What do you desire as much as you need air?

Socrates was a famous teacher and students came to be taught by him. One young man came to Socrates and said, “I have come sixteen hundred miles to talk to you about wisdom and learning. You are a man of wisdom and learning, and I would like to be a man of wisdom and learning. Would you teach me the purpose of life?” Socrates told the young man to meet him at the seashore. The young man eagerly obeyed. Socrates did not stop on the shore but walked into the water until he was waist deep. The young student followed Socrates into the water. Socrates then took the young man by the neck and submerged his head under water and held it there. The student did not resist as he believed Socrates must be trying to teach him a lesson.  After a few seconds it was evident Socrates was not going to release his head so he could come up out of the water. The young scholar fought to free himself but was not successful. Finally, he collapsed. At that moment Socrates carried the student out of the water and left him on the shore. When the young man recovered, he was confused about what had just happened.  He returned to the marketplace to pursue Socrates to inquire about this unusual experience. In response, Socrates asked, “When your head was under the water, what was the one thing you wanted more than anything else?” The young man answered, “More than anything else I wanted air.” Socrates countered, “When you want wisdom and learning like you wanted air, you will not need to ask anybody to give it to you.”

Hindsight will reveal you are where the young scholar was at the point in his life when he sought wisdom as desperately as air. Your revelation may not be as dramatic as that of Socrates’ student, but you will just suddenly know you have transcended your breakthrough. A more realistic question may resemble, “When your back was up against the wall, what was one thing you wanted more than anything?” or “If you had just one wish granted, what do you desire as much as you need air?”