“I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”
― Hermann Hesse,
This quote really stands out from what I’ve heard, in addition you have to really dig into to understand it. These are tools that make the human being very powerful and flexible.
Certainly, values of great significance to the one who can use them wisely.
Fasting –to be able to endure difficulties and have a high level of endurance
Thinking – good decision making and awareness
Waiting – the ability to be patient
The quote comes from novel “Siddhartha”, which deals with the spiritual journey of a young man named Siddhartha during the time of Buddha. At a point in the book, the protagonist has a conversation with a merchant and it goes like this:
“That seems to be the way of things. Everyone takes, everyone gives. Life is like that” (said Siddhartha)“Ah, but if you are without possessions, how can you give?”(the merchant)“Everyone gives what he has. The soldier gives strength, the merchant goods, the teacher instructions, the farmer rice, the fisherman fish.”“Very well and what can you give? What have you learned that you can give”(the merchant asks of Siddhartha)“I can think, I can wait, I can fast.”“Is that all?”
“I think that is all.”
“And of what use are they? For example, fasting, what good is that?”
“It is of great value, sir. If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do. If, for instance, Siddhartha had not learned to fast, he would have had to seek some kind of work today, either with you, or elsewhere, for hunger would have driven him. But, as it is, Siddhartha can wait calmly. He is not impatient, he is not in need, he can ward off hunger for a long time and laugh at it. Therefore, fasting is useful, sir.”
Can you think?
Are you aware of your thoughts all the time? Do you know what is the voice in your head saying? We can all think a lot but at the same time that’s the problem. In other words, we think too much about unnecessary things, we focus on things that have rather no meaning to us, we gossip, we judge, we do things that are completely irrelevant. And this is happening because that’s the way we have been conditioned, we think it’s normal, but it’s not. Nothing is more destructive and harmful than a mind that is on an “autopilot” mode.
Can you fast?
Fasting is a great method for cleansing the body and the mind. It’s basically not eating any food for a period of time in order to detoxify and strengthen yourself. There are a lot of spiritual and psychology positive effects behind it.
Fasting increases our endurance, patience and will power. There is a deeper meaning behind the practice, it’s not just not eating anything for some time. While fasting, we deliberately put ourselves in a state of dependence. Fasting teaches us not to be afraid of discomfort but to actually welcome it. We start to discover new things, to feel new things and to be more aware of our bodies.
Can you wait?
To wait means to be patient, to listen, to observe and to watch. Respecting the pace of life, the evolution of things and the universal journey. Good things come to those who wait. Siddhartha was a smart man and he was patient.
This value is a key to a happy life, because having patience means being calm in the face of frustration and fear.
Having patience means that you trust the universe and your journey. Things will come to you when you are ready.
See the bigger picture, because we are all on a journey. Our stories may rhyme, however they are all different, we are all different. Furthermore, we are here to help each other and support each other. To spread love, happiness, and positive waves.