Two Zen monks were travelling from one monastery to another. On their way they came to a river swollen with the rains. By the bank was a young woman in distress. She needed to get across this normally accessible river to the other side and did not know how. The younger of the monks quickly assessed the situation. Picking the young woman up in his arms, he carried her across the river and put her down on the other bank. Taking their leave, the monks continued on their journey. They walked all day with the older monk becoming more and more distressed and agitated. Just before they reached their destination, the older monk could contain himself no longer and exploded
“Brother, how could you? How could you do that? It is forbidden in our order to touch a woman, how could you carry her across the river like that?”
To which the younger monk responded “Brother, I picked her up, carried her across the river and put her down on the other side. You have been carrying her all day.”
I first heard this story many years ago. It is such a wonderful illustration of the things we hold on to that have no possible benefit to us anymore.
Two people experiencing the same event will interpret and store that experience very differently. How we perceive something then becomes the story. We all have many, many stories. If we see the situation as negative or as a grievance, we then replay this story to ourselves many times and relay it to all who will listen. This is frequently governed by the fact that we feel we are RIGHT. The need to be right is so very powerful and drives many of our behaviours and choices. Stories are not easy to let go of—with the feeling of being right there is a sense of injustice that we hold onto, in the effort to find some resolution.
When we keep repeating stories from the past, we bring the experience into our present and keep creating it in our future.
It is worth asking “What stories am I repeating to myself and to those around me? Has the repetition brought me an outcome which as been beneficial? If not, is it worth letting that story go?”
Create a new story with the outcome you desire. Try telling that one for a while and see if there is a shift in what happens around you.
Remember: Where attention goes
Energy flows and
You may as well give your attention and flow your energy to what you do want rather than sending it to what you DON’T want.
Love & joy