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Chop Wood, Carry Water

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A young boy became a monk.
He dreamed of enlightenment and of learning great things.
When he got to the monastery he was told that each morning he had to chop wood for the monks fires and then carry water up to the monastery for ablutions and the kitchen.
He attended prayers and meditation, but the teaching he was given was rather sparse.

One day he was told to take some tea to the Abbot in his chambers.
He did so and the Abbot saw he looked sad and asked him why.

He replied every day all I do is chop wood and carry water.
I want to learn.
I want to understand things.
I want to be great one day, like you.

The Abbot gestured to the scrolls on shelves lining the walls. He said,

‘When I started I was like you. Every day I would chop wood and carry water.
Like you I understood that someone had to do these things, but like you I wanted to move forward.
Eventually I did.
I read all of the scrolls, I met with Kings and and gave council.
I became the Abbot.

Now, I understand that the key to everything is that everything is chopping wood and carrying water, and that if one does everything mindfully then it is all the same.’

I don’t know, where I got this story from. Probably one of Anthony De Mello’s books.