Ever heard the old Chinese story of The Stonecutter? It goes like this:
There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with himself and his position in life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. The gateway was open, so he looked through it. He saw many fine possessions… lots of fancy things… and a bunch of high-profile people visiting.
“Man, that merchant is powerful!” he thought. And he became very envious — thinking:
“If I’d be more like that merchant, I wouldn’t have to live this life of a lowly stonecutter anymore.” And then, all of a sudden, the craziest thing happened: As if by magic, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of.
Now those less wealthy than himself envied and detested him. But then a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. No matter how wealthy, everyone had to bow low before the procession.
“Man, that official is powerful!” he thought. “I wish I could be a prominent official.”
And lo-and-behold: As if by magic, he became the official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by people all around, all of whom had to bow down before him as he passed. But it was a hot summer day, and he felt very uncomfortable in that sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun shining proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence.
“Man, that sun is powerful!” he thought. “I wish I could be the sun!”
And lo-and-behold, as if by magic, he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers.
But then a huge black storm cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below.
“Man, that storm cloud is powerful!” he thought. “I wish I could be a cloud!”
And lo-and-behold: As if by magic, he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages with rain, shouted at by everyone. But he soon found that some great force pushed him away, which he realized was the wind.
“Man, that wind is powerful!” he thought. “I wish I could be the wind!”
And he became the wind, blowing tiles of the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that refused to move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it. It was a huge, towering rock.
“Man, that rock is powerful!” he thought. “I wish I could be a rock.”
And he became the rock, more robust and powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into his solid stone, and felt himself being changed.
“Man,” he thought. “What could possibly be more powerful than me, such a big, solid, heavy rock?”
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of… a stonecutter.
** The point of the story? **
The story conveys the message that external power and material possessions do not lead to lasting happiness. No matter how high we climb or how powerful we become, there will always be something or someone greater. True fulfillment lies in accepting ourselves and finding contentment in our own being. The stonecutter learns it is through his own craftsmanship and hard work that he can derive the most meaning and highest purpose in life.
Thus, the most meaningful message in the Chinese story of the stonecutter is the importance of embracing our own identity and finding contentment and satisfaction from within, rather than constantly striving for external validation and power.
You may not realize it — but the chances are you already have everything you need to create and enjoy the life you really want. No need to add anything, tell yourself a story, or make any big changes to yourself. You just need to know how to let it all come out, and allow your dreams and desires to naturally emerge. Read Aingeal Rose’s The Book Of Manifesting to find out to do this with ease and grace!