Two monks were getting ready to cross a river when they spotted a fair damsel crying on the river bank. On enquiry, they learned that the lady in question also needed to get across but bemoaned her inability to do so, saying she did not have the means to cross the river without getting wet.
The older monk, around 60 years of age, decided to carry the lady on his shoulders. Now we all know that monks are religious creatures, or are supposed to be. And the younger monk communicated his annoyance and displeasure in no uncertain terms. "We are monks," he insisted, "how can you think of doing such a thing? We have taken a vow to have no physical contact with women."
After a brief but heated argument which availed the younger monk absolutely nothing, the older monk set the lady on his old but sturdy shoulders and off they went, all three of them.
The river was wide and deep and progress was slow, but the older monk bore his beautiful burden without a murmur of complaint. And the younger monk? Oh! He was filled with thoughts and silently raged at the older monk. "The old monk was a hypocrite; he was probably enjoying himself; no doubt he was having vulgar thoughts (if vulgar is the right word here); how could he do such a thing which was against their rigid rules; he was a disgrace to the church, he was a… and on and on…
Well, the wide and deep river finally came to an end and the monk graciously deposited the pretty damsel on the other side. The young monk could not fail to see the smile that lit up the old man's face when the young lady thanked him with a kiss on his cheek and went her way.
The monks' journey was long and uphill, and yet the older monk's gait never faltered; in fact he seemed to be imbued with extra vigor. The younger monk, of course, trudged behind, his vexation growing by the minute, consuming him. After considerable amount of time, not able to control his tongue any longer, he raised the subject, along with his voice. "You have done something despicable," he screamed. The older monk did not seem to hear. "How can you call yourself a monk?" No reply. "We are monks. We are not supposed to touch female flesh, yet you carried that woman for two hours on your shoulders. No doubt you enjoyed yourself."
To the last comment the older monk turned around and answered very calmly. "I set that lady down two hours ago, but you are still carrying her – in your mind."
Does this story remind you of anything about yourself? How often are we hurt by someone's words or actions and dwell on the matter for an hour, a day, or even weeks? How many days have we spent planning revenge? There are times when we find it hard to sleep thinking of what the other person has said or done. While the person who has hurt us sleeps peacefully. And strangely – and this is what happens most of the times – the other person is not even aware that he has said something hurtful and done something to cause us pain.
Empty your mind of negative thoughts. That way, you make more places to fill it with positive thoughts. If you have something against someone, or feel that someone has done or said something to hurt you, talk to him about it and sort it out then and there. End the matter as soon as possible. Do not let it occupy your mind every waking minute. You are the one who suffers, not the other person. It is your life which becomes miserable.
Learn to let go. A friend once remarked and very wisely indeed. "If someone has hurt you and you think about it even when you go to bed it means you are sleeping with that person." Now would you want to sleep with a person who has hurt you?