Two Chinese monks had to make a journey from one monastery to another on a very wet day. From the moment they left the first monastery the rain poured down and the roads became thick with mud.
As they trudged through a small town they passed a very pretty young girl. She was standing in a doorway looking sadly out at the mud. She needed to cross the street to another house and she was afraid her beautiful silk robe would end up filthy.
The older monk spotted her problem, so he went over to the girl, picked her up and carried her quickly over the road. He set her down in the doorway she wanted, almost dry, and her silk gown free from mud.
The two monks resumed their journey.
Hours later, they reached the other monastery. They got themselves dried out, said their prayers, ate an evening meal, and laid out their bed-rolls for the night. As they were doing this the younger monk suddenly said:
“Our religion teaches us that a monk should have nothing to do with women, especially young, very pretty women. So you really shouldn’t have carried that girl across the road this morning.”
“But I put that girl down hours ago,” said the older monk. “Why do you still carry her?”
Personally, I find this a very easy lesson to understand, and yet (for me) it is very, very difficult to put into action. There’s all sort of baggage from the past that I carry around today. Resentments from long ago that I can’t seem to forget, ancient successes that I indulge in to enjoy remembered happiness. And it all gets in the way of making progress with current work, and achieving the goals of new projects.