I am writing this piece looking out at the serene brutality of the never-ending sea. As I sip my coconut juice, I allow my mind to become engaged in the beautiful sounds of nature. The waves rippling gently, the trees subtly whistling in the wind, the nagging sound of a frog croaking behind the bushes, the birds chirping in the shade and the sound of fishermen casting their nets as they wade in the shallows.
This feels like a truly blessed corner of the world, one where I feel incredibly free of distraction. It takes a trip to a place like this to really be able to let go… to let go of the mundane thoughts of bills, things I need to do, things I should have done, people I need to contact. Of course, I’ve come here on work, but for a while, I feel like my mind is de-fragmenting. I am just letting it all go.
My day started pretty early. As I took a quiet walk in the vicinity, I bumped into some monks, who were carrying out their daily parade through the dusty roads, blessing every person with an eternal smile. As they gracefully passed by, I was reminded of a story I heard many years ago, a story which ties in nicely with this day of letting go and re-centring my energy in the present.
The story goes like this: Two Buddhist monks, who have been taught not to have any contact with women, are walking back to their monastery. They come to a river where a young woman is standing, wondering how to cross it.
The first monk looks the other way and starts to cross the river. The second monk lifts the woman onto his back and crosses the river. After he puts the woman down, the two monks continue their walk.
The first monk then starts a tirade, ticking off the second one for touching the woman. He is furious about the contact with the woman and the latter listens silently. He went on blasting him right up to the gates of the monastery.
Finally, the second monk turned to the first and said, “I left the woman on the other side of the river, but she is still with you.”
The compassion of the second monk to put the needs of the woman before his own spiritual practice, and his mental ability to then let go of the fact that he had strayed from the path of his personal commitment, without feeling guilty or disappointed, is a lesson for us all.
…. The story brings some level of solace, I feel charged up. I’m nothing special. I get that. I come from humble beginnings. In school, I was quite a misfit.
I kept on moving ahead. I understood the power of passion, dedication – I read books, kept writing, studied consistently – putting in the effort relentlessly. Through seemingly small acts I made progress, quietly proving my naysayers ‘I can’.
Of course, there are a handful of teachers and professors, my parents and a few friends, through my journey, who helped me believe in myself. They shaped my thoughts, ideologies and often played a part in changing my self-perception. A lot in me transformed… There have been ups and downs, but my faith was bigger than my fear.
I kept moving… I believe, whenever I’d fall along the journey, I’d rise. When I’d stumble, I’d dust off all dismays. And stand again, that’s life… I would want to keep doing this until my death.
I am reminded (by my conscience) everything I’d experienced in the past was necessary to become the person I am today. Then why am I saying “let go of my past?”
That’s because, my pain has purified me. My stumbles have strengthened me. My failures have fortified me. It’s all been a brilliant path, even when I resisted it the most- and I thank mother Universe for that!
We cannot delete our past, just cannot erase it – but we mustn’t allow yesterday’s actions to affect today’s progress, because letting go of the past is necessary to live, grow and love. As spiritual teacher and author of bestselling book, “The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle says, “As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.”