There is an old Zen story about a young lioness that was lost on a mountainside. She is found by a ewe who nurses her and cares for her.
As the lioness grows, all of the sheep can see that she is very different. Her fur is the color of a autumn leaves rather than the white of clouds. Her face is broad and her teeth sharp.
Still, she eats the same grass and drinks the same water as all of the other sheep and is tolerated in the group.
One day, an old lion approaches the herd. The sheep run, but the golden one gazes upon him. He leads her to a pond were she sees that her reflection matches his. Still, she wants to stay with those she knows, in the place where she is safe and comfortable.
The old lion roars, “Don’t run away from who you are. You may have grown up with a herd of sheep, but you have grown into a beautiful lioness. Lions are strong, independent and brave. There are many more things that you can do and places you can go.”
The ewe approaches her golden child with a blessing and, with an expression of gratitude, the lioness turns and leaves the herd.
Breaking Out of What You’ve Been Conditioned to Believe About Yourself
What do you see when you look in the pond? Many of us have spend a lifetime learning how to be sheep. We may be convinced that we are sheep because we eat the same grass and drink the same water.
But what would happen if we let go of our conditioning and stepped on a path of adventure? What if we went forth assured of only one thing: growth.
What could we see if we looked with new eyes?
Led by Our Children
If you are reading this, you probably have children that are quite confidently not sheep. They may be challenging to parent and difficult to live with. Could this be because they know who they are? Could they be showing us that we too are not sheep — for lionesses birth lion cubs, not lambs.
My children have certainly led me away from the herd. The road is sometimes lonely, sometimes scary, and sometimes painful. At other times it is exciting and fun and wondrous beyond anything I could have imagined. Always, it teaches me something new.
This post was inspired by the cards of the Osho Zen Tarot Set (Ozt99) #