So there were once these two #monk s, Tanzan and Eikido, traveling down an old muddy road,muddied that much more by the heavy rain that just wouldn’t stop pouring. There was this bent you see, and as they came to it they saw a very lovely girl in an exquisite silk kimono who couldn’t cross the mud filled intersection. Tanzan saw her trouble and at once jumped to the rescue, lifting the girl in his arms and carrying her over the mud, living her beautiful kimono unsullied. They carried on their path and Eikido was silent the rest of the way. That night they arrived at a lodging temple and Eikido could no longer keep silent and he just had to say something. So he looked at his companion and said: “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”. Tanzan looked at him and calmly replied: “I left the girl there. Are you still carrying her?”
We do that all the time, don’t we – carry things that have long gone been put down in reality and we keep on reliving the past and being locked in it as if were the present. Things pass, they transpire, they are over, the deed is done and reality of the now puts new challenges in front of us, which we fail to deal with or enjoy because we’re not really there in the now. Oh how calloused our hands, minds, hearts and souls are for clutching things so hard all the time. There is this soapy slipperiness of true peace and acceptance, as we continue on to rummage through past events, only to have them slide out of our hands that much faster the stronger we squeeze. We cling to things and drag their remnants into situations and times in which they haven’t any more power over us. But the brain latches on, remembers and replays, swoops into obsessive repetitions and just picks and picks at the same thing. Repetition and inability to let go are marks of a trauma.
Sure, there are rules in life, and rules are there as a guiding rope for a reason as all structures need rules and regulations, boundaries and systematization. This is what makes them structures and not chaotic randomness. But life is not the sterility of a mathematical equation, bureaucracy, grids with nice fitting perfect slots where everything runs smoothly. Unexpected situations arise all the time, things get bent and warped, rules that might work as concepts on paper cannot cover all situations life will present. Breaking a rule is sometimes less harmful than abiding by it. Rules are made for perfect mechanical systems not living ones with the wild cards of emotion, creativity and free will. Don’t ignore the (legitimate and helpful) rules, chances are most of theme are there for a good reason and they lower the number stupid mistakes and pitfalls. But don’t get so caught up in them to start ignoring reality which doesn’t always fit within them. If you’re breaking a big one, you better have a reason that is bigger, or a rule that is not as crucial that, once broken, crumbles the whole structure. Black letters on white papers are no match for life and a whole lot of gray areas you need to master in order to live well, honestly and as your truest self.
Rigid things are weak because they break if you bend them yet structures need something to stand on to be (relatively) stable. Be respectful to the structure but don’t see it as a cage entirely ruling your life and decisions.