Once upon a time, a man had finished evening prayers and stood contemplating the night sky. The stars were clear and bright, and seemed to fill the sky solidly with lights. The man considered how each star was bigger than our world, and so distant from us across vast reaches of space. He thought of how we are so easily filled with our own importance, when we are just specks of dust. Thinking of the immensity of the universe, and filled with awe and reverence for power so great, the man spontaneously fell to his knees and cried “I am nothing! I am nothing!”
At that very moment, a certain well-to-do man of the town, walked in. He was a kind man who wished to be thought very devout. He cared more for what people thought of him than for what he actually was. Seeing and hearing the first man on his knees, he rushed over, looking around in the hope someone was there to see him. He knelt, and with a final hopeful glance at the door through which he had just come, cried, “I am nothing! I am nothing!”
Just at that moment a poor man from the edge of the village entered through a side door. He was a sweeper and was beginning his night’s work. He saw the two men, and, being a man of true faith and honest simplicity, his face showed that he entertained some of the same thoughts that the first man had experienced. He dropped his broom and fell to his knees in a shadowed corner, and said softly, “I am nothing…I am nothing!”
The well-to-do man nudged the first man with his elbow and said out of the side of his mouth, “Look who thinks he’s nothing!”
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