Just Out Of Habit
There is a story that when the great library of Alexandria was burned, one book was saved. But it was not a valuable book, and so a poor man, who could read a little, bought it for a few coppers. It was not very interesting, yet there was a most interesting thing in it. It was a thin strip of vellum on which was written the secret of the “touchstone”.
The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold The writing explained that it was on the shores of the Black Sea lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles which looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: the real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold. So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing the pebbles.
This was his plan: he knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebbles hundreds of times. So when he felt one that was cold he threw it into the sea. He spent a whole day doing this, and they were none of them the touchstone. Then he spent a week, a month, a year, three years… but he did not find the touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way: pick up a pebble, it’s cold, throw it into the sea… and so on and so on. Just visualize the man doing it for years and years and years — pick up a pebble, it is cold, throw it into the sea… from morning to evening, for years and years.
But one morning he picked up a pebble and it was WARM — and he threw it into the sea. He had formed the habit of throwing them into the sea, you understand, and habit made him do it when at last he found the touchstone, poor fellow.
That’s how mind functions. Trust is a touchstone. Very rarely do you find a man in whom you can trust. Very rarely do you find a heart who is warm, loving, in whom you can trust. Ordinarily you find pebbles which look like the touchstone, almost alike, but all are cold. year in, year out, from the very childhood: you pick up a pebble, you feel it, it is cold, you throw it into the ocean.
Osho -” The Divine Melody”