Tara Brach shares this story:
It was the coldest winter ever – so cold that many animals froze to death.
In an effort to save themselves from this icy fate, the porcupines decided to gather together to fend off the chill.
They huddled close to each other, covered and protected from the elements, and warmed by their collective body heat.
But their prickly quills proved to be a bit of a problem in close proximity – they poked and stabbed each other, wounding their closest companions.
The warmth was wonderful, but the mutual needling became increasingly uncomfortable. Eventually, they began to distance themselves one from the other, scattering in the forest only to end up alone and frozen. Many died.
It soon became clear that they would have to choose between solitary deaths in the frigid wilderness and the discomfort of being needled by their companions’ quills when they banded together.
Wisely, they decided to return to the huddle. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their fellows, in order to benefit from the collective heat they generated as a group. In this way they were able to survive.
You can hear the whole talk on the divine abode of compassion here:
You can find over 3 years of weekly dharma talks here. I listen to one every morning via Pocket Casts for Android — iPhone users have their own built in podcasting mechanism; either way, I recommend you add Tara’s feed…