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The glory of the Dutch banker

Posted by Simon Parke, 05 February 2018, 10.00am

I am with a group of bankers in the Netherlands.

I arrived the night before, I have not yet met them… we are strangers; and now I have a morning session with them.

These are busy individuals, on their phones at every break, dealing with this and that, global reach.

So how shall I start?

Shall I hit them with something fast, funny and financial? A pithy anecdote about emerging world economies? An amusing story about mortgages?

I tell them this story…and I tell it to you as well.

‘There is a seeker.

He goes to see the wise woman because he wants to see the glory.

‘I want to see the glory!’ he says.

‘Then be still,’ says the wise woman. ‘Stand by the water and do nothing… and you shall see the glory.’

And with that she leaves.

The seeker stands by the water but due to recent rain, it is too muddy to see anything.

And so he wades in, to see if he can find the glory there. Perhaps that’s what the teacher means - this is a call to action!

The wise woman returns.

‘What are you doing?’ she asks.

He’s standing waist-deep in the water. He shrugs.

‘I told you to be still, to stand by the water and do nothing…and you shall see the glory.’

The seeker nods, wades back to shore and the wise woman departs once again.

The seeker stands by the water, as instructed…the water recently disturbed by both the rain and himself.

But there is still no glory.

He feels stupid standing still, and frustrated…he wants to do something. The teacher must be testing him and he is determined not to let her down. He will go searching again! He will not give up!

So once again he wades into the water, just as the wise woman returns.

‘What are you doing?’ she asks

The seeker’s not sure.

‘I told you to be still, to stand by the water and do nothing…and you shall see the glory.’

The seeker can’t look at her as he wades back to shore…and she departs once again.

This time, however, the seeker stands by the water…and stays still. Soon his restless body is even enjoying it.

And as he stands, and stands still, the water itself becomes still… and the mud slowly sinks

Undisturbed, the unclear water becomes clear and he can see the myriad glory of life on the lake bed.

Wonderful! he thinks.

And now the water is so still, it becomes like a mirror…a mirror in which he sees the reflected glory of the sunset.

Wonderful again! he thinks.

And then - yet more wonderful still - he sees this watery mirror reflecting himself.

‘I see myself!’ he declares.

‘Behold the glory,’ says the wise woman.

 
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