From Dr. Yukari’s Listening Lounge #2-1, “Of Heaven and Hell: The Parable of the Long Spoons”

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~ Stories that open your heart ~

“Of Heaven and Hell: The Parable of the Long Spoons” January 14, 2021


In Hell, spirits have found themselves in a predicament where one arm is tied to a long spoon, while the other arm is tied behind their chairs. In front of them, lies a beautiful feast including various soups. The spirits use all of their might to feed themselves to no avail. Due to the length of the spoons, they are unable to feed themselves. Despite their repeated efforts, no spirit is able to get food to their mouths. Day after day, the spirits begin to starve and suffer from devastating hunger.


In Heaven, the spirits have found themselves in a similar situation. They too, have found their one arm tied to a long spoon while the other arm is tied behind their chairs. Unlike the spirits in Hell, the spirits in Heaven seemed content. In Heaven, they have worked together to feed each other with the long spoon. When one gives the other food, the other gives food back to you.


The story of the long spoon is found in several cultures including Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism. Based on the culture, the long spoon may be substituted with a long fork or a set of chopsticks. Although the origins of the story is unknown, some Americans believe that the story was first told by one of the founding fathers: Benjamin Franklin. This notable story teaches us that the key to happiness, along with having a true sense of contentment, goes back our selfless actions.

The acknowledged story helps us understand our current challenges in a different light. Throughout my life coaching practice, I have heard clients complain about a difficult situation. Similar to the spirits in Heaven and Hell, they are metaphorically tied to both the spoon and the chair. Instead of being discouraged, we must examine other options to overcome the presented obstacle. Similar to the spirits in Hell, we often yearn to fulfill our wants and needs.


Given a difficult situation, I often ask my clients what would be a different way of looking at their current predicament. If we are not satisfied with our current method, what are other ways of expanding our options? In order to overcome our given problems, we must think outside the box. Instead of seeking to fulfill our own needs, perhaps we can work to fulfill the needs of others. Perhaps if we start giving to others, what we receive in return, may be far more beautiful.