An Indian parable that points to the essence of personal growth.
There’s a teaching story out of India I really love.
There’s someone living on rocky and infertile island. One day someone comes out of the water and says to them,
“What are you doing here? You should come across to this other island. It’s where I live. It’s rich and lush and there’s abundant springs and thousands of exotic fruit trees.”
“But I can’t swim.”
“That’s ok. I can carry you on my back. It’s not that far.”
“Ok! Sounds great. Let me just go and get my cabbages.”
“Sur.. no, wait what? What are you talking about?”
“I need to bring cabbages to eat. I have a tonne of cabbages in storage. I’ll just go get them.”
“You don’t need to bring cabbages. There’s mangos, lychees, apples… everything you could ever dream of.”
“Well, that’s what you say, but I don’t know that. Let me just go get them.”
“C’mon! How am I supposed to carry you and a tonne of cabbages? It’s impossible.”
“Well, it sounds like maybe I need to find a teacher who better understands my needs.”
This is a parable about personal transformation and letting go.
Often times people want to recalibrate themselves at a deep, almost soul level. They want to rewire themselves for health, wealth, success, whatever.
But they think this is a process of ‘gaining’ something. They don’t realise that change also means letting go of stuff.
It’s not a matter of just adding an extra room on somewhere. Sometimes it’s a process of levelling the building to the foundations and starting again.
But this process is hard and often painful. So people will do what they can to avoid it.
Like, “I’m happy to talk about my attitudes to wealth, but I’m not willing to talk about my mother.”
Or, “I’m willing to try loving myself more, but I’m not giving up my addiction to diet pills.”
Or, “I’m willing to talk about my fear of success, but I’m not willing to talk about my fear of intimacy.”
We can’t let go of our cabbages. We’ve spent a lifetime accumulating them, and our sense of who we are and our sense of safety in the world comes from having them around.
And so we want to take them with us, even though it is a logical impossibility.
What’s worse, once we get challenged on our cabbages, we push back. We blame the teacher or we blame the modality. Because it challenges us on our cabbages, we think there’s something wrong with the system.
Dymphna’s system just isn’t for me.
But if a teacher or modality is not challenging you on your cabbages, then it’s not doing its job.
You’ve simply have to be willing to be challenged on your cabbages, and be willing to let them go when the time comes.
Personal transformation is just like this.
There’s no way round it.