Sometimes we feel trapped and we don't know why. As if there are invisible barriers around us, that stop us from living in the way we would like to live. We carry a burden, a backpack with us, that makes us slow and heavy on our journey through life. It causes not only loads of emotional pain and suffering but this burden can also show in physical pain, which can become chronic.
This pain around emotions, thoughts, toxic relationships, environment, etc. becomes our prison.
Letting go of draining feelings connected to memories of the past, negative emotions in the present, worries, and fears about a future can be life-changing for us.
I'd like to tell you a story I was listening to the other day and I think this story might give you some food for thought along the way.
There was this monk visiting prisoners in jail. They had a really interesting time together chatting away, and getting to know each other. The prisoners were very curious about the life of a monk and had a lot of questions about his life in a monastery.
The monk sat down and opened up about his daily routine:
"We are getting up at 4 AM in the morning, every morning, and begin to meditate."
The prisoners were surprised:
"Whaaat?....We would never have to get up THAT early and actually even if we would have to, we would take it slow and maybe watch the end of a late-night movie on TV."
the monk said, "we don't have a TV in the monastery"...
The prisoners were shocked, as they had a TV in every cell.
"And then what are you doing then?" the prisoners asked.
"Well, after meditation we would have breakfast, most likely a cup of simple cereals, maybe some noodles."
The prisoners became more and more silent, "and then", they asked, "what are you doing then in the morning?"
"We work hard. We have lots of chores to do in the monastery, building, cleaning, constructing, teaching, etc."
The prisoners looked at each other in disbelief.
"and then we have a simple lunch" the monk continued, "and after that, we meditate."
"WHAT? Can't you then just relax, listen to some music or play some football or something?"
"No, we are not allowed to play football" the monk replied, "we meditate all afternoon."
"Are you not getting bored meditating till dinner?"
"Dinner?" the monk looked at the prisoners "we don't have dinner in the monastery."
"Oh! In prison, we get something for dinner every night and we even have snacks throughout the day, if we want to" the prisoners replied.
"So. tell us, what are you doing all evening then? You are probably not playing cards or something else, do you?"
"No, we meditate."
"Oh god, that must be terrible.....and at what time do you go to bed, then?"
"BED? We don't sleep in beds", said the monk "we sleep on the floor."
The prisoners began to really feel sorry for that man they liked and the harsh lifestyle he lived in comparison to them. So they suggested he join them instead...
What's the difference between a monastery and a prison, prison seems to be much more comfortable.
Why is it, that people try to get out of jail?
Why would anyone like to live in a monastery?
The only difference between a monastery and a prison is:
People want to be there.
Any place you don't want to be in is your prison.
Escaping your prisons, relationships, and jobs don't mean you have to quit, break up and leave. But you can change the attitude around them and make them a place you want to be in.
Think of your life, considering the question: "Do I want to be here?"
Every "Yes!" is your inner freedom.