Once a bullfrog was looked to by many who sought a spiritual master. Drawn by word of the bullfrog’s sonorous croak and serene pose as it sat on a lily pad surveying an old pond from beneath lowered eyelids, large crowds showed up to line the shore, adopt what they took to be a frog squat, and squint soulfully back in its direction. The only time they shifted their gaze was to assure themselves that nobody around them had a more committed squat or more soulful squint. Though quite a few were able to manage both of these after a fashion, none had the confidence to attempt the bullfrog’s awe-inspiring croak. Instead, they concentrated on counting the number of times it blinked per minute and attributed great significance to that number, depending upon whether it was odd or even. Differences of opinion in this regard could, and often did, result in disdainful glances and sometimes even under-the-breath denunciations of insufficient effort being exchanged. Whenever the bullfrog shot out its long tongue and snatched something from the air, it noticed that a number of the more earnest members of the crowd attempted to follow its lead. They looked exceedingly awkward in their efforts, the bullfrog thought, wondering how many of them actually managed to catch anything. Out of curiosity, the bullfrog asked those nearest to it whether they were enjoying the sun that played over the pond. “The sun?” “Yes, the sun. Isn’t that why you came here? To experience fully each moment of this day’s warming light?” “No. We came here because we are seekers.” “Oh? And what is it you are seeking?” “Enlightened guidance. Ultimate understanding. We’ve come to learn the secret of your matchless croak.” “It’s just a croak, you realize.” “Ah, but we know it is much, much more.” “Really? What is it, then?” “That is what we’ve come here to learn from you.” At that instant and without the slightest warning, the bullfrog abruptly leapt into the pond. The sound of water startled the throng lining the banks. Many were for following suit and throwing themselves into the pond. Others were in favor of waiting for the bullfrog to resurface and perhaps instruct them regarding what had just happened. The bullfrog, for its part, did resurface, but at a distance and with only its eyes protruding from the water, unnoticed by all. As time passed without anything further happening, the crowds began to grow restless and then to break up and drift away. The prevailing mood was one of disappointment, of having been let down in their spiritual aspirations by the bullfrog. Even those who had thrown themselves into the pond in solemn imitation of the bullfrog, not once but two or three or four times running, began to feel they might have been mistaken, possibly deceived. Most importantly, everyone was convinced they’d lost precious time in their search for ultimate understanding. The bullfrog, all came to agreed, was clearly not spiritual-master material.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans