Two monks are walking along a country path. They soon are met by a caravan, a group of attendants carrying their wealthy and not-so-kindly mistress and her possessions. They come to a muddy river, and cannot cross with both mistress and packages – they must put one down and cannot figure out how to do so. So the elder monk volunteers to carry the woman across the river, on his back, allowing the attendants to carry her things, and then all can go on their way. The woman does not thank him, and rudely pushes him aside to get back to her caravan.
After traveling some way on their own, the younger monk turns to his master, and says, “I cannot believe that old woman! You kindly carried her across the muddy river, on your very own back, and not only did she not offer thanks, but she actually was quite rude to you!” The master calmly and quietly turned to his student, and offered this observation: “I put the women down some time ago. Why are you still carrying her?”
Alex, my yoga teacher, shared this parable with us before class on Monday night, and it was just the reminder I needed. And I meditated on these thoughts while binding and twisting and trying to get into Revolved Bird of Paradise (Parivṛtta Svarga Dvijāsana. Go ahead and look at the images- my yoga practice is so not even close to that yet.)
JJ has been telling me for some time to just let things go.
But it is hard! I know, rationally, that I hang on to too much stuff. Weighing myself down with these things that don’t matter – that doesn’t help me. And I know, emotionally, that this stuff just gets in the way. I know, rationally, that I need to spend my energy productively, and that hanging on to all this stuff is just not productive.
But emotionally, I just want to sit in a puddle of my own tears.
I admit, I kinda like my pity parties. The cry-fests. The ‘pity me, my life is so difficult’ episodes. I had a moment last week where I was just could not control my emotions, and it was because I put too much energy into being disappointed – greatly disappointed. And this was a Little Problem. It was not a Big Problem. Truthfully, my life is so so full of good things that I definitely do not have Big Problems. And in comparison, I really don’t have many Little Problems.
This Buddhist parable was just the kick in the ass I needed this week. And I’m thankful that Alex shared it with us.