There was a monk who was very impatient. You may wonder, why would a monk be impatient? Don't they become monks so that they don't have to deal with the world? Yes, that's true. So imagine how impatient this monk was...

The more he tried, the more impatient he became, so he decided that he must get away altogether, to learn to be patient. So he built himself a little home deep in the woods, far away from civilization.

Years later, a man was traveling in those woods and met him. The man was amazed to find anyone living so far away from the rest of the world, so he asked the monk why he was there all by himself.

The monk said that he was there to learn to be patient.

The traveler asked how long he had been there, and the monk replied:  seven ( 7 ) years.

Stunned, the traveler asked, "If there is no one around to bother you, how will you know when you are patient?"

Annoyed, the monk replied, "Get away from me, I have no time for you."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Every time that I feel myself getting impatient, I picture the monk and I laugh out loud. 

This is yet another example of how to control our so-called "uncontrollable" emotions. By associating a funny story with an undesirable emotion, I give myself an opening - a chance to stop for a moment and look at what I'm doing. And most of the time, I realize that what's getting me all ruffled is so insignificant!

I realize that it must be strange for anyone dealing with me at that point. One minute we could be arguing, and about to tear each other apart, and the next I'm laughing. I suppose I would wonder about such a person's state of mental sanity too. But think about it - what better way to break the tension?

How many people get into arguments that literally break up relationships -  over petty stuff! One word leads to another and before they know it, it's ten years later and they have no idea of why they lost touch. If they backtrack, they realize that it all started over something so insignificant that they're too embarrassed to admit or disclose it. 

So, even at the risk of looking ridiculous, the next time that you are about to lose your sovereignty over your mind and your body, remember the monk! 

While you're laughing, explain why. The next thing you know, you'll both be laughing, and then -  you'll both be able to really talk and listen.

Wishing Only Well,

Carmen Colombo
March 2000

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