. We all have difficult times in our life where we have the choice to run or the choice to stay and think differently. I think deep down we know what is best for us and others, and when we stop and listen carefully and lovingly to ourselves, I have found that turning around is exaclty what I want to do.

      Thankyou for always being apart of this forum. 🙂

  2. Love the story,Karen. For me Zen parables invoke thought and discussion. So I like the first comment. I think its the kind of comment together with others that raise all sorts of issues. Great post – thank you.

    1. Yes I agree Don, and I love reading them and understanding their wisdom. Like the choices we make in life, nothing is black and white, but rather, a gathering of information and questioning whether this is right for us. I am sure you must have done that before your decision to move to London. 🙂 Thankyou for your comment.

    1. I am pretty sure, you would help others Kath. I think overtime we all see the rewards of helping each other and although this takes effort, it is returned to us again and again. Thankyou for your comment. 🙂

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