The Gift

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”   Mahatma Gandhi

Near Tokyo lived a great Samurai warrior, now old,  he decided to teach Zen Buddhism to young people. In spite of his age, the legend was that he could defeat any adversary.

One afternoon, a warrior – known for his complete lack of scruples – arrived there. The young and impatient warrior had never lost a fight. Hearing of the Samurai’s reputation, he had come to defeat him, and increase his fame.

All the students were against the idea, but the old man accepted the challenge.

All gathered on the town square, and the young man started insulting the old master. He threw a few rocks in his direction, spat in his face, shouted every insult under the sun – he even insulted his ancestors. For hours, he did everything to provoke him, but the old man remained impassive. At the end of the afternoon, feeling exhausted and humiliated, the impetuous warrior left.

Disappointed by the fact that the master had received so many insults and provocations, the students asked:

– How could you bear such indignity? Why didn’t you use your sword, even knowing you might lose the fight, instead of displaying your cowardice in front of us all?

– If someone comes to you with a gift, and you do not accept it, who does the gift belong to? – asked the Samurai.

– He who tried to deliver it – replied one of his disciples.

– The same goes for envy, anger and insults – said the master. – When they are not accepted, they continue to belong to the one who carried them.

We all have a choice to accept the gifts that are offered.  When I accept an offering of envy, anger or fear, it is because I believe on some level, I deserve it.  Once I begin to work on letting go of this belief within me, I find I can say no to those who offer them.

With practice, I learn to step into my power and live in my truth.  With practice, I receive the gifts I truly deserve.  The gifts of love, peace and joy.

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50 thoughts on “The Gift

  1. It is hard sometimes not taking mean words or actions personally. There are certain people who might treat me badly that “hook” me more than others. I try to fall back on that old adage – what you think of me is none of my business. Thank you Karen.

  2. This sends a very powerful message. The old man made it look so easy. As you stated, it takes practice to develop this skill. It is always a blessing when a person is able to truly accept only the gifts they choose to accept.
    I heard a quote that made a great impact on my life. It stated, “seek what you want from life, but only accept what you need.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

    1. Accepting what we need, is the gift Jonathan. I wish it was as easy as this too, but I am sure he worked very hard on connecting to his truth and power each day. Thankyou for your thoughts.

  3. I have kind of learned that great lesson through some challenging relationships in my past. But of course I still sometimes accept gifts I shouldn’t. And find they are difficult to return 🙂

    1. They can be difficult to return when we hold onto the belief we cannot give them back. This takes courage and as most of us dislike conflict, we shy away from doing it. When I have had the courage to speak my truth, my confidence grew and I found over time, these offerings stopped coming. Thankyou for your comment Helen.

  4. Wonderful story and the wisdom I take from this is that it can work both ways, we can all do better and giving the gifts of love peace and joy is what I hope I can give each day to my family, my friends and even strangers.

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