The Art of Letting Go

A quote usually attributed to Buddha says, "Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional." What a profound statement!

There is no suffering if you can let go. Pain becomes immaterial in the absence of suffering. I am reminded of a story:

After a day of preaching and alms, two young monks of more or less the same age, with one being more senior, were returning to their monastery while the sun was returning to his abode. Firmly established in their conduct, they walked with their heads down and glances scanning not beyond two feet. Those were the days of monsoons, and the gods seemed happy as it rained generously that day. The valley was green, and puddles of water looked like patches of random art on the unpaved roads. Their monastery beautifully set in the magnificent mountains was past a rivulet, barely six feet wide, that had strong water current during the monsoons.

Naturally, they had to cross the rivulet to get to the monastery. As they arrived at the bank of the river, they saw a beautiful young woman, white like the pearlescent snow-capped mountains of the valley, with a softly radiating face like the morning sun, standing there still but somewhat anxious. They exchange glances; the senior monk understood that the young lady was afraid of crossing the swollen rivulet.

Without any verbal communication and with no further ado, he got closer to the feminine idol and gently picked her up in his arms. He crossed the river and put her down, even more gently, on the other side. She bowed in gratitude and respect before making tracks toward her home.

The younger monk was somewhat troubled by the actions of the senior one. Out of veneration and respect, however, he stayed quiet. The two monks continued walking towards their destination. Silence persisted for a good few hours before it was broken by the junior monk, "Can I please ask you a question, if I may?"

"Yes, of course," the older one replied.

"According to our code of conduct, we are not allowed to touch a woman." His statement failed to hide the imminent question hiding in it.

The senior monk replied, "Yes, indeed."

The younger one persisted, "So, how come you carried that young woman across?"

"I did not carry the woman, I simply lifted the one in need," the elder one said, adding, "Besides, I left her on the other side of the river, and you are still carrying her, brother."

Most people do not want to let go; many others, do not know how to. When you let go, you gain freedom. It further leads to a state of independence, peace and fulfillment.

Ultimately, if you can let go of everything that gives you grief, every agonizing emotion, every discursive thought, you can well imagine your blissful state. Letting go requires resolve, compassion and mindfulness; it's a matter of choice.

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