THERE is an Eastern tale of two monks about to cross a river when confronted by an arrogant noblewoman who demands to be carried across.
The younger monk refuses so the older silently takes the woman on his shoulders and crosses the water with her.
Later, the younger monk admonishes his colleague for allowing himself to be used as a beast of burden.
The older monk listens for a while and then says: “I rid myself of the burden at the edge of the river. But you are still carrying it.”
The moral of the tale is that resentment over injustice is often understandable but in the end counter productive.
The great religious thinker, Thomas Aquinas, wrote that the first effect of love was to melt anger, grief and fear.
He understood grief began with anger and rage. But to maintain it was to be stuck in a “servile relationship” with the object of our anger, he said.
One native American ritual to deal with resentment involves taking a rock, pouring your anger into it and then burying it deeply in the earth.
The symbolic act is about letting the cosmos absorb your grief. And your anger.
Mystic Anthony de Mello once said: “Don’t carry over experiences — good or bad — from the past.
“Do you know what causes unhappiness?
“You will probably say loneliness or oppression or war or hatred. And you will be wrong.
“There is only one cause of unhappiness. The false beliefs you have in your head.
“Your programming is so strong that you are literally trapped into perceiving the world in a distorted way.
“Drop your attachments to resentments and you will be free.”