There is a Buddhist story about a little boy who is walking through the woods one day.
For some reason he has a backpack with him that holds all his precious stuff. I’m guessing he never saw Friday the 13th or any other movie set in the woods where the unsuspecting fool gets jumped by a maniac. I mean, am I the only one who sees this picture and thinks it looks scary?
So our little boy ends up getting jacked by the local thief who takes all his shit. He freaks out. He can’t believe it and throws a huge fit about losing all his money, his Play Station, everything. Now you may think this is a cautionary tale about “attachment”, the source of all unhappiness in the Buddhist tradition. Attachment to your material things, your stupid self-serving negative thoughts, your egotistical ways, bah blah blah. And to some degree it is. But after the kid gets through to the other side of the woods he finds his backpack near a dumpster, with everything still inside. He whoops it up like a crazy person on drugs. He’s ecstatic beyond words. He can’t believe how unbelievably lucky he got. Close-up: our lucky little boy smiles and thanks the universe for giving him back all that is important to him.
I had a similar experience today while hiking up Runyon Canyon. Two months ago I couldn’t walk thanks to a pulled muscle in my back and some excruciating sciatic nerve pain. I guess I had one too many Diet Cokes before I went to yoga one day and I was too frenzied to pay attention to the teacher, and I hurt myself. But it’s amazing what happens when you are given back something that you may have not appreciated to begin with. Why can’t that spoiled little boy be that happy everyday with what he’s got? I don’t think I’ve ever been so stoked to be walking up that canyon. The hard way.
Cliche time: It can be a blessing when something important gets removed from your life. And hellish. Hard on the psyche. I felt like a loser when I couldn’t even walk. It felt like it was going to go on and on forever. The drama queen came out. This is probably a lot like what that scofflaw Lindsay Lohan feels like right now in jail. It’s an overwhelming feeling of doom and defeat. It really sucks when you can’t just roll with things, because in the end that’s what makes life easier. Emotional turmoil can lead to physical injury. And yucky cancer.
I really don’t ever feel like learning life lessons… I’m much more prone to gloomy pessimism. I watch a lot of horror movies and I already know that there’s a killer behind the curtain who is going to chop everyone to little pieces and NO ONE IS GOING TO LIVE. So next time you find yourself walking down the street on a sunny day you should be grateful to be healthy and alive. I know I will be.