"In a famous Zen story two monks are walking together and come to a river. A beautiful woman is standing there trying to figure out how to get across. The older monk offers to help and picks her up and carries her. Later, as the two monks resume their stroll, the younger says, 'I thought we weren't supposed to have contact with women.' The older monk replies, 'I put the woman down long ago, but you're still carrying her.'
"The lesson usually drawn from this story is, do what you have to do and move on. From a typical spiritual point of view, the monk picks up the woman and then lets go. No attachments, no complications, no worries.
"But disturbing reflection can be a good thing. Even inner conflict and worry inspire the need to sort things out. In my interpretation of the story, the young monk who can't stop thinking about the woman would become the teacher. He's more human and has the capacity to carry his experiences for a long time and worry about them. In a way, the story contrasts spirit and soul, and I favor the soulful young man."Thomas Moore, Pg. 115, A Religion of One's Own)
It was a refreshing and a relief to read this excerpt this morning. I've heard this story a few times and I've always looked at it from the spiritual point of view. I'm glad Thomas Moore gave us his perspective from the soul's point of view. I spent a lot of my childhood worrying and full of inner conflict, and to have a licensed psychologist acknowledge that this it isn't a genetice defect or something that needs to be fixed is a huge relief, even as a I approach 40.