That’s it. Want nothing. Choose what shows up instead.
This is the very essence of zen. It is what is meant by the “surrendered state“. Do this, and persist in it long enough, and you will find some incredible things unfolding in your reality, very likely including those that you formerly really, really wanted. The irony? It won’t matter, because you don’t want them anymore! You’ll surely enjoy them while they last, but the terrible need you had for them to give you fulfilment is gone, and you could honestly care less if they showed up or not.
Can you think of a more pure definition of freedom?
The lumberjack story has been made popular by a reference to it in Stephen Covey’s best Selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People due to all of the metaphorical messages about life contained within it.
The Lumberjack story.
It was the final of the annual lumberjack competition, only 2 competitors remained, an older experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack.
The rules of the competition were quite simply he who could fell the most trees in 24 hours was the overall winner.
The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the wood and set to work straight away, he worked all through the day and all through the night, he felt more and more confident with every tree he felled that he would win, because he knew that he had superior youth and stamina than the older lumberjack that he could also hear working away in another part of the forest.
At regular intervals throughout the day the noise of trees being felled coming from the other part of the forest would stop, the younger lumberjack took heart from this thinking that this meant that the older lumberjack was taking a rest, whereas he could use his superior youth and strength and stamina to just keep going.
At the end of the competition the younger lumberjack felt confident he had won, he looked in front of him at the piles of felled trees that were the result of his superhuman effort.
At the medal ceremony the younger lumberjack stood on the podium still confident and expecting to be awarded the prize of champion lumberjack, next to him stood the older lumberjack who he was surprised to see also looked a lot less exhausted than he did.
When the results were read out the younger lumberjack was devastated to hear that the older lumberjack had chopped down significantly more trees than he had, he turned to the older lumber jack and said,
“How can this be”?
“I heard you take a rest every hour whilst I worked continuously through the night”,
“and I am younger, stronger and fitter than you old man”!
The older lumberjack turned to him and said;
“Every hour I took a break to rest and sharpen my saw”
We go at it day after day. The routine is tiresome, at best, At worst, it is exhausting, even debilitating. In our daily haze, we become numb to life: we stop feeling the world the way we should. Our emotional intimacy with the people and experiences around us dulls down and with it, our joy. We become less aware, less conscious of our intentions, thoughts, and actions. Inevitably, it happens to us all. Frustration and impatience take the place of mindfulness, and this is the point at which we have to stop, remind ourselves of our purpose, and re-strategize.
If you’re seeking to reshape your life, reflect on the answers to these four questions to increase your awareness, expand your mindset, and change your outlook:
What thoughts do you keep thinking? Ever notice that the more you think about something, the harder it becomes to get your mind off of it? That’s because the neurons in your brain form clusters around your thoughts. You’ll continue to think the thoughts you’re used to thinking because there’s increasing traffic on those neural pathways. Like every other part of your being, your brain acts on habit and becomes programmed to operate in a certain way. And like a broken record, the thoughts usually repeat the same form and produce the same results. …...
Are you someone who wants — even needs — to be right most of the time? All of the time? Do you like to have the last word in a disagreement? Do you get frustrated when others don’t agree with your opinions? I do, much more often than I’d like. And it never feels good.
“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent?