Jul 14, 2008

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" the mother asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a
hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

"U Never Know What U Can Become"

13 comments:

abinash said...

Hmm a good story with learning lessons :). How about a revised edition of it. sugar, Sodium oxide and stone.

Put all three in water and boil them.

Sugar: It dissolves itself even in mild heat and makes the surrounding sweet with self sacrifice. It dies out but the surrounding becomes sweet and it changes.

Sodium: As soon as u put in water and give heat it rebels and it produces more heat with in. Hence making a spontaneous increase in temperature and it can even explode. What yields from the rebel is unnecessary heat, the water loses its form to become poisonous, sodium becomes devoid of its energy and its irreversible process.

Stone: The stone remains the same. The change in environment does not effect it. The boiling water slowly cools down to its normal form and the stone still remains the same unaltered, indifferent.

Now in the earlier context when we had the discussion I said there is no point in rebelling for one would end up being like sodium. The best is being stone. :)

Mudit said...

Lakshmi, nice post.After long time I read something refreshing and worth thinking.
Abinash ..U r smart fellow !! Good arguments.

Now, let me put my case.The water is IMPURE. Its is muddy, dirty and full of germs.

I am putting coffee beans in it.Does it really matter whether that water tastes good ? The only solution is too kill those germs.

And rock.Its nature is different.It remains unaffected but it doesnt grow also.It lies there surrounded by lichens and moses.Continous abrasion can just break it only.It can never progress.Its not free.

Lakshmi Easuwaran said...

Mudit, thanks.

I became mute when I saw Abinash's comments. I can appreciate his smart thinking.

However, what Mudit has mentioned makes a lot of sense.

Mudit said...

My point is that analogies are not correct !!

abinash said...

Well my dears no analogy is ever correct for that mater as I feel there doe not exist anything called right and wrong only things are inappropriate. :)
now in this case as u have mentioned how one should react to when the water is muddy and filled with germs. Well for that matter u can't be any entity inside the water which can really purify it with out the intervention of external force. How ever in such condition u can become Alum (Fitkiri) which lies still and killes the germs and about the mud in the water can only be purified from with in by keeping the water as still as possible. The mud will accumulate at bottom and the water becomes crystal clear.
But one point is still intact No way u can purify the situation by by rebelling in it. Like in mud water the more u are restless the more it gets dirty. I hope I have made the point.
Mudit: Its not about correct analogies dear for reason is the most illogical logic one have. And analogy are driven by perception and not by situation. :)

Mudit said...

What if I am a filter ?? Filter faces abrasion and resistance from mud.It Rebels and doesnt let dirt to pass thru it.It fights and finally makes water pure.

And to become an Alum, one needs to kill himself.It is again being Rebel.Fighting against germs and destroying them.Alum doesnt stays immune in water.Rather, it makes an impact !!

Also,I disagree that analogy are driven by perception and not by situation.Analogies are driven both by perception and situation.You will choose an analogy that fits your perception for a particular situation. One cannot have same perception for all the situations :)

Lakshmi Easuwaran said...

well abinash, let me be the alum here then.. so am the catalyst to ensure that the mud goes to the bottom leaving crystal clear water at the top. If I don't fight against, the whole water is impure projecting to the world that its a waste and not consumable.

By being the alum, I will ensure that the world knows the mud part and the pure water part.

I strongly believe in maintaining integrity and honesty. If I need to be a rebel to achieve it, I would rather be that than being submissive to the situation that am in.

abinash said...

My dear. I said to be inside the system not out side it so being filter is as absurd as it is for it lies out side the system. I had pointed that out. Now alum. Alum is not rebelling. Rebelling. And yeah when I say analogies are driven by perception I mean it. Analogies are driven by perception and targeted for a situation. You conceive an analogy on the sole basis of what dogma you follow or the set of believes and convictions you have. Now Alum is like the coffee bean in the first example where it goes for self sacrifice. And u ignored my point where I said mud water can be cleaned from with by keeping it still. Rebel doe not keep it still. :)

Lakshmi Easuwaran said...

yes that's exactly right. "Now Alum is like the coffee bean in the first example where it goes for self sacrifice" but there is a small correction. Coffee bean does not accomplish any sacrifice. However, it ensures that it changes its environment for good.

abinash said...

Lakshmi: I still disagree to be alum as you will end up loosing your identity when you try to be Alum and last you die out. I had given that example to strike out the misappropriation of argument.
You must retain the identity in adversity and thats what is stone as I had said. See if u are a believer you know every one has a purpose and a identity. Like a stone where ever u go no matter how dirty is the water or how crystal clear it is. The stode never changes no mud can change it. Its the same to the core. Thats what the toughest test of integrity. And my point was that dont change for anything. You go on to kill the germs and change your identity and get away of the purpose you are created for. You react to the germs and the mud and it creates the chaos. So be not that. Just hold your identity and you remain you as these germs don't deserve a fight from stone. Stone is used for bigger purpose in macro level. I hope you get the point I am leading to I wont make it more explicit here as I wat you to think on it. :)

Lakshmi Easuwaran said...

I very well don't agree with you Abinash. Who said that by rebelling one loses the original identity. In fact, by being the alum or anything for that matter, if you rebel, you ensure that your originality is not changed by others or its not even influenced by others. Rather you make the point clear that they need to change if they try to shovel the dirt on us. This is what am trying to say. Stone can be easily broken with machines or any iron weapon. Nothing is permanent be it alum or the stone. But what impact they make by their presence matters.

Mudit said...

Abinash : Keep apart these analogies. I already said that these analogies doesnt make any sense to me. Why to look for analogies when there is real time situation infront of us.

You want that one shouldnt react to the situations, should not fight against the wrong, should not get what he actually deserves - by being a stone as it is immune to its surroundings.

Since, everything is illusion one should compromise with the situations and be happy as a puppet.Since nothing lasts for ever, one should be contented with the things which are going around him and shouldnt try to change them. One should remain happy by killing his own will.Accept the things just like so that one doesnt suffer any mental agony.

Is this the solution ??

Even spirituality does not advise peace in the face of evil and injustice. The Bhagavad gita, is a message to Arjuna when he hesitates to wage a war against his own kith and kin. Sri Krishna advises him that Arjuna should wage the war because it was a part of his duty or karma and that he should not think of withdrawing from his responsibility out of fear or cowardice.

Anyaay karne wale se Anyaay sehne wala bada apradhi hota hai.

abinash said...

No comments. :) Its becoming a acrimonious debate. :) Chalo Lets put an end to it. Though we couldn't come upon a vintage point, nevertheless We all are correct at our own point of view.