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Duck with a Human Mind

By Barnabas Tiburtius

"But how carve way i' the life that lies before,
If bent on groaning ever for the past?"

—Robert Browning, Balaustion's Adventure

"Duck with a Human Mind" is one of the subsection titles in Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth"...

If you observe ducks in a pond you will notice that sometimes they pick up a fight especially if one is close to another, threatening its private space. The fight is vigorous but lasts only a few seconds. After the fight they go in the opposing direction and vigorously flap their wings to release the tension built up.
If the duck had a human mind then it would start wondering why the other stopped fighting. He will start to wonder if the enemy duck is on to something more sinister. He is flapping the wings to show his strength. At any moment he will turn around and attack again. Forgiveness and forgetting the past is the biggest problem of the human species.
Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth" also sites a Zen story to illustrate the past we tend to carry:
Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country mud road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the Loding temple, Ekido couldn't restrain himself any longer. "Why did you carry that girl across the road?" he asked. "We monks are not supposed to do things like that."
"I put the girl down hours ago," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"
Dr. Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, a holistic healer writes:
Holding onto regret is analogues to carrying a rock with you wherever you go. Depending how much regret you carry depends on how big the rock is. Carrying this extra weight drains your energy, leaving less available for your present endeavours. Because you are constantly feeding old issues you are continually weighted down. Holding regret creates illness the same way watering a dead plant creates root decay. You know that something new and wonderful can grow if you prepare the soil and plant the seeds you want to grow. Likewise you need to plant the seeds for the life you want to live. You plant the seeds for your life through your thoughts, which creates your feelings—fear, happiness, sadness, anger—which in turn impact everything in your life.
Focusing your mind and energy fully in the present allows you to fuel your physical and emotional healing and well-being. This action frees your energy to create the dreams you choose. By bringing the responsibility and action into the present, you release your hold on the past.
Unload the past - walk in the NOW.
Barnabas Tiburtius lives in India. A seeker throughout his life, he is involved in multi-discipline learning and his field of enquiry covers Cosmology, Sustainable Technology, Strategic Leadership, Philosophy and Spirituality. He regularly conducts workshops and seminars on spirituality and personal empowerment. Read the Living Spark website for free in-depth papers.

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