a saucer of milk

A long time ago, before cell phones, before computers, before automobiles, there was a gurukulam (a school) in the forest. Students were taught under the auspices of the guru, on all subject matters and became learned men. This guru had a daughter, and she raised two cats.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Photo of a kitten named William hiding under a plaid
Photo by MIKHAIL VASILYEV / Unsplash

One day, as the guru was in the middle of an intense lesson, the cat meowed. Many things have changed, but cats have not changed much. They are assholes, and they will meow until you give them what they want. After trying to ignore the cat for a few minutes, the guru instructs one of his students to keep a saucer of milk outside, for the cat. The cat, its hunger sated, moves along to doing its thing. Peace reigns, and the guru is allowed to continue his teaching.

The next morning, before class is scheduled to begin, the guru instructs the students to leave out a saucer of milk so that there's no disruption in class. This becomes a daily habit.

Years go by. The guru has changed, there is no daughter or cats. But like clockwork every morning one of the students would keep a saucer of milk outside the class. No one knows why. These students were told by the older students who were there, who were in turn told by the older students. That's how it has been. That's how they've always done it.


Like these students, we are fixated upon a few patterns. We are not sure why it has to be done that way, but it has to be done. Because that's how we have always done it.

Photo by Crissy Jarvis / Unsplash

But what if the way we've always done it was wrong? Or if not wrong, pointless and out-dated?


Maybe you tell yourself you are not a morning person because as a kid you liked to sleep in. Maybe you tell yourself you are not into fitness because you were not picked in games in school, and you preferred to go to a corner and read.

What if all that's just a saucer of milk you are leaving outside the door.

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