Two Monks Walk Into A Bar

Funny Junk

Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, traveling on pilgrimage, came to a muddy river crossing. There they saw a lovely young woman dressed in her kimono and finery, obviously not knowing how to cross the river without ruining her clothes. Without further ado, Tanzan graciously picked her up, held her close to him, and carried her across the muddy river, placing her onto the dry ground. Then he and Ekido continued on their way. Hours later they found themselves at a lodging temple. And here Ekido could no longer restrain himself and gushed forth his complaints: “Surely, it is against the rules, what you did back there…. Touching a woman is simply not allowed…. How could you have done that? … And to have such close contact with her! … This is a violation of all monastic protocol…” Thus he went on with his verbiage. Tanzan listened patiently to the accusations. Finally, during a pause, he said, “Look, I set that girl down back at the crossing. Are you still carrying her?”
(Based on an autobiographical story by Japanese master Tanzan, 1819-1892) **
Often, we discover how to be happy in the most unexpected moments. I was reminded of this last week, while receiving a massage.  The therapist specialized in identifying how and where we store negative emotional experiences.  

We were talking about the rigidity in my mid-back when I remembered that I’d had epidurals for the births of my two daughters.  The first one was born 24 years ago by Caesarian.  As a result of that, I had a spinal tap headache for 5 days.  If you’ve never had one, it’s about the worst headache imaginable.  To move at all caused horrible pain and nausea.

One of the nurses was of the Nurse Ratched variety – rough, bristly and lacking any compassion.

She’d force me to get up and walk to the shower – with no concern for my incapacitation from pain.  She walked in the first day and said she was there to remove my catheter. 

“Is it going to hurt?”

Nurse Ratched

Yank. . . .

Needless to say, I didn’t like her, not one bit.

It was in retelling this story to Theresa, I realized that I, like the second monk, was still carrying her.  In essence, she was “on my back” the entire time. I wanted to be free of the stress of this memory.
All that remained was to let go, 

put her down 

and …….

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©copyright 2011 Zette Harbour, all rights reserved.

**Story courtesy of Enlightened Spirituality