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The Magic of the Mustard Seed

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about dealing with heartache and grief. There's a Buddhist parable about a woman who's only son died and she was beside herself with grief. So she went to the village holy man, and asked, "Please, can you help me? What magic spell can you do to bring my son back to life?" The holy man replied, "Go and find me a mustard seed from a home that has never known grief or sorrow. We're going to use this mustard seed to draw the sorrow out of your life and bring back love to your heart." Now, back in those days, every house had mustard seeds for cooking.

So this seemed like a fairly simple task. So the woman began immediately to go and search for that magic mustard seed. At the first house she came to, she asked for a mustard seed and it was immediately offered to her by a woman her own age. And she asked, "Has there been any grief or sorrow in this house?" The kind lady nodded and told her a story about her own losses and her own heartache. So she went to the next house where a man offered her a mustard seed, but alas, he too had a story of suffering.

He had been heartbroken. The same thing happened at the next house and the next house and the next. So finally she came to a beautiful mansion and she thought to herself, "Okay, here we go. This is the place where I'm going to find it." So she knocked at the door and an elderly man came to the door. She said to him, "I'm looking for a house that has never known any sorrow or grief.

Is this such a place?" "Ah," the elderly man sweetly replied. "I'm so sorry. You've definitely come to the wrong place." And he described to her all the times in his long life where he'd grieved or felt sorrow or suffering. And as he spoke, he began to weep and the woman began to weep with him and then she stayed to comfort him. They had tea together, and that day they became good friends.

And on that day, she also had a realization that there probably was no house that had never known sorrow or grief. Just like her, everyone suffered. When she came to understand that grief and sorrow are a part of everyone's life, she also realized that she wasn't alone. She felt connected to everyone and was also filled with compassion. After that day, the woman became involved in helping other people find comfort and support through their suffering.

And that brought more love, meaning and purpose flooding back into her heart and her life. And that was the magic of the mustard seed. I love this story. I love what it points to. Because so often when we go through our own suffering and sorrow, we have this really irrational sense of isolation.

It's as if we're the only one in the world who's going through this kind of pain and it can feel like something's gone terribly wrong, like it shouldn't be happening. But the reality is that suffering really is a part of our shared human experience. And I think this realization, although it's very, very tender, can also be a catalyst for feelings of belonging, self compassion and compassion for others. So when you're hurting, when you're suffering, just seeing if you can remember that you're not alone. We really are all in this together and let that remembrance sow the seeds of compassion, love and comfort in your own heart.

As always, thank you for your practice. And let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

The Magic of the Mustard Seed

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about dealing with heartache and grief. There's a Buddhist parable about a woman who's only son died and she was beside herself with grief. So she went to the village holy man, and asked, "Please, can you help me? What magic spell can you do to bring my son back to life?" The holy man replied, "Go and find me a mustard seed from a home that has never known grief or sorrow. We're going to use this mustard seed to draw the sorrow out of your life and bring back love to your heart." Now, back in those days, every house had mustard seeds for cooking.

So this seemed like a fairly simple task. So the woman began immediately to go and search for that magic mustard seed. At the first house she came to, she asked for a mustard seed and it was immediately offered to her by a woman her own age. And she asked, "Has there been any grief or sorrow in this house?" The kind lady nodded and told her a story about her own losses and her own heartache. So she went to the next house where a man offered her a mustard seed, but alas, he too had a story of suffering.

He had been heartbroken. The same thing happened at the next house and the next house and the next. So finally she came to a beautiful mansion and she thought to herself, "Okay, here we go. This is the place where I'm going to find it." So she knocked at the door and an elderly man came to the door. She said to him, "I'm looking for a house that has never known any sorrow or grief.

Is this such a place?" "Ah," the elderly man sweetly replied. "I'm so sorry. You've definitely come to the wrong place." And he described to her all the times in his long life where he'd grieved or felt sorrow or suffering. And as he spoke, he began to weep and the woman began to weep with him and then she stayed to comfort him. They had tea together, and that day they became good friends.

And on that day, she also had a realization that there probably was no house that had never known sorrow or grief. Just like her, everyone suffered. When she came to understand that grief and sorrow are a part of everyone's life, she also realized that she wasn't alone. She felt connected to everyone and was also filled with compassion. After that day, the woman became involved in helping other people find comfort and support through their suffering.

And that brought more love, meaning and purpose flooding back into her heart and her life. And that was the magic of the mustard seed. I love this story. I love what it points to. Because so often when we go through our own suffering and sorrow, we have this really irrational sense of isolation.

It's as if we're the only one in the world who's going through this kind of pain and it can feel like something's gone terribly wrong, like it shouldn't be happening. But the reality is that suffering really is a part of our shared human experience. And I think this realization, although it's very, very tender, can also be a catalyst for feelings of belonging, self compassion and compassion for others. So when you're hurting, when you're suffering, just seeing if you can remember that you're not alone. We really are all in this together and let that remembrance sow the seeds of compassion, love and comfort in your own heart.

As always, thank you for your practice. And let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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