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Apr 2016
Contemplating life
over a hot bowl of soup,
my mindful mentor
passed me
the pleasure of oyster
to mix in with
the pain of chilies
stirred together by
chopsticks held in my hands.

There he taught me
the lesson of humanity
and the person's potential,
pointing at me
and then back at the bean sprout,
fiddling it in his chopsticks
as if he were God,
mentioning to me
"This sprout and you have plenty alike..."

"What do you mean?
How am I like a vegetable?"

He smiled and nodded to disagree,
"Life is not always physical.
Think for a second,
open your fragile closed mind.
Imagine this soup not just a bowl
but instead a cauldron,
the mixing of different elements,
sensations seared by heat
to create the luxuries we call
the world where you
are a mere bean sprout."

Looking at the small, colorless
tasteless, inferior plant,
I wondered, confused and asked:
"Am I so inferior in this world
that I cannot compare
to the rich flavor of beef,
to the nurturing noodles,
to the accenting spices,
but instead am no more
than a flavorless root?"

Yet my mentor laughed,
and patiently passed:
"You worry too much young one,
too much on yourself you blame.
Instead, take upon consideration
that the bean sprout is small,
fragile, tasteless like water;
there is nothing you can change
other than size and color,
but lower it into the soup
and patiently stir,
allow it to soak up the world
and obtain its potential."

I repeated his actions,
placed myself in the world,
sat patient and absorbed its essence,
and then removed it,
placed it to my lips.
Surprised that what I later discovered
was not a bland taste of disappointment arose
but instead what lingered to the tongue
was the sweet taste of near perfection.
Hao Nguyen
Written by
Hao Nguyen  Fargo, ND
(Fargo, ND)   
2.1k
 
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