One day there was a young man, a traveler, who walked down a path with beautiful surroundings. Rivers, trees, and meadows kissed by the light of the sun, everything around him had a soft glow added to it. The beauty of this day was caught by his eyes but not felt in his heart.
The warmth of the sun on his skin, the song of the birds, the fresh smell of the grass that the wind carried into his nostrils – none of these things found their way into his being, to fill him with joy. Life’s Symphony was in perfect tune, but the boy’s note could not find its rhythm. The story he carries around with him, a script which’s ink has long dried is still present in his mind, like a heavy burden on his shoulders.
He was walking for quite a while until his eyes saw a little village on the horizon. “Finally, I need to rest.” he thought to himself. Hours passed before he reached the village and he was craving a good meal and a bed to spend the night in. He found a small tavern where he booked a small room for himself and ordered a warm meal. He was sitting at the table, waiting for his meal as he noticed a monk sitting at a table in the right corner of the tavern. He was astonished by the monk, the way he ate, it looked like art. Mindfully did he picked up one piece of vegetable after another without hurrying to finish his meal. His whole being was anchored in peace.
“No wonder those monks are so relaxed if all they do is sitting around and eating a bowl of rice once in a while,” he said to himself quietly. As he said that to himself, he felt guilty, because the peace that was emanating from the monk is exactly what he was looking for. His meal was served and he ate. The warm food did him good as it took away his attention from the chatter in his mind that kept him from the peace he was looking for desperately.
As he finished his meal, he looked at the monk the last time before he stood up to go into his room, to get the sleep he was craving. As he laid down in the silence of the clear night he could feel the heavy burden that was weighing him down. It felt like his head was filled with heavy stones that push his head into the pillow.
“When is this going to end ?” he asked himself as he looked out of the window into the night sky. “Where there is darkness there is light.” he thought as he was looking at the stars. He finally fell into a deep sleep from which he awoke the next morning, feeling a bit refreshed, but the heavy burden was ever present. He packed his bag and left the room, walked downstairs into the taverns restaurant. The monk wasn’t there and it was very quiet, just two men were sitting at the mumbling about something.
As the young man opened the door to leave and to go his way he bumped into the monk. “I’m sorry, I didn’t pay attention.” said the young traveler. He looked into the monks face he couldn’t see a single sign of anger. “Don’t worry neither did I.” said the monk and smiled. The traveler was about to leave when the monk turned around and said:” I noticed how you looked at me last night and I noticed as well that there is a deep burden within you.” “How.. how do you know that ?” the traveler asked doubtfully. “It’s easy to read people’s minds if it’s shown in their face.” the monk answered.
“What is it that troubles you so young man?” asked the monk smiling. “No matter where I go, no matter what I do, regrets, guilt, and frustration about my past are ever present. Life has become dull with this baggage on my shoulders.” The monk nodded.. and smiled. He asked the young man to sit down on a flat rock on a walking track nearby. The young man did and so did the monk. They had a breathtaking view in front of them. “I know that whatever happened in your past brought you a lot of pain, but I want you to look around, try to be present and to let it sink in what you see.”
“What do you see?” asked the monk. “A canvas of nature’s art, a beautiful one as well.” “So I would like to ask you if whatever happened in your past is really that bad, if it brought you to where you are right now, right here, in this moment?” The traveler thought about what has been said. “It feels right what you say, but I can’t enjoy this as I should be able to..”
“Do you have a coin that you could lend me ?” asked the monk calmly. The young man gave the monk a coin, followed by a questioning look. “See this coin as your past. It represents everything you’ve ever experienced. Every moment of happiness, every moment of sadness, every loss and every gain, all the experiences that molded you into who you are today. What I feel is that you are afraid to let go of that, which is a burden for you, the pain, the guilt, the frustration and this is so because you are not sure what will be there if you let go, is that right, that you deny that there is pain in you ?” “Yes, one could say so..” the young man answered.
“It won’t work that way, my friend. You can’t deny the pain that is there and acts as if it is not, you poison yourself that way. Feel it and let go.” ” Place the coin in your palm please.” He did as the monk said. “Now close your hand, turn it upside down and open your hand.” As he did what the monk said, the coin fell on the ground. ” See, this is what you try to do. You carry pain, regrets, and frustration in you, all because of your past. You wish to get rid of that, by simply dropping as if it’s not there, but you need to feel all that needs to be felt and you need to forgive yourself for all that happened and all you did yourself. Accept your past and learn from it.”
The young man understood the monk and smiled, but the monk wasn’t finished yet. ” Could you pick up this coin and give it back to me please?” He picked up the coin and gave it back to the monk. “Now I want you to put the coin back in your hand.” The young man did as the monk said. “See.. we all experience pain and loss, we all do things we regret afterward, we are humans, we do those things called mistakes, but don’t give those things more energy and attention than they deserve. Let it be there, the pain, the frustration, and the regrets and forgive yourself..” “But who am I if not what the past made me?” asked the traveler.
“Let me show you” – “Close your hand but don’t turn it upside down.” He did as the monk said. “Now open your hand again.” The coin was still in his hand, but at the same time, he let go of it. He then realized that it wasn’t the burden he carried around with him, but who he is without it.”See what frightens most people is the fear of letting g, no matter what it is and this fear gets even bigger when they come close to losing it which makes them hold on to it even more. The middle way is to let go and to keep it at the same time, without holding on to it. That’s when freedom and love can flourish.”
” I understand, but I still don’t know who I am then.” “You are what you decide to be. All roads are open for you, you must decide which one you’ll go down, only when you let go of the old, a new way of living, of being, can be born in you.” “Thank you, I understand now, thank you!” “I’m glad that I could help you.” said the monk with his calm voice. They stood up from the rock and went their way. “Keep the coin, my friend, let it be a little gift for your help.” The monk smiled and nodded. The young man went on his way, but now the only burden he carried was the bag on his back.