There was a very strict monastery that followed a vow of silence. The monks were not allowed to speak. At all. However, there was one exception to this rule. Once in ten years, the monks had permission to speak two words.
One monk, after his first ten years at the monastery, went to the head monk, who greeted him and said,
“It has been ten years. What are the two words you’d like to speak?”
And the monk replied, “bed…hard.”
The head monk responded, “I see.”
Another ten years passed.
The monk returned to the head monk’s office.
The head monk asked, “It has been ten more years. What two words would you like to speak?”
Said the monk, eagerly, “food… stinks.”
“I see,” said the head monk.
Yet another ten years went by.
The monk was back to the head monk’s office, who asked him, “After these ten years, what are your two words?”
“I… quit!” said the monk.
Said the head monk, “Well, I can see why. You do nothing but complain.”
Okay, a young person close to me read this story and asked me what was wrong with whining about the tough conditions. I responded, saying that we have the choice of focusing on the positive or the negative.
While it is okay to be conscious of the negatives, whining about them all the time will come in the way of accomplishing what we set out to do. What a waste of energy! The monk spoke six words in thirty years and he did not get anywhere close to what he had gone there to accomplish. When he did have a chance to say those words, all he did was complain. He never contemplated on the reason for the silence.
Some of us go through life only focusing on the could have, should have, would have been.
What if we paid more attention to what is?
What if we appreciated the gifts we already have?
What do you think?
#WednesdayWisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor.