The Zen Series: The Girl At The River

Parsi Times presents our readers ‘The Zen Series’ by PT Columnist, Kashmira Shaw Raj – a professional Taichi and Qigong practitioner and teacher, as also a sought-after clinical psychologist and healer. These Zen stories will resonate with you and help you connect within, at a deeper, inner level to encourage and empower you to reflect. These make for good reading across people of all ages and speak to the reader at several levels. If you’re looking to bring about a positive change in yourself, ‘The Zen Series’ will inspire, motivate and facilitate you in realizing truths about yourself and life, to ultimately set you on the path of growth, wisdom and happiness.

In the seventh episode of ‘The Zen Series’, we learn an important lesson based on the story about ‘The Girl At The River’.

A senior monk and his junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side. The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman. 

Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey. The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.

Two more hours passed, then three. Finally, the younger monk could not contain himself any longer and blurted out, “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”

[Courtesy: Zen stories for a calm, clear mind- Personal Growth]

This story gives an amazing insight into how we live in the past. There are very few that live lives in the present, full of love and pride. For many, life is tinged with remorse, regret and unfulfilled desires. Neither do we let go the past nor do we address the present. So much of our energy is spent over the past, that there is little left for the present.  


  1. Start paying attention to the NOW. What is happening is only in the moment. Like you are reading this NOW! 
  2. Think of the learning happening right now.
  3. Enjoy, experience, love… all in the now. 
  4. Before you realize it, these experiences will become a memory. Happy, sad, depressed or great, they are mere memories.
  5. You are only alive in this moment…. never forget that!

Own the moment. Don’t just participate. Own it. Make it yours and then move forward. 

In this way there will always be pleasant things to look forward to. Why would you not want to? We are often like the young monk who kept replaying incidents of the past in his mind, until he had to ask the old monk for an explanation. But his senior just looked at the woman as someone needing help, and carrying her across as a solution. The moment he kept her down, it was over and became a thing of the past. He moved on. 

We often face difficulty letting go of old relationships. We cling on to things that are no longer there. One half may have moved on in life but for the other, they are still remembering those days, pining and depressed. 

It’s great to remember those days, but move on; 

It’s all just ashes and dust, life is one moving song!

Kashmira Shaw Raj is a professional Taichi and Qigong practitioner and teacher. Also, a successful clinical psychologist, psychic and healer, Kashmira runs ‘The Tai-Qi Touch’ with her husband, Dr. Brijesh Raj, a healer and a Vet. Taichi practitioners for over fourteen years now, they are instructors in Sifu Carlton Hill’s Tao Taichi Qi Gong organization, and Shibashi Instructors under Sifu Wing Cheung from the Feng Shui and Taichi Institute, Hongkong & Canada. 

The Tai-Qi Touch offers classes for adults and children at ‘Infinite Studio’ (Opp. Starbucks Café, Chowpatty, Mumbai). To contact Kashmira, M: 9323874418 or Email:

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