THE TALE OF THE MONKS
Once upon a time, two Japanese monks were walking along a road together. The rain the evening before had left large puddles in their path, so they made their way with care. When they came upon an intersection covered by an especially large puddle of mud, they noticed a young woman who had stopped at the edge of the puddle. She was dressed in a white silk kimono, and her dilemma was obvious: there was no way she could cross the intersection without spoiling her gown.
The first of the two monks asked the woman if she would like some help. She answered yes. The monk then scooped her up in his arms, walked straight through the mud, and put her down on the other side. The woman thanked him and continued on her way.
The monks resumed their journey, but a rift had developed between them. The second monk refused to speak to the first. They walked together in an uneasy silence until that evening when they reached their destination, the lodging temple. It was there that the second monk turned to the first, pointed his finger, and demanded, “Why did you do it?”
The first monk was taken by surprise. “Do what?” he asked.
“Don’t play dumb with me!” snapped the second monk. “You know what I’m talking about. You know very well we monks are not supposed to have anything to do with women, especially shapely young women such as the one you carried across the puddle back at the intersection. Tell me, why did you do it? Why did you pick her up?”
The first monk paused for a moment, shrugged, and then replied, “I put her down a long time ago. Maybe you’re the one still carrying her.”
The story raises what may seem an obvious question: What (or whom) are you still carrying after all these miles?
It is the question of resentment.
A Story About Keeping Resentments such as this tale of two monks can help us see where our emotions go if left unchecked. Resentment is a complex, multilayered emotion that has been described as a mixture of disappointment, disgust, anger, and fear. Other psychologists consider it a mood or as a secondary emotion that can be elicited in the face of insult and/or injury.
Resentment is anger done over and over again until it seeps out of your head and into your heart and soul. Sentiment, means doing it over and over again with feeling. All expectations are on their way to becoming resentments. Remember that, as you understand how important it is to let resentments go.
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