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The Tinkered Mind
A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.
July 30th, 2023
Lucilius yawned and glanced up at the sun, squinting an eye to note the time. The cat next to him looked up into the sky with him, wondering. Lucilius placed a hand between the cat’s ears and rubbed the animal’s head.
“She should be back any moment,” Lucilius stated to the cat. The animal seemed content, as though it understood and nestled its head back between it’s paws, enjoying the massage with a full sense that it was deserved.
A moment later the two heard a weak grunt of exertion. The cat looked up at the edge of the rocky precipice where the two sat. They looked out over a great expanse of forested mountains that cascaded out into several ripped and staggered green horizons.
The little grunts grew louder with their rhythm, until finally an exhausted young woman began to emerge from below. Sweat beaded every point on her face. A long thick braid laid over one of her shoulders and dangled as she was bent forward, a bar across her back with two heavy buckets swaying from either end of the bar.
She carefully stepped towards Lucilius under the weight, and then meticulously got on her knees in order to lower the buckets, mindful that they not spill. And when finally they were securely resting on the ground she wiggled herself out from under the bar and finally sat heaving breath.
After a minute she finally looked at Lucilius and waved a tired hand at the buckets as a show of display.
“Dare, de buckets ov vater you asked!” She was clearly annoyed, and Lucilius was watching her diligently.
He then got up, gingerly walked over to one of the buckets and peered into the water. He stared deeply into the empty color. The cat, watching him, stood up, stretched, and then meandered over to Lucilius and looked into the bucket. Seeing only water it looked up at Lucilius who then turned his attention to the other bucket of water. The cat followed and the two stared into the water. Lucilius shook his head and sighed.
The young woman, still heaving from the exertion, looked back and forth from Lucilius’ face to the water, confused.
Finally, Lucilius brought one of his saddled feet to the rim of the bucket, and then pushed it over. The young woman stopped breathing, her eyes going wide. Lucilius quickly stepped to the first bucket and pushed it over too, spilling all the water back down the rocky hill.
“Vhy would you do zat!?” The young woman shouted. “You told me to carry water up da mountain, I carry vater all da vay up da mountain!” She gestured wildly back at the way from whence she came.
Lucilius calmly shook his head. “I told you there was something in the water you needed to bring, you did not bring it.”
The young woman’s eyes grew wide with disbelief. But Lucilius looked down at the cat.
“Pussik agrees, you did not bring what was asked.”
The self-satisfied cat looked at the young woman and then up at Lucilius before settling back down for another nap.
“Vat must I put into zi vater?”
“You will know when it is there. But for now you must try to bring it again in the water.”
“Vhy should I bring more vater if it does not have vhat it needs?”
“The only way to figure it out is to bring more water.”
The young woman rolled her eyes and got up. She looked down at the buckets and the bar with disgust before picking them back up and beginning her trek back down the mountain.
A week later, after the young woman had carried hundreds of buckets of water up the mountain and Lucilius had tipped each one over, she emerged again from the trek with more water. Exhausted she set it down.
Lucilius examined them once more and sighed.
“Well, we will have to move on to the next lesson, you have wasted enough time on this one,” he said and tipped the buckets over again, spilling the water.
“Vat? But I don’t understand. Vhy?”
Lucilius shrugged. “We only have so much time. And we cannot spend any more with this task.”
“But I did not succeed?”
Lucilius shook his head with a flat expression. “I’m sorry, no.”
“Vhat I do wrong?”
“It was too heavy for you. I overestimated you.”
“But I brought zi vater! Many times! How is it too Ehvy for me?”
“Each time it looked as though you were carrying the whole world, not two little buckets of water.”
“So? Vater still made it to za top! Every time!”
Lucilius smiled, quaintly.
“Why are you here?”
The woman thought for a moment and then threw up her hands in exasperation.
“Honestly, I do not know anymore.”
“You could be anywhere, doing anything.”
Lucilius waited a beat, letting the idea sink in. Wondering if she would respond.
“Whether you are off somewhere making money, or working hard, or enjoying the pleasure of others, or simply sitting atop a mountain waiting for someone to bring you water - it is not what you do, but how you do it.”
The woman was exasperated.
“How else you bring water up mountain!”
“Lightly my child. No matter how heavy the burden you carry, you must go lightly.”
Lucilius then picked up the rod and the empty buckets. He walked over to the young woman. She paused a moment before grabbing the bar and saddling her shoulders with it.
“All of this..” Lucilius said, motioning the expansive view. “It’s not out here.”
He tapped her forehead. “It’s in there, it weighs nothing. It weighs only as much as you imagine.”
“Zis is stupid. Of course it weighs something. You cannot lift za whole mountain!”
“Sure I can.”
The woman looked at him, disbelieving.
“It used to be over there,” Lucilius said, pointing.
“When I was young I did not carry water. I carried dirt and rock.”
The woman looked around at the entire area where they were standing, in disbelief.
“Lightly my child, lightly.”