If the Mountain Does Not Come to You
By Wang Tuan-cheng (王端正)
Photo by Hsiao Yiu-hwa (蕭耀華)
Abridged and translated by Wu Hsiao-ting (吳曉婷)
A prophet said to a crowd of people, “Do you believe that I can get that mountain up ahead to come to me?”
Everyone shook their heads, saying, “No, that’s impossible.”
The prophet said, “Okay, just you wait and see. I’m now calling that mountain over.”
A hush fell over the crowd. Everyone watched with their eyes wide open.
“Come here, mountain!” the prophet bellowed. But the mountain remained motionless. Everyone looked at each other, not knowing what to think.
Unfazed, the prophet called out again, “Mountain, come over here this instant!” The mountain remained stock-still. People began to whisper among themselves. Despite their murmuring, the prophet was unaffected, looking as confident as before. He said to the gathering, “She’ll definitely come to me when I call out to her one more time.”
He tried again, this time in a louder voice. “Mountain, behave yourself and come over.” Still, the mountain didn’t move an inch. This time, the crowd erupted into ruthless jeers and bitter sneers for the prophet.
His smile didn’t waver for even a second. Slowly and surely, he said to the people, “Okay, since the mountain will not come to me, I’ll go to her.” With that, he walked toward the mountain in big strides, his head held high.
What is the moral of this story? Though we may not be able to change our circumstances, we can change our response to those circumstances.
As a matter of fact, circumstances never change for us. It is always we who have to adapt to the circumstances. That’s what the prophet meant when he said, “Since the mountain will not come to me, I’ll go to her.”