Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Invisible burden

I guess most of us, if not all of us, do turn philosophical once in a while. I have noticed that it is more so when we are in pain. Ha! Pain! What a small word but yet something that has drastic connotations to different people. Something that suppresses our flow of thoughts and makes us behave in a manner that we ourselves would question if we were not in pain. We all become cynics in one-way or other.

You know what the worst thing in life is? It’s our stupid faith - that in time we will get what we want. And when we don’t get what we want and in the manner that we had dreamt of – we question not our desires but the manner in which this world behaves. We ask – why should so and so have that? What have I done not to get that? We even tend to compare the grandeur of the silver screen (where ironically the good, the bad and the ugly all takes place within a few hours) to our every day mundane lives. We have the audacity to dream but not the courage to question our dreams.

In short we get attached. We are so attached to that thing or person that we weave our lives around the memories or fabricate imagined lives around it. We would have fewer cynics around us (including myself) if we were to learn the art of dropping those attachments instantly. But alas, life is funny. It never displays the slate in between our ears so that we can erase memories, which we don’t want. On the contrary it tends to project our desires / dreams – just when we least expect it and makes us compare the situation in hand with our self imagined lives.

Here, as usual, is a story (taken from Zen teachings):

Once upon a time many moons ago, two monks were walking in silence through the forest; a younger monk, Anjan, and an older monk, Ananda.

Eventually their path led to a stream. There they saw a beautiful young lady, exquisitely clad, standing on the bank. She was in great distress because she wanted to cross the stream, but did not know how, without getting her fine long robes wet.

Without hesitation, Ananda scooped her up, crossed the stream, and set her down on dry ground. She thanked him and continued on her way, and the monks continued on theirs, again in silence.

Anjan was uncertain, distressed, and confused. He became more and more restless and then finally he spoke.

"Brother Ananda," he said, "I do not know what to make of it. You know our order is an austere order, and we cannot so much as speak to a woman. But... but... you saw that lady, you... uh... picked her up and... carried her across the stream! And yet..." he continued, almost choking, "You just keep on walking as if nothing happened!"

"It is quite simple," Ananda replied. "I set her down on the opposite bank, but you, Brother Anjan, are still carrying her!"

That my dear friends - sums it all up! Maybe we don’t carry pretty girls – but we carry a source of attachment. We carry what we shouldn’t. A burden that is not visible to others – but very likely to be the cause of being a cynic. Honestly, I am yet to get over my own memories, but I think (and hope) I am on the right way to become a non-cynic and accept life first and then my dreams.


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