How to become bigger than your problems | Short Buddha story & practical teaching

Rishi Dave
3 min readJul 26, 2022


A man went to the Buddha for help

A man went to the Buddha asking for help. He said ‘I don’t know how to deal with stress. I don’t want to be angry, but I end up getting very angry. Little things bother me, they trigger me and set me off.“

The Buddha said, ‘Take a cup of water, put a spoon of salt in it, sip it and tell me how it tastes.’ The man took a sip and looked like he was about to throw up.

‘It’s repulsive! He said.

Then, the buddha took him to a lake nearby, asked him to put a spoon of salt in the lake and then taste the lake water. He did. ‘How do you feel?’ The Buddha asked him after he drank from the lake.

‘Well, the water is sweet.’ he said.

And the buddha tells him, you see, it’s the same amount of salt. It’s just gone into a bigger vessel. Become big.’ Become big, and no amount of stress will be able to affect your sweetness.

To become big means to expand the amount of life in you. To expand your heart, to expand your consciousness.

Wisdom means knowing that problems never cease to exist. They are a part of life. There will always be someone difficult to deal with, something unenjoyable to do, someone sick, someone dying, ups & downs in all areas of life.

The happiest people are not the ones who don’t have problems. They are the ones who are larger than their problems. The happiest people deal with life’s problems with an open heart, and a sense of ease. They don’t resist and avoid their problems. They have the strength to face them gracefully.

So how can we increase our inner strength? How can we expand our hearts? How can we become big, as the buddha said?

Sit in Silence

A great way to do this is by sitting quietly. Cultivate the habit of just sitting, in silence, daily. Sitting totally still. If you can become totally still for even 30 minutes each day, it will help you.

Sitting quietly means that no energy is going out. The energy which is usually flowing outwards during activity, gets a chance to rest. It gets a chance to turn inward. And when it is channeled inward, it expands you. It makes you big. It expands your heart. Not your physical heart — but your spiritual heart. Sitting gives you strength. Sitting gives you centering. Sitting allows your energy to flow inward and expand. And it is this reservoir of energy that will help you to easily deal with life’s problems.

Problems always exist, even for the enlightened. But whether the problem appears as a grain of sand, or a sandstorm, depends on your inner capacity.

And this inner capacity can be built through sitting. Just sitting. Start with 30 minutes and when you begin to enjoy it, you may want to increase your sitting time daily.

Just sitting, doing nothing, eventually the mind becomes still. And to the mind that is perfectly still, the whole universe surrenders.

Thank you for reading.