Zen Story About Self

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When we are young, our sense of self is pretty basic. We know our name, we know our family, we know our neighborhood, we know our favorite ice cream flavor, etc. – and not much beyond that small sphere really affects our earliest self-knowledge.

At that stage life is simple – it only gets more complicated when we venture on our own, seeking footholds in what suddenly seems like a huge world. And when we begin to feel lost, sometimes it takes another person to remind us of our basic and most authentic “self.”

Check out this Zen story below for an eastern-inspired perception on what is known as “true self”:

A distraught young man approached the Zen master. “Please help me,” the man said. “I feel lost and I don’t know who I am. Show me my true self!

But the teacher looked away without responding. The man asked again, and the master said nothing. Finally giving up, the man turned to leave when the master shouted – “Hey, John!

Yes!” John replied, turning back around. “There it is,” said the master.

*Zen stories were developed across ancient Asia to preserve philosophical wisdom between the generations via storytelling. Try reading one out loud to yourself or a friend – that’s how they are intended to be shared!

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