Once upon a time, there was a man who lived in a small hamlet. He was extremely indolent and lived a rather frivolous life. Due to his laziness, the village Chief gave him two sons to raise: fear and hardship. These two were rascals and instantly added disquietude to his life, making his usually preferred lackadaisical orientation to everything impossible. Hardship instantly brought difficulty into every possible situation, while fear always introduced anxiety. Consequently, the man always felt uneasy and oppressed with these two wretches around, preventing the lassitude that defined his erstwhile existence. The pressure of the discomfort his sons brought to his hitherto sluggish life instantly made him contemplate a plan to rid himself of these malcontents. He knew the village Chief would retract them if he could prove he led an active and productive life. So he hatched a plan. As he was a bachelor, he decided to pursue marriage with the coveted maiden “change”.
For the next two weeks, he woke up betimes and, of all the male villagers, left his house earliest to work in the fields. He was also the last to return home. During his walk home, he would stop by two huts: the first is where change and her parents lived, and the second was where the village Chief resided. There he would present the fruits of his daily labor as a gift. His actions had threefold intentions: 1) to stay away as long as possible from fear and hardship at home; 2) to demonstrate he could take good care of change if she agreed to marry; and 3) to prove to the Chief he was being productive so he could retract the two sons. After weeks of tribulation at home, coupled with his daily extra exertions, change was impressed and agree to marry him. Overjoyed, he went home and knew it would only be a short time before he could return these two rascal boys to the village Chief. The next day, he walked to the large hut of the Chief with the damsel change and presented their engagement rings, with the announcement: “Chief, through my newly found productive life, change has chosen me. This is the declaration of our willingness to marry”.
The Chief looked at him with circumspection and a bit of hesitation, then consented to the union. The date for the marriage was set a few months away. Walking merrily to change’s parents hut, a date was also finalized when she would take domicile at his home. After all these arrangements accompanied by the presence of change, the Chief decided to take fear and hardship back into custody. The man was exuberant with joy and beside himself with gladness to rid himself of these anvils of misery. Free at last! Once the two boys left his home, he relaxed comfortably with a calmness that for weeks had evaded him. Due to all this taxation, he decided to sleep in the next morning instead of waking up early and venturing to the fields. After all, fear and hardship were gone, and change promised to marry him. The following day he did the same thing. Slowly, he relapsed into his old ways with fear and hardship gone and with change on the horizon. Before long, his hitherto laziness even doubled due to increased indulgence that sought to counterbalance all the strenuous exertion of the two weeks when he pursued change. Eftsoons, change noticed this and decided to call off the marriage. The Chief also lamented these regretful developments. Hatching a plan of his own, he decided to return the two brothers, fear and hardship, to the man. This time, he added a third boy: suffering.
When we face hardship and fear, we often decide to change in the moment of misery; making strides toward the promised land. But once this external hardship and fear is removed that caused the discomfort, we often slowly relapse into old ways even before the permanent change is realized. Thus we are experience only the beginnings of change. Based on our spiritual indolence it is quite difficult to distinguish between the genuineness to change just for change itself, versus the urge to change just to escape a distasteful set of circumstance. Both awaken a deep fervor and urge to action. But the difference is that one diminishes in intensity once the external pressure subsides, while the other continues consistently. When we slip back into old ways, we introduce suffering and make it harder on ourselves.
~Ikenna Q Ezealah