Koi didn’t visit Monk for over a week. She spent time reflecting on all the conversations over the last few days.
Soon, winter arrived and the mornings got even more colder. At the crack of dawn, a expansive blanket of fog stretched sleepily across the lake. At the bank, where Monk sat every day, a carpet of cherry blossom petals bejeweled by pearly dew drops adorned the grass.
Koi arrived as the first rays of the winter morning painted the lake with bursts of golden light piercing through the trees and the fog. A beautiful streak of angled light painted Monk ethereal golden.
Koi approached the banks soaking in the splendor of the dawn. Monk spoke as Koi reached the banks “How have you been Koi? I haven’t seen you around for a while.”
“I have been great Monk. I decided to reflect and soak in everything we spoke about till now.”
Monk smiled with his eyes closed. It was the first time Koi saw him smile. Koi suddenly realized how much more Monk valued being a catalyst for impact and wisdom over imparting information and sounding wise.
“I have a new question today Monk.”
Monk waited for Koi to continue. A cherry blossom petal danced with the wind and settled near Monks feet joining the others who travelled from the tree to decorate the grass.
“Monk as I think about everything we spoke till now. I realize I am hungry to evolve and grow. How do I become a better version of myself? How do I change what I don’t like about myself and get better. Even with the best intentions I always slip back to the place I started.”
Koi waited for Monks trademark silence that always followed her questions. A few more petals floated and landed softly near Monk. Koi watches as a petal swayed with the wind and settled on the water near her, then danced and twirled and made its way hypnotized by the gentle flow of the lake. Koi sensed Monk was about to speak and looked up again.
“Koi, we are all born into this world with a pure mind as a newborn. From then on every single experience, event and interaction we have begin to create our personalities and define who we become. An angry parents taunt, a friend letting you down, early disappointments, getting into trouble, heartbreaks, people’s belief or lack of belief in us all rapidly shape us.”
Koi listened with intent, her mind straying back to her childhood for a few seconds as Monk spoke.
“Suddenly one day, we wake up and we don’t like aspects of what we have become and can’t seem to change it how much ever we try. The root of change is in uncovering every incident that has left its mark and defined us. Forgotten stories that have actually made us who we are and these are usually buried away deep in the recesses of our mind. The journey of change is about discovering these milestones of infliction that we find linked to our personality, contemplating their impact and then letting go of what we don’t want with equanimity. This fascinating process is called self discovery and as we become aware of the self we learn to reverse the effects of growing up. The ultimate aim Koi is to go back to the purity of what we were as a new born baby.”
“The Japanese have a beautiful word called Kensho. Ken means seeing and Sho means essence. At that point, you say goodbye to your past baggage and you aren’t anxious about the future either. When you are living in the absolute present Koi, magic begins to unfold and change becomes a flow and not an effort.”
Koi was silent and deep in thought as Monk retreated into his meditative state. Koi swam away assimilating the simple visual of change Monk gifted him. She swam past the cherry blossom petal that had drifted by in the past.