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Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn't Always Obvious or Easy

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.

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    • Thank you, Bart! I’m really happy you enjoyed it! 🙂

      I think there is so much nature can teach us about life — so many lessons and so many morals to learn. We only need to look for them and ask ourselves how we can apply them to life!

  1. Hey Raam – I too thought this was just one of those perfect posts. Ever since I took a meditation course many years ago, I’ve dedicated myself to maintaining a level of equanimity in my life. And being able to remain unattached from the highs and lows of life, has allowed me to stay focused on my goals and ensure that my life is controlled by me, not by my fleeting emotions.

    What is also amazing to me is that you made the above observation of calmness in a country that is so often associated with chaos and intensity! Yet that is India, always providing wisdom in unexpected ways.

    • Thank you, Earl!

      Being fully present and aware of each moment definitely enhances life in general. When we’re traveling to new places, maintaining that awareness makes the experience even more rewarding and we learn and see so much more!

      The area where I’ve been staying for the past month and a half is definitely nothing like the bigger cities (an educated guess, not from experience) and I’m sure I will be experiencing plenty of that chaos and intensity when I go through Mumbai and New Delhi next month! 🙂

  2. Loving it Raam! I really needed this today. It must have felt like such a gift to witness this perfection of patience, humility and … well… perfection in the small.

    Thanks for bringing this to me.

    • Thank you, Ali! I’m really happy to hear this is what you needed. 🙂

      Every day that I spend being fully present and aware of my surroundings feels like a gift unto itself.

  3. I love this, how we can learn lessons from the simplest things in nature, if we’re willing to keep our eyes and minds open to them.

    “Tiny steps” or “baby steps” are phrases that comes up so often in how to get where you want to be. Steady, determined, daily progress, one foot after the other can get you anywhere.

    I love the second paragraph especially, it sets the scene for your observations beautifully.

    Thanks Raam.

    • Hi Dan! Thank you so much for the comment!

      Nature has so much to teach us and if we remember that we’re apart of nature — that we’re all living on and sustained by the exact same resources as everything else — then we can see how examples in nature can and should be applied to our daily lives. Recognizing how the rest of nature works enables us to live in harmony not only with ourselves and the world around us, but also with each other.

Webmentions

  • Justin Lane April 30, 2010

    RT @raamdev: Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn't Always Obvious or Easy http://bit.ly/g5fcGV

  • David Turnbull April 30, 2010

    I'm about 3 months behind, but @raamdev's "Lessons from a Crab" is brilliant: http://bit.ly/csbhGx

  • 10 Bloggers Talk About Personal Development April 30, 2010

    […] was in a jungle cooling down by a river when I became inspired by a crab and wrote a post about how the right path in life isn’t always obvious or easy. Other times, I will read a blog post or a comment written by another blogger and it will trigger a […]

  • Video: Follow Your Inner Compass April 30, 2010

    […] enough, it was in this same spot that I learned and wrote about lessons from a crab on how the right path in life isn’t always obvious or easy. I think that’s an important lesson to keep in mind when following our […]

  • Sid Savara April 30, 2010

    Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn’t Always Obvious or Easy http://bit.ly/97ayae by @raamdev

  • The First Step to Making a Difference April 30, 2010

    […] Follow your heart and intuition and they will guide you. If it feels like they’re guiding you towards mistakes, then those mistakes are probably vital to your growth and progress. The right path in life isn’t always obvious or easy. […]

  • The Muthafuckin Dame April 30, 2010

    Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn’t Always Obvious or Easy http://bit.ly/a08gS5

  • Ali Starbright April 30, 2010

    #FF "Live simply, balance life and explore existence" with @RaamDev – very nice post this week: http://bit.ly/bFmyQi

  • Dan Goodwin April 30, 2010

    Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn't Always Obvious or Easy http://bit.ly/clnEsP via @raamdev <__Both poetic and insightful…

  • Bart Jacobs April 30, 2010

    Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn't Always Obvious or Easy – http://bit.ly/clnEsP (via @raamdev)

  • Joshua Hitchcock April 30, 2010

    RT @raamdev: Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn't Always Obvious or Easy – http://bit.ly/clnEsP

  • Ali Starbright April 30, 2010

    Lessons from a Crab: The Right Path in Life isn't Always Obvious or Easy – http://bit.ly/clnEsP (via @raamdev)