Zen Parable About a Bag Of Crap

There's a Zen parable about a monk who carries a bag of crap wherever he goes...

One day he finds a quiet cave on top of a hill. He puts his bag of crap down beside him, sits down and closes his eyes to meditate.


A few minutes later he scrunches up his nose in disgust and exclaims out loud, “This place smells like sh#t!”

So he grabs his bag of crap, and begins looking for a new place to meditate.

Later that day, he stumbles upon a monastery with a rose garden, puts his bag down in the rose garden and sits down to meditate to the sweet smell of roses.

To his dismay, the rose garden also smells like crap.

You can see where this story is going, right?

Just like the monk who carries a bag of crap with him wherever he goes, we carry our emotional baggage around with us from one love relationship to the next, and wonder why our relationship didn't turn out like a Disney fairytale

Instead, we accuse our partner of smelling like poop and blame them for "crappy" relationship.

(My friend Bruce Muzik shared this Zen parable with me a few weeks ago, and I HAD to share it with you.)

So, what's your bag of crap?

What are the mindsets, habits, points-of-view, opinions, and stories you're carrying with you that make your relationship stink? What is it that you insist on dragging around with you that gets in the way of you having the relationship you want?

Maybe it's the belief that you just shouldn't have to ask for what you want. Your partner should just know by now what makes you happy and what makes you miserable. 

Maybe you think that your money has to be saved or spent your way, and that your partner is just ruining your marriage by managing or spending the money differently.

Maybe your bag of crap is that you think you should only have sex when you're in the mood... and it's your partner's responsibility to just deal with it if you're not interested. Or on the flip side, maybe it's your belief that you're entitled to sex, whenever you'd like, that you own your partner's body. Maybe you give little-to-no thought about your partner's pleasure or interest.


Maybe you believe that the way your partner disciplines the kids is wrong. You secretly think you're a much better parent, and you are resentful of their perceived ineptitude.

Maybe your bag of crap is the belief that you are fat or ugly despite your partner's reassurances. You are so caught up in not looking the right way that it gets in the way of any closeness or affection.

Maybe your bag of crap is that you complain when things get your way.

Here's my bag of crap lately: Every time my wife gives me a look, or speaks to me in a tone that could be considered even slightly negative, frustrated, sad, or upset I make it all about me. I get defensive. I make a big deal out of something small and inconsequential.

You're never going to enjoy your life as long as you hold on to your bag of crap.

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