The Muddy Road – Parable

There is a parable I read online called “The Muddy Road” that goes like this:

Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.
“We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

Sometimes, one of the hardest things for us to do is to let go.  Tanzan was had a stronger desire to help someone in need.  Ekido, on the other hand, felt it was best to adhere to the rules the monks lived by.  Both are right in choosing their actions, of course, as it would be an individual’s decision.  However, Tanzan’s point was very interesting as it showed that Ekido was still fighting internally with Tanzan’s decision long after the decision was made.  During this time of internal conflict, how much had Ekido missed of the world around him?  Additionally, was Ekido facing his own muddy road inside his mind?

I, like all of you, have found myself as both Tanzan and Ekido.  We have all dealt with situations that we struggle to move on from, and others that are just a minor blip on the radar.  In any given day, I will experience issues of both kinds, but I am working on handling it better.  I currently have an Ekido situation that has been going on for some time.  With the help of my friends, I’m improving.  As with everything, improvement takes time and repetition.

I believe that it is very important to have a partner that you can bounce ideas or concerns off of.  Mentors, teachers, pastors, coaches; these are all the usual titles that come to mind when we need guidance.  However, it can be anyone that you respect, authority figure or not.  I have a friend that is like a brother to me, and I know that I can go to him with anything for an open-minded discussion.  For that reason, I count him as a member of my team.  If you have not sat down to think about your team, I strongly encourage you to do so.  Like a list of references for a job search, this group needs to be a living, breathing entity.  Modifications will need to be done, new people added, some people removed, but it will require some attention.

You will find yourself much more comfortable with decisions, and it may even help if you are prone to bouts of anxiety.  I recommend taking a few minutes to identify people in your life that you can count on to further your success.

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