One spring day a Priest knocks upon a Great Master’s door. When the door opens, the Priest bows. “Master, I have heard from many that you are the greatest teacher of all. I come today to ask if you will please take me as your student. I promise to be very diligent.”
The Master sizes the priest up a bit before responding. “I am about to leave for the next village. Walk with me there and I will decide when we arrive.” And with that the Master walks out the door with the Priest scrambling after him.
They walk for several miles in total silence before coming upon a river with a washed-out bridge. A young girl with a basket full of mangoes is standing at the shore, worried.
When she sees the two men she calls out. “Hello! Can you help me? The bridge is washed out and the water is too deep for me to cross. My family will be worrying about me. Can you help me please?”
The Priest begins to explain that they are compassionate, but their Monastic Order cannot touch women, and so they are prevented from being able to help —and that’s about when the Master scoops the young woman and her basket up into his arms and he starts wading across the rushing water. The Priest is mortified. He gives chase.
On the other side of the river the Master simply sets the woman and her basket down, he bows to her, and continues on his way. The Priest is frozen; flabbergasted.
He looks back and forth from the woman to the receding Master, and then back again and again before he finally stumbles up behind the Master.
“Master! You touched that woman! I have been told you are a Great Master and yet you touched that woman when it is against the rules of our order! I need you to explain this transgression to me Master.” But the Master ignores him and just keeps on walking.
The Priest is clearly suffering regarding the subject of the girl. A ways down the road he pipes back up. “Master. I must insist. Our order has a rule. I witnessed you break that rule. I saw you carry that woman. That was wrong. Please explain this to me or I will begin to wonder if I have found the right teacher.”
The Master has no reaction whatsoever. He just keeps walking.
By five miles from the river the Priest is in agony. He stomps like a child having a tantrum. “Master! This is impossible! I refuse to take one more step behind you until you explain to me why it was acceptable for you to carry that woman across the river!?”
Now, the Master finally stops walking. And he slowly turns to face the Priest. “Indeed. I did carry her across the river,” he surrenders. “But tell me: in the end, which of us carried her further?”
Remember, there is only now. Everything else is us selectively replaying or speculatively imagining other times. We are where our thoughts are.
The next time we’re mad at someone, it’s helpful to remember that it’s us that’s choosing to think about them. It’s not like they’re inside our heads squeezing our brains. We decide what emotions we get by choosing our thoughts.
Don’t live in the past. Don’t live in the future. Live now with all of your consciousness and you will be amazed at how beautiful the most ordinary-looking life can be.
Do not carry weight in your heart. Let things go. Be in peace. Big hugs. Love you.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.