How To Let Go Of Your Burdens
About 3 minutes to read
Today I would like to share a story that illustrates how to let your go of your burdens. Throughout our lives we all have burdens to carry but often learning to let your go of your burdens is the hardest lesson of all.
Two monks, who had taken a vow of chastity and silence, were walking along the road. To the one side of them was a fast flowing river and to the other farmland. They walked together on their journey for many hours in peace and harmony. They came to a point along the way where the river was raging and there they saw a woman trying to cross the river who was really struggling to make it safely across.
The older monk saw her struggle and he became very concerned for her safety so he dropped his load on the pathway and waded into the river to where the woman was struggling. He lifted her gentling in his arms and carried her to the safety of the riverbank. She thanked him profusely, he told her not to think anything of it, and then he returned to his travelling companion.
After he had dried himself off, the two monks continued on their way once again, walking in silence together. An hour into their resumed journey the younger monk suddenly burst forth and shouted at his older companion, “How could you have done that? How could you have broken your vows, picked up that woman, and carried her? You know that we are not allowed to touch woman, and you even spoke to her!” The younger monk was almost frothing at the mouth in his rage and indignation at his older colleague.
They walked a little further together and eventually the older monk looked at his companion with compassion and love and said, “My son, I only carried her for a brief moment with compassion and love to bring her to safety and then I let her go, but you have been carrying her all this time in anger and bitterness.”
I love this story and I often remind myself of it when I am carrying burdens that I should let go of. Think about it for yourself. You have an argument with your partner, have a disagreement at work or someone cuts you off in traffic; you know all the things that crop up in our daily lives. Throughout the day you carry the incident and you think about it obsessively, retell yourself the story, have an argument in your head about what’s going on, or you tell someone else what happened looking for moral support and fuel for your indignation.
You create a dramatic story and continue to carry the burden of it.
An incident that happened briefly in your day evolves into hour’s long, dramatic cinematic replay in your head, and you continue to carry it for the day, or perhaps for the week or the month. Hell, you might even carry it for your whole life. All the while, the other person has continued with their life, totally forgotten about you none the wiser of your suffering and the burden you have decided to carry. We also carry burdens of disease and illness, both our own and of others. Often we cannot separate ourselves from the disease and we become it.
We have to choose to let go, to make choices that bring us joy, contentment, peace. Choices that bring us life. The truth is when we carry unnecessary burdens they simply erode at our souls; eat away at our peace. I think we should carry a burden for the time necessary and then let it go. If we carry it for longer or a lifetime that burden will overwhelm us.
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