Letting Go.

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!

Letting Go

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.”


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20 Responses to Letting Go.

  1. Maria says:

    Who was the sage who said ‘once you renounce something, you’re tied to it forever?’
    Maria recently posted..REVIEW – BUSINESS SUTRA by Devdutt Pattanaik

  2. Maxi says:

    You have given me two lessons today, Rummy. The first is that the ritual of releasing pigeons came from a Buddhist practice. I didn’t know this.

    The second is your story. Something very painful happened to me at my beloved husband’s memorial service, has tormented me ever since.

    I am letting it go—to free myself of the burden I have carried.

    blessings to you ~ maxi
    Maxi recently posted..Kick Out the Grey Matter

  3. Ursula says:

    My desk runs along a window. Sometimes, like yesterday, a couple of white pigeons will land on the outside sill. We look at each other. In admiration (mine of them). No conversation. Then they fly off.

    Coehlo is a little harsh. The inner TV should be on rewind when remembering the person you spent most your life with, Urmeela, and anyone else precious to us.

    As to momentos, books, clothes: Don’t throw anything out in haste. When you are ready, you are ready. I sometimes know what needs to go yet will take my time. To me it should come easy since someone (learned) recently decreed that my life is one of ‘loss’. Is it? I was surprised as I thought all our lives, as the years pass, is that of loss – be it of humans or trinkets. But then, maybe, what ruffles another’s feathers is water down my back. Who knows. Do take your time, Ramana. Let no one prescribe to you what to do and when.

    Ursula recently posted..Once upon a time

  4. tammyj says:

    one of my favorite zen stories. to me a case of the ever present ‘judge’ in all of us. or maybe too many of us. a simple act of kindness. done. let go. fire with no ash.
    as to ‘getting rid’ of. i prefer to think of it as ‘free it up’ to continue a fulfilling life of it’s own purpose. for instance… dishes that are hiding in the cupboard and have been for years (not necessarily yours) just using this as an example… the dishes sit there in the dark and the dust for years. when ‘freed’ those same dishes could be used by someone who doesn’t have enough when they have guests. those dishes could know the happiness of the serving for which they were created! they would be used. and valued. not in a dark cupboard. but in the light and love of another home.
    that’s how i look at possessions. i pass them on. it’s a nice way of looking at “things” or “stuff”. it makes it easier to let them go.
    as to one of a kind memories of urmeela. a whole different thing.
    hugs rummy.
    tammyj recently posted..i didn’t need to worry

    • I agree. If I know I won’t use something again I wait a respectable time, then take pictures and try to find it a good home. It’s important to find someone who will love it as much as I did.
      Cheerful Monk recently posted..Messes, Not Mistakes

      • And there lies the rub! Suppose I have a get rid of things session, I have no guarantee that whoever gets possession of something of value to me will give it the same love. In parenting this is a phenomenon that parents of daughters go through often.

    • Many years ago, Erich Fromm taught me that there are two elements to Freedom. Freedom from and Freedom to. If we have to have the second, we must know how to get it from the former! In this case, it would be Freedom from attachments to have the Freedom to live simply and effectively.

  5. Cathy in NZ says:

    I let things “go” when I am ready…sometimes later I remember that at the time I didn’t need, but today I do. But I still accomplish whatever it is with the tools at hand.

    I realise since trying to move some couches internally in the house to another perfectly good room that they too may have to “go” if I move to another house with walls/corners that will not take them.

    But they are my pride and joy, having suffered with wonky lounge furniture for years then miraculously able to afford not one long seat but two…
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..Back to Earth!

  6. Grannymar says:

    I’ll be glad when the pain passes. What have I learned from it? One, that I am getting old and two, I need to slow down!
    Grannymar recently posted..No LBC this week

  7. Your post reminds me of Robert Fulghum’s experience. Buddhist monks were releasing pigeons for people making a donation, so Fulghum got in line and paid his money. But unlike the devotees he watched to see where his pigeon went. Back into the coop, of course, to be recycled. It was a win-win situation. The monks made some money, the devotees felt good about building up some positive karma, and the pigeons had lifetime employment and a good home. What more could one ask?
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Messes, Not Mistakes

  8. Looney says:

    I wonder when Buddhists took an interest in pigeons. Perhaps it has something to do with the Chinese liking to eat them.
    Looney recently posted..Critical Scholarship as applied to Jack and Jill

  9. Delirious says:

    This is such an excellent post! Perhaps I am guilty of carrying too much emotional baggage myself. I did get rid of a lot of physical belongings when I moved. I found it was easier if I hadn’t seen the objects in a long time. Perhaps when I go back, having not seen them for this period of time, I will be able to make another purge.
    Delirious recently posted..Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Letting Go

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