The Story of The Two Monks

“Be where you are; otherwise, you will miss your life.”

Buddha

Does it ring true to you?

There’s this story about two monks.

One night, the monks were headed back to the monastery. The journey was long, and they had to do it on foot, armed with only a staff and a lamp. 

An hour into their journey, heavy rain poured. But the monks were determined to reach their destination before midnight. So the two kept on and walked as fast as they could.

Up ahead, they saw an old car stuck on the side of the road. It looked like it hit a tree.  

Curious, the monks ran towards the car and saw a woman behind the wheel. 

“Hey, are you alright?”. Asked one of them.

“I saw something on the road, tried to avoid it, but my car swerved and struck this tree.”

The woman must have hit her head; it was bleeding.

“We can’t leave you here in the dark and with this heavy rain. Let us take you to a clinic”.

The older monk helped the woman out of the car, carried her, and hurried towards the clinic. Soon after relaying the incident to the doctor, the two monks left and continued their journey.

A couple of hours later, the monastery was on sight. As they walked closer towards the door, the younger monk asked the older one, 

“Teacher, you carried that woman into the clinic.”

The teacher replied, “I did, and I dropped her off two hours ago. But you are still carrying her in your thoughts.”

Doesn’t this happen to us most of the time?

With our thoughts, we either linger in the past or chase and try to outrun the future. We do it on autopilot, forgetting that we have a choice.

sundaewrites

Being trapped in our head puts us in states of anxiety, fear, overwhelm, anger and despair. The opposite of that is precisely what we want, isn’t it? We call it a resourceful state. A state where we are calm, collected, confident, and creative. 

The good news is, getting to this state is very simple. We just need to “Be in the present moment.

So what does it look like?

  1. We focus our attention on what’s unfolding now. We are aware of our own breathing, we feel the energy (the life) in our body, we are alert, and we can zoom in on a task at hand.
  2. We tune in to a higher power that makes known what it desires from us at this very moment. In prayer, it can sound like, “Lord, I am here, and I am ready. What do you want me to do today?”.
  3. We acknowledge and believe that we have all the resources to produce an outcome. It has already been given to us. We just need to identify what’s necessary at any given moment and tap into it.
  4. We feel joy or enjoyment in the process and recognize that what we are experiencing is not inferior to the desired outcome.

Think about your desire to be happy. It seems elusive because of the stories you have of the past and the future.

Past: “He insulted me yesterday. How dare he? He really hurt me and ruined my day. I’ll never forgive him”.

Realize:

(1) How much suffering was caused by the actual event; and

(2) How much suffering was caused by your continuous story of how the person has hurt you. 

Future: “When I get the promotion next year, I’ll be happy and start spending weekends with my family.”

Realize how you’re postponing happiness and putting off family time (something you value) into a future that may not even come. Time as we know, is valuable and will cease at an unknown point.

Present: I choose to be happy now. End of story. 

Our lives are made up of a billion present moments. But where you are alive, and breathing is this moment right here. So choose it and notice how liberating that is.

sundaewrites

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