The other day, I was in a yoga class at my amazing Yoga Studio where the instructor read aloud a story that really touched a nerve with me. It was called The Black Spot. The author, from what I can tell, is unknown. It’s really one of the most beautiful stories I have ever heard.
It really touched me because of the simplicity of the message, but also for the power of it as well. It’s a message I have really come to embrace in my own life, one that reminds me daily not to sweat the small stuff, to always appreciate the gift of life and to also be incredibly mindful of the beauty and magic that exists all around me every day.
One of the most profound discoveries in my own spiritual path of self-discovery has been to understand how to control my thoughts and as a result, control my anxieties, fears, frustrations and stress. Mindfulness, meditation and yoga have all played a significant role in transforming my own suffering and alleviated so much unnecessary stress that listening to my monkey brain used to cause me.
But even for someone like me who meditates daily and works really hard on controlling my inner narrative, sometimes I get lost by giving more power to my thoughts than I should. And when I find myself drifting back to those old patterns, I turn to stories or quotes that remind me of the secret to a less anxious and stressful life: that simply, it lies in our inner narrative and perspectives and that we can in fact control them and ultimately decide what life condition we create for ourselves.
And so I hope this short story is something that can inspire you as well. When you may be focused on something that has you stressed or anxious. When your thoughts take you down a road of endless distractions and, as a result, down that anxiety highway. When you may focus on petty grievances in daily life and forget the miracles of life. When you have your head down and are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. When you may get so lost in the minutiae of life. When you find yourself in those situations and you lose your sense of wonder, mindfulness and gratitude for all of the blessings in your life, I sincerely hope you will remember “The Black Spot.”
THE BLACK SPOT
One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked his students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions….just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told them the following:
“I want you to write what you see there.”
The students confused, got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of them with no exceptions, described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. etc. etc. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:
“I am not going to grade on you this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our lives. We have a white paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see everyday…….
However we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend, etc.
The dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds.
Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you.
Be happy and live a life positively!