What Are You Holding On To?

By October 18, 2019 Musings

Are you holding on to something that’s not contributing to your happiness, success or personal growth?

Is it a memory of an unpleasant situation, or a recurring thought pattern about a woulda’ shoulda’ coulda’ ┬ámoment from the past?

Is it self-recrimination from something you said (or didn’t)…something you did (or didn’t)…something you “should” have done (but didn’t)?

It’s been said that we can spend 80 – 90% of our time worrying about something that’s never happened, or has happened only in our own thoughts and mind.

Have you got a movie that plays in your mind about a particularly embarrassing moment that you just won’t let go of? Or a mistake that you feel embarrassed or ashamed of?

I often meet people who are punishing themselves for something that happened in the past (quite often minor, and remembered only by themselves), and for which nothing can be done to change the experience. It’s done. It’s over with. But they cling to those gaffes, mistakes, blunders, faux pas and “failings” as if they are permanent scars, rather than simply past experiences. Done. Learned from. Over.

There’s a wonderful parable that demonstrates this point beautifully.

Two Buddhist monks were on a journey, one a senior monk, the other a junior monk. During their journey they approached a raging river and on the river bank stood a young lady. She was clearly concerned about how she would get to the other side without drowning.

The junior monk passed right by her without giving it a thought and crossed the river.

The senior monk picked the woman up and carried her across the river. He placed her down, they parted ways with the woman and carried on with their journey.

As the journey went on the senior monk could sense some concern on the junior monk’s mind and he asked what was wrong.

The junior monk replied: “How could you carry her like that? You know we can’t touch women, it’s against our way of life.”

The senior monk answered: “I left the woman at the river’s edge a long way back. Why are you still carrying her?”

When we carry things and thoughts as burdens we waste the moment we have because we’re spending time and energy on a moment that was.

Are you holding on to things, thoughts and experiences that you don’t need?

Are they holding you back?

Are you ready to let go?

Let go today. Life’s too short to spend it in the past.

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