Avoid the ‘Should’ and ‘Should Not’ language
When a friend in our monastery tried the basket exercise, he wrote a lot of things that came to his heart. But then he also scratched off some items from the list.
I probed him why he did that.
“But I am a monk, how can I desire to drench and dance in the rain?”
“Do you want to do it?” I asked again.
“That’s not important” he reiterated, “We are monks, and can’t cross our boundaries.”
I humbly suggested, “My dear friend, what you can’t do or what’s permitted for you is the second step. First, please write down what you want regardless of whether it’s feasible.”
I explained that once we have the list ready, we can slowly explore the challenges of fulfilling them within the constraints we have chosen to impose on ourselves.
It’s essential you don’t let the rules of the world throttle your imagination. You may be delighted by the possibilities.
Akash, my college friend, had a weakness for sweets. I didn’t see any harm in his likes until it began to take a toll on his body and mind. He grabbed a bar of chocolate whenever he was stressed- and that was many times during the day. Although munching cinnamon and sucking ice-creams elevated his mood, the calorie, fat, sugar, and caffeine worried him. His fear of catching on Type 2 Diabetes added to his pain; he felt sadder and desperately sought relief. That’s when he grabbed chocolate again- indulging in the very act that he attempted to overcome. The more he tried disentangling the Gordian knot tied by his mind, he felt sucked into quicksand and went further away from his purpose.
The ‘basket’ was the panacea- a healthy alternative that he needed.
To be continued…