A+ A A-

A Buddhist Way To Let Go Of Your Past

zenpast

We all struggle to let go of the past.

Although the past is long gone, we tend to keep it alive in our minds. A wide range of emotions arise as we think of what has passed—we either feel guilt, disappointment, regret, or nostalgia.

In our attempts to rethink and analyze the old, we block the new from arising. To put it differently, thinking of the past restricts the flow of the present moment.

Intellectual ideas are easy to entertain—but the difficulty often emerges when we try to put it into practice. That said, to properly practice letting go, we must first understand why we hold on to the past so dearly.

Zen story I read a few years back has inspired me to look at the old in a different light and understand the emotions it prompts. The story goes like this:

“A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another, because they had taken vows not to touch a woman. Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on with his journey. The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened.

After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them. Two more hours passed, then three, and finally the younger monk couldn’t contain himself any longer, and he blurted out, “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman—how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I put her down on the other side of the river a long time ago; why are you still carrying her?”

The junior monk in the Zen story represents the majority of us. Bound by his destructive mental activity, he grasped onto the past and kept on reliving it in his mind for hours. On the other hand, the senior monk symbolizes the proper way of dealing with the past. When the situation ended, he didn’t mentally “carry” it with him. He continued his journey as if he’d never broken his vow.

This story is a depiction of our lives—we all go through painful or regretful situations. The two monks represent the two choices that we have when dealing with the past: we either choose to let go, or we choose to hold on.

Holding on to the past is the easiest way out—it’s familiar, comfortable, and certain. This is why we hold on so dearly to the past. We subconsciously think that it can still serve us in some way. Letting go of it appears terrifying, since we don’t know what’s waiting for us.

Like the senior monk, we have the choice to not allow the old affect the new. We must believe that letting go of what’s passed is the most precious gift we can give to ourselves. The more we dwell on the past, the more we build mental attachments around it, and the more we struggle to release it.

Here are a few Buddhist philosophies that might help inspire us to put the past behind us:

1. The present moment is all we have. Creating psychological time in our minds only makes us suffer. The notions of the past and the future are entirely man made. The truth is that the present moment is the combination of the past and the future simultaneously. It is all there is.

2. The past is an illusion. The only place where the past thrives is the mind. Consider the past a fire and your thoughts the fuel. The more you pour fuel onto the fire, the bigger the fire becomes. Don’t feed the past with thoughts—you’ll only revive it.

3. Accepting impermanence is essential. To let go of anything in life, Buddhists firmly believe that we need to accept its annihilation first. For new things to grow, old things must die first. Accept that things end—it’s the law of nature.

4. Practice forgiveness. If we wish to let go of the past, we need to behave like the senior monk. He forgave the woman—and most importantly, he forgave himself for carrying her to the other side of the river. Without forgiveness, he wouldn’t have enjoyed the rest of his journey.

Author: Elyane Youssef
Source

CrystalWind.ca is free to access and use.
"Would you consider a small gift of $11.11 ?" :)
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
"Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."

© 2008-2019 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

Pin It

Free Reading Here!!

crystal-wind-oracle-mobile-app
 
Cut Through The Illusions!
Available On The
Apple  / Android / Amazon
NEW Expanded Version - 53 cards!

Articles: Buddhism

We have 1362 guests and no members online

Featured This Month

Page:

Yule By The Hedgewitch

Yule By The Hedgewitch

Yule Yule is a solar festival and one of the Minor Sabbats. This is when th... Read more

Winter Solstice - A Season of Giving

Winter Solstice - A Season of Giving

CELEBRATING THE WINTER SOLSTICE The December solstice is also known as the ... Read more

Birth Totem - Owl

Birth Totem - Owl

Birth Totem Owl Birth dates: November 23 - December 21 Birth Totem: Owl C... Read more

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

The Wisdom Stone Lapis lazuli is a deep balancer, and works ... Read more

Long Snows Moon

Long Snows Moon

Elk – Obsidian – Black Spruce – Black November 22 to December 21 The Long ... Read more

Sagittarius Mythology

Sagittarius Mythology

The Sagittarius Myth Other than Virgo, the Sagittarius myth is probably the... Read more

Yule Blessings

Yule Blessings

Yule The Winter Solstice or Yule is one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats, and i... Read more

Obsidian

Obsidian

The Protection Stone As a stone that emerges with dramatic force from the d... Read more

Turquoise

Turquoise

The Master Healer Stone As a blue stone with a hint of green, turquoise wor... Read more

The Elder Tree - November 25 - December 22

The Elder Tree - November 25 - December 22

The Winter Solstice ( Alban Arthuan ) Celtic Symbol : The Black Horse Or Th... Read more

Azurite

Azurite

The Mental Purger Stone The dark brilliance of azurite speeds the vibratio... Read more

Yule

Yule

Yule Ritual Celebrated on the Winter Solstice, around December 21 each year.... Read more

Sagittarius

Sagittarius

Nov 22 - Dec 21 Spirit: Meeting competition Ego: Independent, studious, in... Read more

Lunar Phases And Correspondences

Lunar Phases And Correspondences

Lunar Phases The lunar phase is important in determining the best time for ... Read more

Sun in Sagittarius

Sun in Sagittarius

An Overview of Sun Sign Characteristics for Sagittarius At the heart of Sagit... Read more

© 2008-2019 CrystalWind.ca. Site Creation by CreativeInceptions.com.

5b6459cfda63c5fd04cb7ca255dfcb1d8f0d2dc558e0d69bb7

X

Right Click

No right click