Are you stuck? This story about two monks and the woman might help.
Two monks were on a pilgrimage.*
They had already walked many miles avoiding where they could run into people for they were from a particular order of monks that were forbidden to speak to or touch women. They had no wish to offend anyone so they kept to the by-ways and lived off the land.
It was the rainy season and as they walked across a broad plain they were hoping that the river they had to cross would not be impassable. From afar they could see that the river had burst its banks. Nevertheless, they were hopeful that the ferryman would be able to take them across in his boat. But as they neared the crossing point they could see no sign of the boatman, the boat, it appeared, had been swept away in the current and the ferryman had stayed at home.
There was, however, a woman.
She was dressed in fine clothes and carried an umbrella. She implored the monks to help her cross, for her mission was urgent and the river, thought wide and fast, was not deep.
The younger monk ignored her and looked away. The elder, however, said nothing but swept her up onto his shoulder and carried her across, putting her down, completely dry, on the other bank.
For the whole of the following hour, as they journeyed on through thick and tangled woods, the younger monk berated the elder, heaping scorn upon his actions, accusing him of betraying the order and his vows. How dare he? How could he? What was he thinking of? What gave him the right to?
Eventually, the monks entered a clearing, and the elder monk stopped and looked straight into the eyes of the younger monk. There was a long moment of silence.
Finally in a soft tone, his eyes bright and gentle with compassion, the older monk simply said: “My brother, I put that woman down an hour ago. It is you that are still carrying her.”
What are you still carrying that you should have put down long ago?
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* Source of the story is The Magic of the Metaphor: 77 Stories for Teachers, Trainers & Thinkers © Nick Owen 2001 and published by Crown House Publishing Ltd.
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