Free Break-Through Call

Ah, so: The monk that wouldn’t get upset

awareness better life tips inspirational stories meditation mindfulness suffering Mar 02, 2020
 The monk that wouldn’t get upset emotional pain

(By Eldad Ben-Moshe ✨ Reading Time: 5 minutes)


Loved ones ❤

Ram Dass, one of my favorite teachers, shared this story once:


There was a monk who lived in the monastery up on the hill.
The local girl down in the village got pregnant by the fisherman.

She didn’t want to cause problems for him in the village,
so she said it was the monk up in the monastery. 

When the baby was born,
the mother got ill and the townspeople carried it up the hill to the monastery.

They knocked angrily on the gate, and the monk opened the door;
they said to the monk, ‘This is your baby – you raise it.
What kind of a phony monk are you?’

And the monk said, ‘Ah, so.’
And he took the baby, and he closed the gate.

The guy’s whole life changed just like that,
becuase of someone else's lie, something he had nothing to do with, 
and yet he didn't lose his nerve, he didn't get upset.

We get upset when our phones are too slow... 
quite the difference. 🙃

Nine years later the mother was dying.

She didn’t want to die without admitting what had happened,
so she told the people of the village, ‘I’m sorry, but I lied.
It really wasn’t the monk, it was the fisherman.’

The villagers went up to the monastery and they knocked on the door.

The monk opened the gate,
and there standing next to him was this nine-year-old child.

The villagers said, ‘We’ve made a terrible mistake.
This isn’t your child after all.

We’ll take him back down to the village to raise him,
and you’re free to go back to your monastic life.’ 

And the monk said, ‘Ah, so.’ 



Now you might be thinking,

‘what are you saying here, Eldad?
Do I need to accept everything like a dummy?
Everyone will just come and do things to me, and I’ll say ah so?’

That’s not at all what I’m saying.

You don’t need to accept everything everyone does or tells you.
The story is about how you create your suffering and peace.

It is about how to deal with your emotional pain and destructive beliefs.

If you’ve investigated your mind,
you might have noticed that we’re 
upset when things don’t happen the way we want them to.

The gap between what is happening and what we want is the reason we feel unhappy.
But only always.

Don’t believe me?

Think of something or someone that made you unhappy, angry, frustrated, etc.
Any form of emotional pain will do.

Now ask yourself just 2 simple questions:

  1. Why am I feeling ________? What caused it?
  2. What would have made me happy rather than ________?

If you are investigating fear, worry, etc., use future form since fear is always about the future:
What will make me happy rather than afraid?

(These are 2 of the 3 questions of step 3 in the B-AIR(™) system)


It’s pretty simple, really.
Simple to understand, but not always easy to handle.

Because we’re so deeply attached to our beliefs. 

We think we know who we are and what is good for us.
Sometimes we’re even sure what’s good for others, and the world!
What craziness, imagine that! Talk about destructive beliefs... 😉

Understanding that the gap between what is happening and what we want is the reason you feel unhappy, you might understand better the message of this story.

It’s not about saying yes to anything that happens.
In fact, it’s not about how you react externally at all.

It’s about how you respond internally.
It’s about your inner state.

From a calm, quiet state you can respond better-
In a mindful, healthy way, rather than from automatic explosive reactivity.

The result?
More peace, joy, love, and health;  less stress, anger, fear, and emotional pain
(pretty good deal, huh?)



That’s what the monk in the story symbolizes:
our inner state, our mind.

He was so at peace and fearless, 
that when life changed or was not what he wanted it to be like,

instead of ‘getting into a fight with it’, he only said ‘ah, so’ -
and dealt with them from that place, not from an angry, reactive place -

which is one of the worst states of mind to react from.
It creates more problems than solutions,
and it makes us unhappy, at the very least.

See that your wants and needs are but preferences.

It’s easy on smaller things.
It's harder on bigger ones because we buy into the story more,
the story of how it will affect us.

But in essence, it’s all the same,
especially if you remember who you really are and what’s going on here.

You can still have your opinions and preferences; no one is taking them away.
In fact, no one could do that even if they wanted to.

The only thing that changes is what you think of them,
your belief, your story, your attachment to them.

But this changes everything because your beliefs are the basis for everything. 


For example, doing the work, practicing, you might be able to come to the belief that ‘it’s just a preference, it’s not as crucial as my mind is telling me’ - 

as opposed to ‘I must have this to be happy, 
this has to happen for me to be loved, ok or safe.’

Practical Actionable Steps - From Information to Transformation:

1. Take a moment to think of something or someone that made you unhappy, angry, frustrated, etc. 

Any form of emotional pain and suffering will do.

(I recommend keeping things simple to start with.
For the first time(s), choose a situation that is painful enough but not too extreme.)

2. Don’t think of how to deal with the situation, how to react.
Instead, feel the pain of it.

3. Then, take 10 full, deep breaths.
The inhale and exhale should be of roughly equal length.

Keep your mind from focusing on what happened or how you feel for now.
Instead, focus on the physical sensation of your breath
(e.g. the physical sensation of the air going in and out through your nostrils).

If your mind and attention go somewhere else,
gently bring them back to that physical sensation.

This brings your attention back from your thoughts and feelings about what 
to what is really happening now.

Focusing on the physical sensation of the breath is very grounding, centering, and calming.

While It’s a natural tendency to stay focused on your feelings about what happened,
the problem is that it is often like throwing explosives into a large fire.

It takes an already delicate situation and makes it almost impossible to control.

Our thoughts about what happened and the feelings that arise from those thoughts are the fuel for the fire.

This means that with each second that we stay focused on those thoughts,
our perception of the situation gets increasingly more explosive.

If, after 10 full breaths, you don’t feel calm enough, continue breathing.
It is not recommended to proceed before you feel much calmer.


4. When your mind is calmer and more at peace, say to yourself:

‘ah, so, it happened that way / he acted this way.
How important is that to me really?
Do I need to do something about it?
What would be the best thing to do?’

Doing this process, instead of reacting with anger, frustration, etc. to any kind of emotional distress, big or small,

will not only be healthier but will also bring better results,
as you’ll be dealing with life from a wiser, more mindful state of mind.


Final note: You can do this! 

Don’t over-do it, keep it simple and joyful.

Take one baby step at a time.

Remember -

  • Implement.
  • Baby steps.
  • Joyfully.


Done is better than perfect.

To your better life,
with tons of 💖

Eldad Ben-Moshe
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center



Life is a journey of learning together, learning from each other.
You don’t have to do it alone.

Share your thoughts and questions with me by leaving your comments on this page or by sending me a message via our chat icon or our contact us form. 

I love hearing what you think and answering your questions.