Monk and Snake
Once a very long time ago there lived a Hermit Monk, he preferred to spend his time well away from the trappings of society and instead sought seclusion within nature to deepen his meditation practice. He would still visit the local village early each morning to collect his alms food and this had been the way our Monk lived for many years.
One fine afternoon, after our Monk had received his alms food he found his usual meditation cushion and began to be aware of his breathing and started to practice Samadhi Meditation. His concentration became so great our Monk sat for a very long time and didn’t notice the large snake coming closer and closer. Our Monk was absorbed with his one pointed concentration that he had become as still as a tree.
The large snake didn’t even notice the silent and still Monk who was meditating as still as a tree, all he noticed was a nice warm sleeping spot in those Monks robes all draped around his crossed legs, and in the sunshine, our snake snuggled into the Monks lap and fell fast asleep.
An hour or so passed like this with our Monk in deep meditative concentration and our snake fast asleep on his lap, until slowly the Monk returned his concentration to his surroundings and began to become aware of an unusual weight in his lap. You can imagine the surprise of the Monk as he glanced down into his lap. As bold as brass a very large snake had indeed curled up in his lap and fallen fast asleep.
Fear grasped our Monk who instantly closed his eyes and started meditating again. He calmed himself and remembered his training, all things are impermanent and forever changing, and knew without a doubt the snake would move on again, and so he stayed in Meditation
But our snake was very comfortable and didn’t want to move, he stayed where he was fast asleep. This went on for many days until even the villagers had started to notice the absence of their Monk and decided to pay him a visit.
The villagers came with food and offerings and as they approached they noticed the Monk sat silently in Meditation, they were all so absorbed with the serenity of the Monk and his stillness that they didn’t notice the snake curled up fast asleep in his lap. Slowly each villager bowed with respect to the meditating monk and left their offerings and our monk to his meditation.
Life went on like this for many days. Our Monk out of fear in a deep meditative concentration, our snake fast asleep on his lap all comfortable as can be, and the villagers coming each and every day to offer food.
Finally our snake felt hungry and so uncurled from the Monk’s lap, stretched his biggest stretch he went off in search. Our Monk also slowly came out of meditation but something had changed deep within, he had sat for many days in complete absorption of his mind and saw as clear as a mountain lake the processes within our minds that cause humanity so much pain and suffering, he had attained enlightenment.
He had experienced for himself the true impermanence of all phenomena and the attachment to everything which causes our sufferings. As our monk slowly opened his eyes a great sense of loving-kindness filled his heart, he noticed all the offerings from the local villagers and was compelled with compassion to help their sufferings. He packed his small bag and started the walk to the village where he stayed and taught for the rest of his life, the root causes of our sufferings and the way to enlightenment.
Sometimes Fear can compel us to do some remarkable things but also has the power to cripple our thinking.
Covid-19 has become a very fearful experience for everyone all over the world and it is how we move forward not allowing that fear to consume our thinking is the key.
If fear is having a crippling effect on your decision making, we are overthinking life and need to find a way to relax.
Meditation helps to calm the mind and settle the overthinking. Let’s overcome our fears in our efforts to get through this unfortunate situation.