Wednesday, January 12, 2011

letting go

Buddhism teaches about the impermanence of things and the transient nature of life, and that the one of the main causes of our misery is our inability to let go of that which we cannot change. to resolve this, we are asked to practice detachment and release ourselves from what has become our past.

it's an important thing to remember, since a fixation on the world around us invariably ties us to things--people, objects, events, thoughts, sensations, emotions--that become baggage encumbering our minds. and mental baggage has a way of becoming of physical baggage impeding our abilities to progress in the journey of life.

we see it all the time in racing, especially in the distance as the miles roll on, when it becomes clear just how important it is to jettison all the excess load we carry: competitors struggling, gaunt, haggard, worn, beaten, dragged down by internal burdens exposed by race conditions, chained to the shackles of their own making, trapped in personal battles to overcome barriers they cannot bring themselves to let go. it's a miracle they finish, let alone make any progress at all.

we are creatures caught within the confines of linear time, and by allowing our past to hold our present we are held back from our future.

this is not to say that we should forget. that would deny us the reflection we need to know the life that we have been given...the kind of reflection needed to separate us from the banality and brutality and beastiality of this existence we as humans were meant to transcend.

what it does mean, however, is that we recognize what has gone before and understand its connection to us, and then detach ourselves to the extent that we can realize the lessons we need to go forward. this applies for both that we wish to keep and that we wish to release.

for that we wish to keep, the best way to honor the best of the past, especially those who loved us, is to know that their greatest wish would have been to let us do what they could not: proceed and progress and prosper in all the ways possible to us.

for that we wish to release, the only way to escape the worst of the past, especially for those who hurt us, is to know that their deepest desire would have been to make us share the tragedies of their doom by repeating all the mistakes that were made.

as to how to distinguish between the two: the greater lessons, the better prayers, the higher hopes--these we should take with us, because they are the things that help us proceed on the journey we must follow to find our life's full meaning before we reach its finish. everything else we need to leave where they remain, because they are the things that hinder us from making any movement at all.

to go forward we must be free. to be free we must let go. so that we can release the past and allow ourselves to live fully in the present, and from here move in the way we were meant to move: as free as the moments falling upon the waters, transcendent beyond the rivers of time to the full glories of the future.

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