A man who had gone out of town returned and was shocked to find that his house was on fire.
It was one of the most beautiful houses in town, and the man loved his house with all his heart. Many people had offered to buy it and had even been willing to pay twice the price for the house, but he had never agreed to sell it for any price. Now it was burning before his eyes and was worthless.
Hundreds of people had gathered, but nothing could be done. The fire had spread so far that even if put out, nothing would be saved. The man was overcome with sadness.
Just then his son came running and whispered something in his ear, "Don't be worried father. I sold our house yesterday and at a very good price ? three times. The offer was so good I could not wait for you. Please forgive me."
The man said, "Thank God, it is not ours now!" Then he suddenly relaxed and became a silent witness, just like the hundreds of others present.
Just a moment ago he was not a witness, he was attached. It was the same house... the same fire.... everything was the same... but now he was no longer concerned.
Just then his second son came there, and he said to his father, "What are you doing? You seem relaxed ? our house is on fire!" The man said, "Don't you know, your brother has sold it." His son responded, "But we have taken only a small advance amount, not settled fully yet. I doubt now that the man is going to purchase it now."
Tears which had disappeared, reappeared in the man's eyes, his smile vanished, his heart began beating faster. The witness had disappeared. He was attached once again.
Then his third son came, and he said, "Father, we are fortunate for that man is a man of his word. I have just come from him. He said, 'It doesn't matter whether the house is burnt or not, it is mine. And I am going to pay the price that I have settled for. Neither you, nor I knew that the house would catch fire. So I will honor my commitment.'"
Again the joy came back and family returned to being quiet witnesses of the experience! The attachment to the house wasn't there any more.
Outwardly nothing had changed. The house had been burning all along. Just the thought "I am the owner! I am not the owner of the house!" kept changing and had made the whole difference.
This story of the burning house illustrates that stress and suffering are never caused by the events of our life alone, they are caused by our thoughts and perceptions about the events of our life. What the thinker thinks, the prover proves.
Many times each day ask the powerful question "Who would I be without all my stories?" This enables us to find peace and balance in the midst of our life. It allows us to remain witnesses and to respond with clarity and without strong emotional charge in the diverse situations of our life.
May you silently witness all changes. May life witness itself, without barriers.