03 September 2006

Wisdom from Anonymous

Anonymous. Isn't she the wisest person who ever lived?
My friend Maven posted this at her blog, Thoughtnuggets. How did she know that I needed some encouragement about emotional baggage?

Author unknown:

Many a time, we appreciate the story but miss out on its moral. Sometimes we appreciate the moral of the story, but forget to implement it in our lives. Here goes another story a story often repeated; yet a moral so conveniently overlooked.

Two monks were walking when they spotted a teenage girl standing near the stream they were about to cross. The young girl had fear written all over her face. It was already dusk and daylight was fading. In response to the question one of the monks had asked, the girl, replied i am afraid of crossing the stream. The monk volunteered to carry the girl on his shoulders. He dropped her on the other side and the two monks continued to walk. After they had walked for about 30 minutes, noting a sense of unease in the other monk, the monk who had helped the young girl asked him if something was bothering him. The other monk replied, don’t you know that monks aren’t supposed to touch the opposite sex why then did you carry the girl on your shoulders that’s why I am upset. Centered and still smiling, the monk who had helped the girl replied, oh the girl you are talking about I dropped her a long time back. Why are you still carrying her in your head?

Our past has left us a long time back yet most of us continue to carry it in our head and continue to be affected by it. You can help a person caught in the jaws of a crocodile. But how do you help a person who thinks he is caught in the jaws of a crocodile, while all he has is just the picture of a crocodile under his feet the past has no reality except in the memory in which it is processed. Yet so many people are caught up in the whirlpool of pretending that their past is still real. By abusing their today’s over regrets of the past they endlessly lose today’s that could’ve been used to build their tomorrows.

Nothing is a greater retardant to growth that the burden of the emotional baggage of the past. The unhappy childhood was over a few decades ago but the emotional baggage remains. Lack of parental attention and comparisons with siblings is twenty years old but suppressed emotions are still burning. Though physical abuse and sexual abuse have become distant memories. The emotional effects still linger. The complex suffered owing to judgements passed o your physical appearance during your adolescence continues to have an emotional hold no you though years have passed by since. The one in whose hands you felt exploited the one who cheated you and your family the one who betrayed your trust they’ve all left your life a long time back, but you continue to carry them in your head and continue to suffer the burden of the emotional baggage resulting from what they did or did not do to your life. You know that the relationship has already fallen apart you know it is over it is over and done with but you aren’t yet done with sulking over that loss.

Yesterday was over yesterday and that’s the reality. Today is a new day. Today is a new beginning and this is the reality. Accept this reality and your suffering will cease that very instant yesterday was over yesterday is not an intellectual understanding. It is about emotional acceptance and in that very instant of emotional acceptance you can experience an awakening a transformation. Draw a line to your past and move on.

To unburden yourself of your past and to offload your emotional baggage first and foremost embrace forgiveness lord forgives them for they know not what they are doing. Gautama the Buddha and Jesus Christ had the same views on this aspect. Hatred does not cease by hatred, hatred ceases only by love claimed once and the other said love your enemies. The one who has hurt you in life has gone on with his/her life but you continue to drown yourself in the memories of what has happened, ruining your today’s your peace of mind your sleep your happiness and above all your precious health. Remember between the hated and the hater. It is always the hater who suffers more. One of the most selfish things you can do in life is to forgive the other and thus liberate yourself from the clutches of hatred after all; it is the hater who suffers more. Guilt is as much a retardant as hurt. Liberate yourself from both. When you don’t forgive the other you suffer from hurt when you cant forgive yourself you suffer from guilt. Remind yourself that you are only human, and humans err. With a resolve not to repeat the same mistake forgive yourself too for the mistakes of your past which may have hurt others. To forgive is divine also means self-forgiveness. Forgive others and forgive yourself too. Unless you forgive, you cannot forget. Give pardons and get peace of mind. A little pain in one part of the body should not stop the functioning of the entire body. Something that had gone wrong during a certain phase of your life shouldn’t halt the progress of your life.

The trouble with emotional baggage is that it gives you scratched spectacles to view the world. When your spectacles are scratched, everything you see appears to be scratched too. You become incapable of seeing life, as it is you only see it through the experiences of your past. Someone misbehaved with you in the past and because of those scratched spectacles, to your eyes every new acquaintance too appears to be a rogue. An employee of yours learnt everything from you and then became your competitor. Now every new employee is viewed with suspicion. A relationship that held the promise of a lifetime ended prematurely. The resultant reaction is that you feel insecure in the new relationship that is beginning to blossom what if this also falls apart. You tend to burden your present with your past.

You need new spectacles to view your today and build your tomorrow spectacles that don’t have the signatures of your past imprinted on them. Treat your past not as a source of hurt and agony, but as an experience that you needed to gain this maturity. You needed those experiences to become the person you are. But for that yesterday and that day before yesterday you wont be what you are today the blow to chisel you may not have been pleasant but without it you wont be the statue you are today you wont evolve into the statue you can be. Maturity is given to you to construct your future not to dissect your past. Etch into your system this law. At the point of knowledge, it is crucial where you are looking at the point of knowledge if you focus on your past you will only feel negative and low. At the point of knowledge if you can focus on your future you will feel positive and charged. It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. It is better to be cheated than to be cheat. It is better to have suffered the wrong than to have done the wrong. Bitter yesterdays create a better tomorrow because of the maturity gained out of those experiences. When bad things happen to good people, they become better people. This is the plan on which life is built. Don’t ask for an alternative design none exists.

Don’t live like a psychological antique. Don’t make your life an imposition. Let not your days be photocopies. Pause for a moment and look it is just the picture of a crocodile it doesn’t really exist. Your past exists nowhere except now. Here is your own memory. Wake up from this psychological slumber. Don’t waste another drop of tears on your past. Put a premium on your tears. You will encounter many more beautiful moments in your life, worthy of your tears. Let every cell of your body reverberate yesterday was over yesterday. Draw a line to your past.

Saying goes today can be the last day of your life. True. Equally true is the fact that today is the first day of the rest of your life. The beginning is from where you begin. Let us begin today. Begin now, begins here and moves on.

Carrying is an effort. Dropping is a decision. You have been laboring over your emotional baggage. Make a decision and drop it. The person you will become in life is waiting for you in the future. Go and meet him.


KnitNana said...

And why is it so blasted hard to do this? (sigh) I keep resolving...thank you for reminding me (again...)

Heather said...

I love this Buddhist tale, it is short & to the point. The children's book Zen Shorts does a wonderful job in illustrating this (figuratively and literally) for children.

Purl said...

Thanks for the great idea to read Savage Beauty and her poems. I'm really looking forward to it.

Paula said...

What a wonderful tale!