Hearts of Stone


A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.

The next day, she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.”I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

This story is called “The Wise Woman’s Stone.”

I think the stone in this story is our heart. More particularly, the love we hold in our heart. It is our most valuable possession, and we are daily given opportunities to give it to someone in need or to hold it back.

I see love being withheld everywhere. I hold it back myself at times. When I hold it back it’s always out of fear or some part of my small self trying to protect itself or defend itself by putting up a wall, a shield, or a protective barrier.

Seeing this blockage pains me, both when I see it in myself and when I see it in others, because I know that when we hold back our hearts or withhold our love we are not just blocking love from exiting.

We are blocking love from entering.

There are so many great reasons to blockade our hearts. I’m sure you can think of instances or people in your life that you’d rather not love or let in for one reason or another.

Feel the hardness that creeps through your body when you bring them to mind. I can actually feel a physical hardening happen in my body at times. My muscles tense up, my jaw tightens.

Every time I feel that hardening I remind myself to soften. Not to open right away, or perhaps ever, but just to soften. Soften the tiniest bit to that old grudge, that old wound, that old judgement.

And it’s not for the other person’s benefit so much as it is for my benefit.

Softening my heart allows me to receive more and to give more.

It does wonders for my inner and outer world. It does wonders for my state of mind and my state of being.

Just as the ocean can wear down boulders over time, I am always surprised at the miracles positive reinforcement, repetition, and even the smallest doses of love can effect over time.

It takes radical courage to put down our guard, to forgive, and to expose both our need for love and our true capacity to love.

It is a wise human being that can love unconditionally, without exception, and without judgement.

I am so grateful to the wise beings I have crossed paths with that have shared their precious stones with me when I was in need.

I endeavor to pass it on every day.

photo credit: kittykatfish

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