I love this quote because it is so visual – and so right on. Letting go of the past is a skill that we have to hone if we ever want to really move forward in our lives. How many of us, day after day, stumble over something that is in the past? It’s such an easy thing to do, and so futile! One of my favorite stories that embodies today’s quote is called ‘Two Monks and a Maiden’
Two monks who were part of a monastic order that forbid relations between men and women were traveling together on foot to a high mountain village. One monk was older and spent much of the journey in quiet contemplation, while the younger monk spent most of it expressing his budding knowledge which he was very confident in. About halfway through their long journey they came to a river and prepared to cross. A young maiden came along and asked for their help in crossing the river. The older monk, without saying a word, took the maiden on his back and carried her across. The maiden thanked the monk and continued on her way. As the two monks continued their journey the older monk was quiet. The younger monk spoke not a word, and the elderly monk could sense that there was great tension in the air. He asked the young monk what the nature of his tension was and the young disciple replied, “I cannot understand how you can break our vows and then carry on as if nothing has happened.” This statement was met with silence as the old monk walked on silently toward their destination. The young disciple could hold his tongue no longer and began to loudly berate the older monk, saying it was inappropriate for a man of God to have such close physical contact with a maiden. The older monk simply replied, “My young friend, I put her down back at the river bank. You are the one who continues to carry her!”
That story always gets me. How well do you do when it comes to letting go of the past? I have been that young monk more times than I care to admit. What do you still stumble over even though it is far behind you? What do you continue to carry that no longer serves?