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What is Your Nature: Are You a Frog, a Scorpion or a Monk?

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What is Your Nature: Are You a Frog, a Scorpion or a Monk?

We had been traveling around the world and came back to visit with Ed’s family. We told them a scary story of when we were on a train in India. It was very crowded and Ed had to put his arm around Deb so we could sit closer together and make more space. In India, traditionally, men are not meant to touch a woman in public, and this move triggered a negative reaction in one of the men on the train. He started getting quite abusive and angry, even violent towards Deb, as he saw her as behaving like a prostitute.

We were sharing this story to our extended family as an example of the misunderstandings that can occur when traveling in different cultures, but it triggered Ed’s cousin to fall into an old family pattern of making Ed wrong, even though it wasn’t his fault. Many of you might have that with your family. She started shouting that he should have known better than to put his arm around Deb and got quite upset at what she perceived as his bad behavior. When asked to stop shouting, she replied, “I can’t. This is just the way I am!”

Ed’s cousin is no different than the way many of us are. It is very natural to have the tendency to see ourselves as fixed or unchangeable. Perhaps you have heard this story about a frog and a scorpion:

One day a frog was sitting happily by the side of the river when a scorpion came along.

“Oh Mr. Frog,” said the scorpion, “I need to get to the other side of the river to be with my family. Will you please carry me across?”

“But Mr. Scorpion, if I do that, then you will sting me!” replied the frog, somewhat aghast at the request.

“No, I won’t,” said the scorpion.

“Do you promise?” asked a rather doubtful frog.

“I really promise! I will not sting you,” said the scorpion.

“Do you really, really promise?” asked a still-dubious frog.

“Yes, I really promise,” replied the scorpion, very sincerely.

“Okay,” the frog said reluctantly. “Hop on.”

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Ed and Deb Shapiro

You can learn more in our book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie and others. Our 3 meditation CD’s: Metta—Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi–Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra–Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at:


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2:50PM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

Thanks for sharing

6:28AM PST on Nov 5, 2012

Thank you

7:43AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

According to my star sign, I should be a scorpion...

2:02AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

How annoying that people won't change, it's not that they can't. I know of a man that behaved exactly like he's dad, yet, he loathed him! I said once, why are you like that when you don like how he was, he's answer was, well, it's in my genes! I think if you cannot change a situation we must adapt.

5:08PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Hmmm... depends on the situation.

12:09PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

Thank you

10:59PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Well, I'm not a frog. I learned you don't do anybody any favors by allowing them to put it on the karmic wheel at your expense What goes around comes around. Took a lot of learning, almost killed me but I l learned.

I'm not a monk. Co-dependent no more! Why co-operate with the law of "your karma will get you!" I'm not going to take a sneaky revenge by allowing my enemy to hurt me.

I'm not a scorpion! I'm afflicted with a conscious.

I'm just me.

10:58AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

tammy B. that does happen but
The point is what is our basic nature!

4:09AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

can a person exhibit the different personalities around different people?

9:25PM PST on Jan 20, 2012

I remember Forest Whitaker telling this tale in The Crying Game when I was a child- and it frustrated me then as its new (to me) ending is again now. Why doesn't the monk know you can only live by example and why does the scorpion "know" it cannot change (whilst the frog does believe) especially if this article is about being able to change? Also, you might like the DVD "Playing for Change"- its very inspiring and available at many libraries. I have played it for a few and have witnessed some joyful change. Thank you for the thought provoking article.

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So adorable , thanks for sharing


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