There was a robber who amassed a lot of ill-gotten wealth. One day, he went to a teacher who had great reputation of great character and asked, “How can I obtain happiness? I have lots of wealth and five hundred thieves ready to obey me but somehow I still feel incomplete and empty.”
The teacher led him to the base of a hill, and pointing to three large stones, asked the robber to carry them and follow him up the hill. The robber could hardly move and said, “I cannot follow you with this heavy burden.” So the teacher asked the robber to drop one stone.
After going a little distance, the robber found it impossible to go up the hill with two heavy stones. The teacher asked him to drop one more and the same thing happened with the third one and the robber was able to easily follow the teacher to the top of the hill.
The teacher said, “Deviating from the path of righteousness does cause a heavy conscience. Just as you could not climb the hill with the burden of heavy stones, you cannot achieve happiness if you go through life carrying a heavy conscience.”
How true. Whenever we go against our values, our conscience gets burdened. Stress level goes up. Insecurity comes in. ignoring conscience long enough kills it eventually making it like dead weight like the rocks in the story. Life becomes a burden.