Two monks were walking along the road when they came to a river. An older woman was sitting on a rock near the river and was obviously distraught. She told them that the bridge had fallen and she wasn’t able to cross the river on her own and needed to reach her family in a village on the other side.
The monks volunteered to carry the woman across and successfully sat her down on the other side. As the monks continued on their way, one looked to the other and said, “Just look at my robes! They’re all muddy and dirty from carrying that woman.”
A few miles later he complained, “I think I hurt something in my leg while carrying her. I can’t believe she couldn’t get herself across the river.”
Five miles from the river he began again, “My back is killing me! I hurt my back carrying her and she didn’t even say ‘thank you’. Isn’t your back hurting too?”
The other monk replied, “No, my back isn’t hurting because I sat her down five miles ago. You, on the other hand, are still carrying her.”
Regardless of the things that happen in life, we have the ability to choose their meaning for us. Victimhood is a choice. Just like the achy monk in our story, we can choose to carry around the things of the past, long after the actual events are gone. Or we can forgive and lay them down so they are not damaging to us long term.
The things we carry forward from events are either resent, guilt, or a combination of the two. Resentment is usually toward others and guilt toward ourselves, but the result is the same; weakness.
I have heard people proclaim that staying angry toward someone who has done you wrong is a source of power and strength. BS. Carrying around resentment toward someone and being unwilling to forgive is like drinking poison, expecting the other person to die.
Guilt is just as damaging because we build self-imposed barriers for ourselves. These limiting beliefs handicap everything we do and make sure that our full expression of life never surfaces. Just like with forgiving someone else, forgiveness toward ourselves is crucial to living free.
In addition, think of how this unresolved resent and guilt robs the people around you of your energy, attention and love. Those you love deserve your full attention and ability. We must learn to forgive.
Here is a video that explains a brief approach for forgiving. It may provide you with a way to get started. I hope you’ll take this call to lay down past burdens and set yourself free.
Be your best,