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Thursday, 16 April 2015

It's the thinking about it which is hard

This post is dedicated to those who without knowingly, tends to whine, complain and moan a lot...

Of course we do not change simply by reading a story. But if one reader can pause and go, "Hmm.. I never saw it that way..." 

This post would have served its purpose. Namaste.

Story told by Ajahn Brahm - A British monk in the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah.

One of my stories was when we were building the main hall in my teacher Ajahn Chah’s monastery, there was a lot of earth left over and we had to move that earth from one place to another because Ajahn Chah, my teacher, said it didn’t look good over there.

It took three whole days of very hard work from 9 o’clock in the morning until about 10pm with hardly any breaks. We’d already eaten our meal for the day, and that was one day after the other in the tropical heat. When we were finished, we were very happy but then Ajahn Chah left for another monastery. The following morning, his deputy abbot came up to us and said he thought the soil was in the wrong place and we had to move it. So for another three days we moved it to another spot, and again I was very happy when it was all finished.

But the next day, Ajahn Chah came back and he said, ‘What did you put the soil over there for, I told you to leave it over here.’ And so for another three days we had to move the soil again. And of course by this time I was getting very angry and upset. And being a Westerner, in an Asian monastery, I could swear in English without anyone understanding. But they did understand because they could see my body language.

And I always remember one monk coming up to me and saying, ‘It’s pushing the wheelbarrow is easy, it’s the thinking about it which is hard.’ 

And that’s changed the whole perspective of what I was doing. As soon as I stopped complaining and moaning, it was easy to push that wheelbarrow, in fact it felt much lighter. 

And this is actually how I learned about the secrets, one of the secrets, of monastic life. Didn’t matter what you were doing, whether you were sitting for hours and hours and hours in your hut, whether you were working building a monastery, there’s a thinking about it which made it hard.


  1. Replies
    1. CW,

      Analysing and planning is good.

      Not good if we overdo it.

      Leads to paralysis of actions.

      We become NATO :(

  2. its a state of our mind
    if you think its difficult it will be
    if you think its easy then you can do it

    1. Jimmy L,

      Make believe something is "easy" (when it's not) is self-delusion.

      Breaking a difficult task into manageable parts is something else. (Achievable for the many)

      So is No Mind. (Something for the select few)

  3. Hi SMOL,

    When my desktop computer broke down, I was suddenly more free. I used the time wisely, picked up a book on mindfulness and starting meditating seriously. It's almost a week now.

    A lot of insights. When I'm meditating, I try to focus on my breathing and make acknowledgement of my thoughts as they stream in and out without actually thinking about it. That's mindfulness. When I think about what Ill be having for lunch later while meditating, that's not mindfulness. When I'm aware that I'm thinking about my lunch, that's mindfulness. It's not easy and I'm still practicing it.

    But I'm fairly surprised what I practised in meditation can be transferred to my real life. When I'm washing the dishes, I'll just wash the dishes. Thoughts stream in, I take note of it. It's like instead of focusing on the breath when meditating, I'm focusing on the TASK I'm doing when NOT in meditation. It was an incredible eureka moment for me.

    The quote "When you walk, walk. When you eat, eat." cannot be more true.

  4. Hi SMOL,

    Coincidently I just told a frd cum ex colleague many years my junior that the thinking is more important preceding doing.... *nod* ... but of think properly lar!!!

    I might have told this before :
    " a monk and nun being pursue by killers to shallow river bank. Monk piggybag nun across river to save their lives and once reach shore put down the nun. Nun complained so much that man & woman their status cannot have body contact!

    Monk said "I already put u down, why still complain so much?"

    1. Rolf,


      Enjoying the "moment" does not mean we forget the consequences of our actions!

      I see you are quite well read ;)

  5. thank you for this post!

    this is how i felt better moving in my new house and started doing my own housework LOL. initially i does curse like the monk, eventually with the right mindset, things become easier. sort of going thru the motion and stop complaining abt it in my mind.

    1. Welcome to this watering-hole Black!

      I see you have a very interesting journey thus far ;)

      Glad you find this post interesting.

      The reflection can be even more useful when you are ready to start your entrepreneur jump; return back to the world of trading; or soldier on your existing journey of seeking financial freedom.

      I guessed you have found out through your own experiences - be it forex or poker - all paths will have their moments where we will outshine Job's complaints to God!



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