Word spread across the country about the wise Holy Man who lived in a house atop the mountain. A young man from the village decided to undertake the difficult journey to visit him.
When he arrived at the house, an old servant opened the door and greeted him.
“I have traveled long, and now I would like to see the wise Holy Man,” said the young man.
The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked around eagerly in each room, anticipating his encounter with this legendary Holy Man.
Before long, they had walked through the entire house, and the servant and the young man stood outside the door again.
“But, I wanted to see the Holy Man,” said the young man to the servant.
“You already have,” said the old man.
“Everyone you may meet in life, even if they appear commonplace… see each of them as a wise Holy Man. If you do this, then whatever problem you brought here today will be solved.”
This Zen story illustrates that the greatest challenges in life require us to overcome obstacles within, not without. In the tale, the young man was able to conquer a long mountain path, but did not attempt to move beyond his own ego.
We need physical and mental effort to overcome everyday obstacles. But we also need something more, a kind of “spiritual” awareness, to understand the true significance of our existence, our path and our journey.