On the way to the remote farmhouse where I’m staying in Ujire, India, there is a small stream that crosses the road. It’s a beautiful and calm place, surrounded by dense forest with just enough opening in the canopy to let a few rays of light through.
Big and beautiful butterflies are abundant, floating high above on black and yellow wings. An endless array of birds, their exact whereabouts hidden by the thick greenery, call out and sing in an acoustic dance.
A short distance upstream, there is a pool of water that collects underneath a stone ledge, measuring about twenty feet wide by four feet tall. Feeding the pool, a small waterfall runs in, adding to the surreal beauty of the place.
Several times a week, I walk down to this area to cool down in the pool. Today, just after easing into the water, I looked over and noticed a crab, about six inches in diameter, hanging on the steepest section of the ledge, about halfway up.
At first I thought it must be dead — that section was a sheer slab of rock and there was practically nothing and nowhere to hold on!
Then I saw him move. It wasn’t much, but he was definitely moving. As I watched him search for even the tiniest crevice to grab onto, I wondered why he didn’t choose an easier section of the ledge. The area off to the left was half the height and was littered with plenty of crevices and cracks.
That’s when I realized why he chose the area he did: Other than the area right underneath the waterfall, it was the only section of the ledge that was damp and wet. He needed to climb there to prevent drying out.
Two thirds the way up, I watched as he discovered that his current path had no route to the top. After taking what seemed to be a short break, he slowly climbed almost all the way back down to take another route.
About an hour went by and I finally saw him approach the top. The remainder of his journey was easy and I expected to see him quickly scuttle the rest of the way.
But he didn’t. He went just as slow and carefully as he did the entire way up. He didn’t get excited and risk losing everything.
The crab made it to the top and found the stream he was looking for. It took him a long time — probably days or weeks in crab-time — but he didn’t give up. He didn’t become attached to the failed routes or mistakes. Even when he neared the top — when the finish line was right there — he remained calm and collected.
If you’re dedicated, flexible, and unattached, you can also discover your right path in life. It probably won’t be obvious and it probably won’t be easy, but the right path is there. Just remember not to get too excited and lose focus when you feel you’re coming close because you risk losing it all.