“Take this,” the Master presented his young Disciple with a thin piece of thread and a tiny needle. The young one took it in reverence. He was terrified that if he dropped it he wouldn’t able to find it again.
“The task is to pass the thread through the needle five consecutive times. Consecutive,” he stressed the last word.
The young boy gasped. Surely his Master wasn’t serious.
“Consecutive?” he emphasised it too. “But that’s impossible”.
The Master said nothing. He turned around and left, leaving the boy to his task.
It took the Disciple ten times alone to simply pass the needle through the thread the first time.
He was already tired. That’s when the little devil inside him began to speak. His Master wouldn’t know if he hadn’t accomplished the task. Or if the five times were not consecutive.
But then that other voice appeared. The one his Master had infiltrated his mind with. “But you would know”.
The boy continued. He had managed three consecutive times. And then after what seemed like hours, four. But five seemed literally unachievable.
He stopped. Cleared his head for a minute and inhaled deeply. He looked across the horizon and experienced every sound and smell present around him.
Then he began again more determined than before.
And all of a sudden, he had done it. He himself couldn’t quite believe it. He yelled in excitement, so loudly his Master came almost running. He smiled at his Disciple.
“What did this teach you?”’ There was always something to be learnt.
“That nothing is impossible?” The young boy was hoping this was the right answer. His Master disliked that the boy was missing the point of the exercises by trying to find a “correct” answer without being certain of it.
“What did you receive from it?”
“Irritation, anxiety, anger….but then determination, strong-will, and…patience. Patience, above all”.
The Master smiled. “Nothing is truly impossible. We just need the patience to discover it can be done”.