The Silent Retreat
Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks.
They began with enthusiasm and no one said a word the whole day.
By nightfall of the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out.
The first monk blurted out, “Oh, no! The candle is out.”
The second monk said, “Hey! We are not supposed to speak!”
The third monk said in an irritated voice, “What is this? Why did you two break the silence?”
The fourth monk smiled and said, “Wow! I’m the only one who hasn’t spoken.”
Each monk broke the silence for a different reason, each of which is a common stumbling block in our inner journey: distraction, judgement, anger and pride.
The first monk got distracted by one aspect of his experience (the candle) and forgot what was more important – the practice of witnessing without reacting.
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