We hear this a lot in Buddhism. Letting go. Some of us might think about walking away from a bad situation.
That is not completely accurate.
The walking away is a result of a decision. The factor that drives a decision may either be letting go or trying to escape.
In Buddhism, letting go is a mental exercise. It is meant to train our mind , so that we do not get carried away by situations in life. Pleasant and unpleasant ones.
Suppose, we are getting angry in a heated discussion with someone. Letting go doesn’t mean walking away with anger in our mind. If we do that, we may have walked away physically, but the anger continue to haunt us for the rest of the day. Even weeks and months. That is not letting go.
In this instance, we maybe physically away from the unpleasant situation, but our mind is carrying that baggage.
Letting go means we skillfully turn our mind away from being caught in the situations. Remain calm and compose. This allow us to function optimally.
The ability to do so depends on our skill level of letting go.
In a famous zen story, a senior monk was travelling together with his young disciple. At the river bank, they met a well dressed geisha who was trying to cross the river. However, she was at a lost because her beautiful kimono will be ruined. The elder monk smiled at the geisha and offered to piggy back her across the river.
After that, the young disciple travelled with a frown on his face. The elder monk remarked, ” I have already left that sentient being at the opposite bank after ferrying her across the river. But I see you still carrying her in your mind.”
So there you have it. Letting go is all about mindfulness and not being attached to situations, both good and bad ones.
If we learn how to let go, then nothing in life can affect us. Isn’t that nice?
May all be well and happy.