A young man was walking along the shore of the sea. The beach was of pebbles. A wisened old man approached him. “I’ll give you one million dollars if you bring me a touchstone”. The young man paused. “What is a touchstone?” “It looks like any other stone, but when you hold it in the palm of your hand it feels extremely hot”.

The young man wanders down towards the shore and starts picking up pebbles. Initially he takes a moment to feel each stone, but as he gets into the process he becomes so busy picking up stones and throwing them into the sea that he doesn’t really have time to feel each individual stone.

The young man returns to the beach day after day, week after week. The seasons change and the years go by. Daily he picks up stones and throws them into the sea.

One day, a day where the young man is no longer young, about mid-morning he picks up a touchstone – but he is so busy in his process of picking and throwing, picking and throwing that he hardly notices the extreme heat of the touchstone.

He continues to the end of his life, but never again picks up a touchstone.


Have you picked up a touchstone recently?  Would you know it if you saw it?


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