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The Guru

     Once upon a time, there was a traveler looking for a guru.  After a long journey, they found where the guru was.  The traveler knocked on the guru’s door, and the guru answered.

     “O Great Guru!” said the traveler.  “I hear you have much wisdom and knowledge, and you share it freely.  I’ve come a long way to learn from you.”

     The guru looked at them for a long time.  Just as the traveler was about to speak, the guru raised a hand to stop them.  Closing their eyes, the guru said:

     “Go away.”

     And shut the door.

     The traveler was flabbergasted.  They knocked on the door, harder this time.

     “GURU!” they cried.  “Please!  I’ve come so far!”

     The guru opened the door and looked at the traveler calmly.  They looked them up and down, then straight into their eyes.

     “PLEASE!” the person exclaimed, almost grabbing the guru.  “I’ll do anything you ask!  I’ll work for you, I’ll clean your home, I’ll cook your food!”

     The guru sighed heavily.

     “OK, come in.  I could use some tea.”

     For weeks and months the person studied with the guru.  They listened closely to everything the guru said.  They worked and cleaned and cooked.  They practiced for long hours, sometimes without any food or rest for what seemed like days.

     Finally, one day, they felt they had learned everything they needed to know from the guru.  They felt a huge sense of pride and accomplishment and were certain the guru would wish them well.

     On a bright and beautiful morning, they approached the guru.

     “O Great Guru, I have learned so much from you.  But I must be going.  Thank you so much for all you have taught me!”

     The guru looked up calmly from their morning tea at them, up and down, then straight into their eyes.

     The guru frowned, shrugged and nodded.

     “OK, have a safe journey.”

     And went back to drinking their tea.

     The person blinked and exhaled a bit through their nose.  “Hmph,” they thought.

     And went away.

     After many weeks and months of going all over the world, the traveler returned to the guru.  They knocked on the guru’s door, and the guru answered.

     “O Great Guru…I traveled the entire world over, and found that half the things I learned from you were worthless!  And half of the other half were almost worthless, and the other half of the first half I barely needed at all!  I think I left you too early.  I need to learn more!”

     The guru raised their eyebrows.

     “Yes, obviously!"

     They paused.

     ". . . So why did you come back here?”

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