“Say to yourself, ‘I have certain attitudes and ambitions. I also have friends and allies in these attitudes. But what would happen to me if they suddenly withdrew their support of me?’ Do this and you will understand one kind of fear – the fear of standing all alone. But you can stand all alone, which is the only stand having no fear. Stand in the light of your own lamp and see for yourself. Self-discovery is really a lot of fun.”
Once upon a time there lived a woman called Maya in the land of Leela. In this society, children are given small colored rocks to carry around in a sack on their backs. It starts with a small rock which they come to believe represents them.
Over the years, the rocks accumulate and the weight of the sack can become quite uncomfortable.
Maya accumulated her colored rocks just like everyone else. She held her body in various ways and learned to walk with a slow and crooked gait. The pain spread.
People said well this is just the way life is.
She asked her friends for help. “Get a husband, that’s what you need. Have a normal life, get married, have kids, and work hard, and forget about the pain.”
She did and it only seemed to help for while.
“Go shopping.” “Get involved.” “Eat donuts.” “Have a drink!”
These solutions were only temporary.
A spiritual friend said, “It’s your karma. You have to work off your bad karma. I went to India and lived in an ashram and collected these beautiful rocks of spiritual concepts. Here have some.”
A philosopher said, “This too shall pass. Here have this rock of pithy sayings.”
A friend who was into new age stuff said, “You have to think positively. Ignore the pain. Just think happy thoughts. Think of a luscious green valley with beautiful butterflies and the sound of happy birds, and the universe will provide for you.”
Maya tried all of these various things. For a time, she could pretend away her unease with these solutions. But deep down she knew that collecting more rocks, no matter how beautiful and appealing they seemed, was not the answer. She realized that exchanging and shuffling around rocks of beliefs didn’t change anything.
Maya was a courageous woman and she decided to stop pretending.
What if I just remain present and watch? What if I just allow and feel and observe? Is there a way I can be honest with myself? What if I observe, without trying to figure it out? I will observe my thoughts and emotions and sensations in my body. I will not judge or ignore or recoil or pretend.
Soon, Maya realized that avoiding pain was avoiding healing. And soon, she realized that lightening her burden was as easy as chucking away the rocks on her back.