I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eleven of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Maria The Silver Fox. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!
That Buddhist practice of releasing pigeons to send peace out into the world is a very popular and emotionally appealing ritual which has become quite common among our political specimens too. Apart from signifying the message of peace the releasing of pigeons also is symbolic of letting go of all forms of attachments.
As my regular readers know, I prefer to quote people who can do much better a job than I can and this time is no exception. Paulo Coelho is no stranger to my readers and this is what he has to say about letting go.
“Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much I suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.”
How easy it is to pontificate like that and how difficult it is to let go! I keep wanting to give away many of my clothes that I never wear like my formal suits and jackets; like books that I am unlikely to read ever again’ vessels and dishes bought to set up a home away from home over twelve years ago and now just lying idle, etc and when I start to do something about that, I get all nostalgic and postpone the real act of getting rid of any of them. But get rid of them I must if I have to tick off all the items in my bucket list, and one of these days, I will let them all go.
I however cannot ever consider letting go of memories of a forty year long relationship with a remarkable woman and as masochistic as it may sound, I love to “turn on my emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss.” I do not think that any normal person will be able to do that.
To wind up, and to illustrate another angle to attachment and letting go, another story from the Zen treasury. I would like to reach the level of the Senior monk but I have a sneaking suspicion that even he is just pontificating and in his heart must be re-living the experience.
Two monks were making a pilgrimage to venerate the relics of a great Saint. During the course of their journey, they came to a river where they met a beautiful young woman — an apparently worldly creature, dressed in expensive finery and with her hair done up in the latest fashion. She was afraid of the current and afraid of ruining her lovely clothing, so asked the brothers if they might carry her across the river.
The younger and more exacting of the brothers was offended at the very idea and turned away with an attitude of disgust. The older brother didn’t hesitate, and quickly picked the woman up on his shoulders, carried her across the river, and set her down on the other side. She thanked him and went on her way, and the brother waded back through the waters.
The monks resumed their walk, the older one in perfect equanimity and enjoying the beautiful countryside, while the younger one grew more and more brooding and distracted, so much so that he could keep his silence no longer and suddenly burst out, “Brother, we are taught to avoid contact with women, and there you were, not just touching a woman, but carrying her on your shoulders!”
The older monk looked at the younger with a loving, pitiful smile and said, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river; you are still carrying her.”