When asked about the difference between a slow-witted boy and a sage, a rabbi said, “Humility and Praise.” His students were puzzled. He went on, “The unaware one grows like a stone—solid and enduring. The awakened one breaks through the dark like a sapling breaking ground—its reach mirroring its roots. The self-conscious one darts like a rabbit, never in the open for long. It watches for others and watches itself chew. But the embodied one lives like a turtle crossing back and forth from deep to surface; in full praise on the bottom, humble when it breaks into the world. Each is beautiful and worthy, one no more holy than the other. And we are each: part stone, part sapling, part rabbit, part turtle.” His students were busy identifying themselves and one dropped his head, unable to find himself anywhere. This opened the rabbi further, “Don’t despair. For trees grow out of stone. And rabbits will chew from their leaves. And love itself will awaken the turtle hiding in every stone.”
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