Stop the squeeze

A little story…

You’re on a walk. Let’s say you are in a forest, walking along a river bank. The sun is out, birds are singing, you are walking. As you amble into a clearing, you come across a young woman. She looks agitated. She is clutching something in her hand. The knuckles of her hand are a little white.

You greet her with a friendly ‘Good morning, how are you?’ She responds with something like, ‘Oh, not very good! My hand is sore, my muscles are cramped and I’m feeling very tense.’ Feeling sorry for her and wanting to help, you inquire ‘What’s the matter?’ She answers ‘I’m very unhappy. Things are this way, but I really wish that they were some other way. The weather is pretty nice now, but what if it starts to rain later? It’s taking all my energy and attention to make sure that nothing goes wrong, but things still go wrong, all the time. I’m very tired and very stressed and my hand hurts.’

You ask her, ‘What are you doing to make sure that things go the way you want them to?’

‘Well, you see, I’ve got this rock in my hand and I squeeze it really hard.’

‘Sorry, you have a rock?’

‘Yes, it’s quite pointy and I have it in my hand and I squeeze it.’

‘What does that do?’

‘It ensures that things go the way I want them to!’

‘Does it work?’

‘Well yes, some of the time.’

‘And the other times?’

‘Well, I don’t always squeeze hard enough and then things don’t happen the way I want them to. And sometimes I forget to squeeze altogether. So it really is my own fault for not squeezing good enough, but I’ve got a book on how to squeeze better and I’m really trying very hard.’

‘How do you know squeezing does anything?’

‘I’ve been doing it my entire life. Everyone does it. Of course it works! It has to work. Otherwise, we would all be delusional.’


‘What are you trying to say?’

‘Well, I have an exercise you could try. It is an exercise that is thousands of years old. Handed down from sage to sage. An old wise man taught it to me on a mountain top. He had a beard and a robe.’

‘That sounds legit! Please, tell me about this exercise.’

‘Ok, well first you sit down, then you close your eyes. Then, and this is very important, you relax. Once, you are sufficiently relaxed, you breathe.’

‘I just breathe? What does that do?’

‘Ehm, … nooooo, you don’t just breathe, you have to pay very careful attention to the breath as well. Like I said, it is a very mystical and ancient method. You relax, you breathe and then you pay super close attention to the breath.’

‘Ok, if it’s mystical and ancient it must be pretty good. I’ll give it a try.’

She looks around for an appropriately mystical spot to go and sit. Solemnly, she lowers herself to the ground and makes a few mystical gestures. She utters an invocation or two. Then she closes her eyes and takes a few deep breaths. She relaxes her body and starts breathing. After maybe 15 minutes she blinks open her eyes, utters a few more invocations, bows deeply with her hands in front of her forehead and she gets up.

‘Wow! That was amazing. I feel so much better. My mind is much calmer, I am less tense and my hand doesn’t hurt as much. That sage of yours must have had some special powers! I feel much better.’

‘Glad to hear it. Just make sure to do this exercise every day from now on and then at some point you will reach the end goal.’

‘The end goal?!’

‘Of course, if it’s an ancient and mystical path there must be an end goal.’

‘Is it amazing and fantastic and will it bring me everlasting happiness and joy?’

‘Oh yes, my sage had reached this goal already and he was utterly at peace.’

‘That’s what I want! What happens when you reach the end?’

‘You drop your stone.’

‘What do you mean? How do I drop my stone?’

‘You let go of it.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘Well, you just stop holding it in your hand.’


‘By loosening your grip.’

‘I’m still not sure that I understand…’

‘Just do the exercise. You will find out in due course.’

‘Oh, ok.’

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