I’ll begin with a short story that Eckhart Tolle likes to tell:
Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, were walking along a country road that had become extremely wet with mud and deep puddles after heavy rains.
Near a village, they came upon a girl who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep. it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer. He finally snapped, “Tanzan, why did you carry that girl across the road? We monks are not supposed to hold girls like that.”
“I put the girl down hours ago,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her Ekido?”
Sometime I just go with what the expert says. In this case, I have a few clarifying paragraphs.
The story that Tolle relates is used to illustrate a point that we have a vulnerability protection system. He calls it the ego.
I just want to clarify what happened (in this story).
First, the mind is not who we/you are. However, the body believes whatever thoughts that mind allows. Thus as the information is processed in the body, it actually changes subtly the body; the brain and molecules, etc… we know there are chemicals and brain waves and signals being transmitted throughout the brain-heart-gut-body (form, aka. mind-body, un-awakened consciousness). The information, together with form, is ever changing. Thinking, therefore, requiring time, occurs in form (as interpretations of information / consciousness) … not in a/the single unchanging mind (divine mind).
This is confusing and difficult when there is an upset.
In the story, Ekido believes that Tanzan did wrong by carrying the girl. The monks have been walking for a long time when Ekido finally tires of his burden. Ekido has been carrying his belief of the wrongness for hours. He’s been feeling upset. Finally, he relieves himself of this upset by confronting Tanzan rather than himself. He might have said right away to Tanzan, “I got uncomfortable with what happened. What is bothering me is my thinking that it was wrong. We are not supposed to hold women. Still, no harm came of it. She clearly needed some help. I ought to get over this.”
Instead, Ekido allows the disturbance to grow into greater discomfort. He begins to believe that Tanzan is the cause of his discomfort.
Negative thinking about it may have seemed to be the best thing. However, negativity attracts more negativity and the mind then is left feeling badly and having a pressing urge to find some relief. Typically, a person acts out when under this sort of pressure. If there is someone else that can be blamed, that seems the right thing then to do. The upset gets taken over by the body’s pain management system — the source of the pain being out there, Ekido accuses his friend of doing a wrong.
Ekido unknowingly was maintaining a separation from the present moment while he was feeling disturbed. This gets tiring. The disturbance feeds into a delusion that Tanzan is responsible for the upset. His mind is unable to break free of the discomfort while ruminating about the past event. Finally his mind then convinced him that the problem can be fixed by blaming Tanzan. Fortunately Tanzan feels free to accept that Ekido is needlessly upset and his reply is matter-of-fact rather than defensive. If Ekido wants to think excessively, he may. The thinking was tiring his mind. Since the incident is past and Tanzan was free of it when he put the girl down, Ekido wasted his time carrying the upset for miles.
There are two parts to Ekido’s problem. First off, he is excessively thinking.
Here is a training video by Eckhart Tolle…
“How do we break the habit of excessive thinking?”
Eckhart explores excessive (addiction to) thinking, offering a handful of ways to put the stop to thoughts and to choose presence of now instead. When body sends a signal, mind gets a thought. You may allow this or you may choose to diminish the thought by coming back to the presence of now.
A second problem for Ekido is that he didn’t have any control to change what upset him since the upset is about Tanzan’s action. The inner dialog lead to excessive thinking about something that was beyond his control. Some of us spend our time when dealing with people trying to change circumstance that are beyond our control. This is, it turns out, usually just a waste of time and energy.
We may even threaten, scold, manipulate, coerce, bully, plead, beg, shout, pout, bribe or try anything to make a situation go the “right” way — often, only to see things getting progressively worse before they get better. Since negativity attracts more negativity this is quite stressful and the mind-body then is left feeling badly.
Peace is my goal and tolerance, acceptance, compassion, genuine concern and loving presence is my way to get this. Getting better at this began for me with reducing stress and finding inner peace. I began to understand that I was reactive to the content of my life situations and that I was sacrificing sanity this way. Self-will was inadequate. Controlling my surroundings by exercising self-will was not healthy. I began to look for solutions and I found that there are hundreds of great ways to reduce stress and gain personal freedom. Today’s second video may help you to gain some peace of mind for dealing with stress.
“How to live without Stress in your day-to-day life”
by Eckhart Tolle
Learning how to achieve peaceful living may be much eased by knowing how to live without reacting to the “content” of our lives. There may be realization that the form of thought need not make a home in me as a lasting identity.
I hope you find this training useful. I added some more in the comments section and there are additional related articles listed too.
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Apr 11, 2014 .