Several years ago, on a retreat with Don Miguel Ruiz in the ancient ruins of
The Zen story, “The Burden,” provides a similar example of our tendency to hold on to the past. Although it may not evoke the image and smell of the graphic Don Miguel Ruiz metaphor, it always sends me on an inner journey. Its simple message is powerful – one that evokes questions regarding awareness, intention and behavior. What burdens from the past are you still dragging around today?
Two monks were returning to the monastery in the evening. It had rained and there were puddles of water on the road sides. At one place a beautiful young woman was standing, unable to walk across because of a puddle of water. The elder of the two monks went up to her, lifted her, left her on the other side of the road and continued on his way to the monastery.
In the evening the younger monk came to the elder monk and said: “Sir, as monks, we cannot touch a woman?” The elder monk answered: “yes, brother.” Then the younger monk asks again: “but then Sir, how is that you lifted that woman on the roadside?”
The elder monk smiled at him and told him: ”I left her on the other side of the road, but you are still carrying her.”