On a recent trip, I decided to leave my roll-aboard suitcase at home, instead choosing to carry my stuff in a duffel bag. I knew I would be flying on smaller regional jets and wanted to quickly deplane without having to wait to pick up my luggage at the jetbridge. The last time I flew on one of these smaller planes, waiting for my bags planeside seemed to be interminable. Those “pink-tagged” bags were too big for the aircraft’s cabin, so you had to wait to retrieve them at your destination. On the small plane, my roll-aboard bag became a liability to my need for speed. But as I soon found out, the expediency and convenience of the duffel came at a cost.
Once our plane landed and taxied to its gate, I grabbed my duffel from the plane’s overhead bin and walked past my fellow passengers who stood by in the jet-bridge waiting for their bags. So far, so good. My plan was working, and I was well ahead of schedule. Off I went, bags over arms walking towards my rental car.
About 10-minutes after walking from my gate, it became painfully obvious to me, that there were consequences of my choice. The tradeoff of saving time by using the duffel was the added weight I shouldered. My roll-aboard gave me the mechanical advantage of wheels to help me move my stuff. The duffle bag just gave me a place to store my stuff, with no aid in transport.
Finally, after walking for what seemed to be a mile or more, I arrived at my rental car and set my bag down as I opened the trunk. Immediately I felt tremendous relief from letting go of my baggage. With my bag on the ground, I proceeded to stretch my back to counter my challenging trek from the arrival gate. I looked around me, envious of all those fellow travelers and their wheeled suitcases that were whizzing by me as they seemed to stride towards their cars effortlessly.
My duffel bag experience made me think about the metaphorical baggage we are carrying around with us each day. How much heavy stuff do we burden ourselves with? What are we holding on to that would be better for us to let go?
While pondering this a Zen parable came to mind…
Once upon a time, there were two monks who came upon a beautiful woman, who was in distress standing beside a choppy river. As the monks approached the water, they noticed that the woman was crying and she then told them her plight. The attractive lady was dressed all in silk for a fine occasion and could not cross the river without damaging her clothes and ruin her special day. The older monk quickly motioned to the woman, signaling that he would take her across. In an instant he lifted her over his shoulder and proceeded to wade across the river while his junior companion trailed them, slack jawed at what he saw. Once they were on the other side of the river, the older monk gently deposited the maiden, and then the two men slowly walked away.
As the two continued along their journey, the older monk noticed that his companion seemed angry and upset. “What is troubling you, my brother?” he asked. The younger monk quickly retorted, “How could you do that? Carry that woman? Touch her and lift her on your body? We are not even supposed to look at women, and yet you did so much more.” The older monk told his friend, “Why are you still carrying that woman that I left back there by the side of the river.”
The Zen parable has much to teach us.
Rules can and sometimes should be broken
The older monk lets go of the need to follow the rules and acted out of compassion to help a person in need. The monk’s order forbade the monks to even look at women, yet he did the right thing and offered to help his fellow human being. Sometimes rules must be broken and it is at these times when having pure heart awareness that we can take the right action. Think of Oscar Schindler and what he did, saving the lives of over 1,000 people during the Holocaust. He did the right thing, disobeying rules and by doing so put his and his family’s lives risk.
What about you? Is there anything or anyone that you wanted to help, but for whatever reason, you talked yourself out of it. Does your heart call you to do something but your head talks you out of it?
The older monk took action. He did not judge the young woman for wearing the wrong clothes or for the circumstances of her situation. Rather he acted on what his heart felt was needed at the moment.
The younger monk, on the other hand, expressed anger after judging the older monk for breaking the rules. Instead of judging his traveling companion, perhaps he could have just accepted that his older brother felt the urge to help another. Maybe even the younger man could have lent a hand too!
Don’t reinvent the wheel, but use ‘em if you got them
Stories like the Zen parable can help us put things in perspective. Simple stories offer profound insights. Life is hard at times, and we often have to carry a bunch of heavy baggage. Whenever you are weighed down look for ways to lighten your load. If you see someone struggling and feel the urge to help, do it!
Next time you may be the one needing help to cross the river.
Julian Kaufmann is an energy expert, entrepreneur, and author. Julian helps people get more out of life by applying science and universal spiritual truths to get more done by using less energy. After his own spiritual awakening led him to discover the 4-flowgates for increasing your personal power, Julian wrote LET GO LET IT FLOW – The PATH to Peace and Personal Power. This groundbreaking work teaches us how to apply Julian’s Theory of Conductivity in our life and more fully express and share our true gifts with the world. We are infused with abundant energy but unfortunately; we often waste our precious resources. As a result of our mismanagement of our life energy, our life’s work often suffers. Energy is the ability to do work and our life’s work is a measure of how efficiently and effectively we manage our energy. Connect with Julian at www.juliankaufmann.com