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How can we free ourselves from becoming the prisoner of our own thoughts?

This story is about my sister and me and as I am writing, I am going back to a point in time in India, almost 25 years from now. We had only one TV set at home. As it happens with children in every family, we had frequent fights on who is going to watch their favourite programme and so on. I do not know whether some of you still remember about a popular television series called ‘Dallas’. And that was my favourite. My sister never liked it and she had a choice of a different programme broadcasted at the same time.

So, one fine day we had a massive disagreement. I am sure you can easily imagine the situation as we have all gone through those funny moments of life. Childish sentiments and rage was in the air. Nothing helped to ameliorate the situation. Though I feel bad now as I always won being an elder brother and a boy I suppose. And I think she was more forgiving and understanding, as she always is.

Anyway, we stopped talking to each other and the whole situation was warlike. You must be wondering what happened next. My Dida - Grandma in my native language - saw this situation differently. I suppose she knew how to handle us better than anyone else in the family. So, one night just before going to bed she said to us, “Are you interested in listening to a beautiful story?” As I have told you before, she was such a wonderful presenter, and we could have never said a ‘No’ at this great offer. So, we all sat down in our favourite corner of the house.

The story

Once upon a time two Buddhist monks went for a trip to the nearest village. And as they were returning to their monastery they approached the village stream, where they saw a beautiful woman struggling to cross the stream. So, the monks stopped and looked at each other, as they did not know how to help her. Then, the older monk decided to approach the woman, and as the younger monk watched, he lifted her in his arms, crossed the river, and gently put her down on the other side. The woman was grateful, and thanked the monk for his generosity.

Then, the monks carried on with their journey to the monastery. Once they had reached their destination, the younger monk seemed little unhappy. And he approached the older monk and said, “How could you commit such a sin? We are monks and we should not touch a woman. How could you lift the beautiful woman in your arms and cross the stream?” The older monk with a gentle smile in his face replied, “I have left her on the other side of the stream but you are still carrying her.” The younger monk soon realised his mistake and asked for forgiveness.

After our Dida finished the story, she asked both of us about the moral of the story. Since we found it difficult to give the right answer, she explained to us how our past thoughts determine and control our present actions and thoughts. Then she said to us, “You had a difference of opinion in the past but why are you still carrying it in your mind.” And related our thinking to the monk. Both my sister and I did understand the principle instantaneously and we called a truce. I must also tell you that as kids, we did have differences after that day but the wonderful memories of that moment are still fresh in my mind.

So, take a moment and think whether you have gained anything from this story. How you can apply this principle in your own life? How many times do we think like the younger monk? Do we carry hatred? Does it help us both physically and spiritually? How can we free ourselves from becoming the prisoner of our own thoughts? If you have something interesting to share with us, please do leave a message. In the meantime, let me go and call my sister in US to read this article. Take care and may God bless.

posted by Debojit Chowdhury @ 8:48 AM,

4 Comments:

At February 04, 2007, Blogger Maximillian Kaizen said...

Love it: was just talking about the same thing as you were writing this article. Crazy serendipity!

There is a saying that "only a fool trips on what is behind him" carrying tangled past hurts and unresolved issues can get very heavy indeed. Good post!

 
At February 04, 2007, Blogger Debojit Chowdhury said...

Hi Max, thank you for the lovely comment. Take care and God bless

 
At February 05, 2007, Blogger zeezee said...

good post!
thanks for sharing the positive note.

 
At February 05, 2007, Anonymous Vahid said...

After I read this article, I realized that I am used to think like the younger monk. Now I understand that it is wrong and it really hurts me but please tell me how you can change it because after so many years of living and thinking like that, it has become hard to kick this habit.

Best regards,
Vahid

 

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