Saturday, April 2, 2011

Squishing Frogs

Have you ever squished a frog? I am going to say, "yes. you have squished lots of frogs in your life." I know, because I have too. Let me explain with an old Zen story:

A very young and devout Zen priest needed to relieve himself during the evening. He went out into the dark night, did his business and upon returning to his quarters stepped on something extremely squishy. The thoughts went through his head that he had stepped on a frog...and not just a frog, but a frog full of eggs. He felt really bad as he had taken a vow of not killing. Not wishing to disturb anyone he vowed to return in the morning to clean up the mess.

All night long he tossed and turned in bed, worrying about breaking his vows of not killing. He even had a horrific dream of frogs chasing him and wanting him dead. Upon the break of dawn he rushed out to where he squished the frog only to discover he had stepped on a rotten eggplant! His eyes were opened and now he "understood."

Can you see you how have squished frogs? I've done this so many times in my life as well. The biggest frog I ever squished was when I needed a job 8 years ago after getting laid off from my previous job. We had lost a major contract in our agency and I had least seniority, so I was given a severance and let go. The job search wasn't easy, but a job for a child therapist opened up on a nearby reservation. My wife encouraged me to apply but I told her my specialty is not working with children and plus I am not sure if I would even like working on a reservation. I was imagining a whole bunch of negatives.

My wife, in her sweetest kick butt voice said, "You need a job. Fake it till you make it" So I applied. During the interview I discovered it was the wrong ad in the paper and they were looking for someone with my skills....ah, eggplants. What a relief. To make a long story short, I got the job and have been there ever of the longest and best jobs I have ever had.

If I would have not applied due to my squishing frogs delusion, I would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to work in a great community and meet some really fantastic people. How many of us live in these delusions without ever going into the daylight and seeing that all along we have just been stepping on eggplants?

So, ponder how you squish frogs. Be here is where the sunshine is.

Hands palm to palm,


  1. Brilliant Story Shinzen . . I love it, and sooo accurate, I really can relate to those times I've stepped on both frogs and eggplants! Sometimes worse, ahem . . ;-)

  2. Thanks Doug...I've washing my feet a lot lately myself! :p

  3. Great post, timely as well,
    Thank you,

  4. Yes, nice post.

    There are time when my father questioned why I seemed to take "random" jobs instead of focusing on particular field. I told him, because opportunities open up for particular reason, and sometimes I'm just being curious to see where they lead.

    But yes, sometimes I feel sorry about my decision, though from previous experience, they ALWAYS lead somewhere; and I would be grateful eventually, when I finally see the bigger picture. An eggplant!

    Thanks for the reminder, Shinzen.



  5. @BD and
    @Rizal: Hands palm to 'ribbet' palm.

  6. After searching and getting turned down for jobs I didn't want but needed to have, I recently (like today's the formal "trial" day, meet the management, fingers still crossed I have the job) landed a job that after 10 years of drifting through jobs, combines all of those skills and made me super attractive for the position so I definitely know what you're talking about.

    The visual is great because I really would hate to step on a frog and seeing that it was a rotten eggplant would be such a relief.


  7. I thought that the Monk was going to realize he had stepped into his own shit. But Eggplants are good too.

  8. Squishing Shit would have been a great title for a post...alliteration is fun to play with. Hmmm...maybe we can upgrade the story! Thanks.

    When you stop and think, when we let our mind run wild we are sort of squishing shit...

  9. What a wonderful post!! I hadn't heard that frog story yet, so it was a joy to read, in and of itself.