Letting go - A Zen story for Monday - Care Community

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Letting go - A Zen story for Monday


This is a well-known Zen story.

Two monks walking across country to their monastery reached a river where they met a young woman. She was wary of the current, and asked if they could carry her across. One of them hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, carriedher across, and set her down. She thanked him and departed.

As the monks continued on their way, the other one was brooding andpreoccupied. Eventually he said, "Brother, our training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

"Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, whileyou are still carrying her."

It's true. We do end up carrying around lots of things in our heads that would make life lighter if we just put them down. Old resentments from the past, and worrying about things that might not even come to pass, or that will have outcomes we have no control over.

When you are stressed with care-giving, as well as having to deal with your own busy life, it's really good to stop for a moment and think about the things you can let go, even if that's just for now. Only pick them up again if you find you really need to.

Have a great week everyone.

7 Replies

That was truly inspirational thank you. I have now put certain things down through reading that story.

Enjoy your day Callendersgal and everyone on this great forum. Xxxxx

CallendersgalModerator in reply to sassy59

Hope you had a good day sassy59

sassy59Ambassador in reply to Callendersgal

Lovely day thank you. Take care xxxxx

That's so true isn't it, if we could only live in the NOW, as they say we must try and live each day as if it was our last, because one day it will be,

Live the day

CallendersgalModerator in reply to Mydexter

Hi Mydexter. Yes, Live the day, or as I often say to myself, "Be here now".

Ooh spooky, a well timed reminder. Is there another tale of how this dog with a bone can let it go? Some upsets do seem to get me hooked. Not very zen hey?


Hi Al10, Glad the reminder was timely! The thing is, it's easy to tell the story and quite another to just let it all go. Luckily I seem to have been born under a very relaxed star and I usually get accused of being far too laid back. I also meditate which is great for clearing your mind.

But we're all human and most of us do tend to end up carrying a lot of baggage around with us unnecessarily, so it's more about stopping to remember to put the shopping bags down and take a rest when we need to. We'd do it with physically heavy shopping, it's the mental stuff we find so hard to set down.

But... you asked for another story, so here's another which is as much to, hopefully, make you smile as help you let go.


There was once a Zen monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. "It has been ten years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like to say?"

"Bed... hard..." said the monk.

"I see," replied the head monk.

Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk's office. "It has been ten more years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like to say?"

"Food... stinks..." said the monk.

"I see," replied the head monk.

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?"

"I quit!" said the monk.

"Well, I can see why," replied the head monk. "All you ever do is complain."

This is a humorous story, but it does demonstrate how long and ridiculously we can cling on to things we could easily let go of.

Hope it helps. Best wishes!

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