The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold The writing explained that it was on the shores of the Black Sea lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles which looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: the real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold. So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing the pebbles.
This was his plan: he knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebbles hundreds of times. So when he felt one that was cold he threw it into the sea. He spent a whole day doing this, and they were none of them the touchstone. Then he spent a week, a month, a year, three years…but he did not find the touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way: pick up a pebble, it’s cold, throw it into the sea…and so on and so on. Just visualize the man doing it for years and years and years – pick up a pebble, it is cold, throw it into the sea…from morning to evening, for years and years.
But one morning he picked up a pebble and it was warm – and he threw it into the sea. He had formed the habit of throwing them into the sea, you understand, and habit made him do it when at last he found the touchstone, poor fellow.
That’s how mind functions. Trust is a touchstone. Very rarely do you find a man in whom you can trust. Very rarely do you find a heart who is warm, loving, in whom you can trust. Ordinarily you find pebbles which look like the touchstone, almost alike, but all are cold. year in, year out, from the very childhood: you pick up a pebble, you feel it, it is cold, you throw it into the ocean.
One day – it is a very rare phenomenon – you come across a real touchstone. You pick it up, it is warm, but still you throw it. Then you cry and weep, then you cannot understand how it happened – but it is a simple mechanism. From the very childhood you are brought up to mistrust. You are brought up in such a way that you cannot trust. Doubt has been put deep into your being. In fact, it is a survival measure: if you don’t doubt, you will not be able to survive. You have to look at the world with hostile eyes, as if everybody is your enemy. Nobody is warm, nobody is a touchstone. You cannot even trust your own parents. And the child by and by comes to know that nobody is there who can be trusted. The parents are very contradictory; they say one thing, they do another thing. The child feels confused. It is very difficult for the child to figure it out, what the mother really wants. In fact, the mother herself does not know. And the child again and again feels that it is impossible to trust anybody.
Just the other day, I was reading a memoir. An old woman relates one incident of her youth when her first child was born. The child was very curious, as children are, and one day the child asked, “Mummy, what is marriage?” He was looking into a book, a colored book of pictures, in which he had come across the word marriage. He became very curious; he said, “What is marriage?”