Once upon a time, there was a man who just couldn’t find even a glimpse of happiness in his life. He spent most of his time chasing after vain pursuits. One day he was taking a long walk in the woods and he saw a small, frugal shanty which was occupied by a very humble monk. This wanderer decided to knock on the door to see if anyone was there, and to his surprise, a very thin man opened the door and invited him in. The place was furnished scantily, but the man inside seemed to have a glow about him.
This miserable man talked to the monk at some length about his sadness and emptiness. The humble monk responded in this peculiar way: “Go get some feathers at the chicken farm down the road a ways, and then go to every doorstep of the people you have conversed with in the last month. Just leave one feather at each doorstep, and then come back tomorrow.”
This man did what was suggested and returned the following morning to see this strange man with the glow. When he knocked on the door, the old monk asked him if he had done what was asked of him. He told him he did. Now the monk responded in this way: “Now go and retrieve all the feathers you left at all the doorsteps of those you have been acquainted with, and return back here tomorrow.”
So the unhappy man set out once again to retrieve all the feathers, and behold, no feathers could be found, not even one. He kept looking but found nothing. Eventually, he tired of this and went home. The next morning, he went to the monk’s shanty and knocked. Like before, he was invited in. The monk asked him if he had retrieved all the feathers. The miserable and worn-out fellow told him that it was very windy and all of the feathers had blown away. The monk then proceeded to tell this man that nothing we do or say can ever be retrieved, but that we can change our sentiments and direction and to be kind to everyone we come in contact with. Remember that everyone we meet is fighting a great battle.