Carrying The Burden? Three Stories…

A wise old monk and a younger monk were traveling together. In their travels, they came to the banks of a river. As the monks were about to cross the river, they saw a beautiful young lady in a traditional kimono, looking  to cross the turbulent river as well. As there was no bridge to cross over or a boat to take her across, the lady asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.

Then, without a word, the older wise monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carries on his 
journey. 

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.

Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman. How could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river and forgot about her, why are you still carrying her (in your mind)?”

*****

Once there was a free bird.

She soared through the sky, relishing the feel of the wind beneath her winds, the sensation of the rain as it dashed on top of her, and the views of the rising and setting sun.

However, when anything caused the bird sadness, she would pick up a stone and keep it with her. At the end of day she sorted through her stones, laughing at memories of joyful events, and crying at the sad ones.

She always took the stones with her, whether she was flying in the sky or walking on the earth, she never forgot about them.

As the years passed, this free bird accumulated a lot of stones. Still she kept soaring by day, sorting by night, until one day, the weight of the stones caused her beloved flight to become impossible.

This free bird, Queen of the skies, could no longer match the speed of the wind. She could not even manage to walk the earth. All she could do was sit completely still, endlessly poring over her stones…

*****

This simple Zen story has a beautiful message that reminds us about living in the present moment. How often do we carry around past hurts, holding onto resentments when the only person we are really hurting is ourselves. We chose to ruminate over past actions or events, but just like the bird in the story it ultimately weigh us down and sap our energy.  Osho said “Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you’ll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You’ll see that no one else other than you was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.”

We can choose to let go of what doesn’t serve us anymore and concentrate on the present moment. Until we can find a level of peace and happiness in the present circumstances of our lives, we will never be content, because ‘now’ is all we will ever have.

*****

I was watching the movie ‘Kung-fu Panda’ with my twins the other day.

It is the story of a panda bear- Po who leaves home because he does not want to follow his fathers footsteps of making noodles and wants to become a dragon warrior. However, self doubt creeps in along the way and he is wallowing in self-pity about his inadequacies to face the challenge of becoming a kung-fu warrior.

As he is sulking, Grand Master Oogway, the wise old turtle walks over to him and tells the disillusioned panda.

“Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.

Oogway: Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”

Profound words of wisdom…..Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “PRESENT”

***********************************************************************

Carl Jung rightly pointed out: “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” An Arab proverb states that you should write the bad things that happen to you in the sand, so that they can be easily erased from your memory. However, most of us engrave the bad things that happen to us in marble; therefore, our painful memories remain immortalized in our minds.We walk around with our failures, our mistakes, our disappointments, and our hurts from the past shackled around our ankles, weighing us down.

Its time for a cleaning. So grab your broom, shovel or dust buster and let’s roll…

 

 

Martin Luther put it. He said “You can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.”

On a serious note here is Deepak Chopra explaining the process of letting go….

 

And here is Bobby McFerrin… sadly one of them (the most talented Robin Williams) gave up on life last year

 

Scouring the web countless nuggets of wisdom to let go of the accumulated past and move on. Many to reflect upon…

Forgive yourself, forgive others, empty your cup, meditate, flex, understand, accept, contribute, self belief, be grateful,align to core values, don’t judge, be positive, get closure, live a clutter free life, choose carefully what you pack, get closure…empathize with the people we’re judging, don’t take things so personally, look for the positive in everyone and everything, put the mirror on yourself, have mercy on those you judge get closure, recognize it’s time to let go, acknowledge the emotions, let Go of anger and resentment. let go of guilt.

After all, New Beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.

— Lao Tzu

 

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