Art Of Letting Go

monks by river

On the Himalayan mountains was founded a great monastery were students were put to the most rigid tests to cast off all attachments and achieve enlightenment. Two monks of noble repute were summoned by the abbot to take a sealed letter to another leading monastery and submit it to the head abbot. Such journey was to last three days on foot, through the mountain track way down into the plain lands. They came into contact with the population who looked at them with awe due to their refreshing aura and clear eyes of a life free from material care and burden.

As they strove through towns; it happened on the third day they came to a hamlet in which was a flood and the road trackless due to the excess rain water. Villagers were rolling up their clothes to pass through the water to the other side, when the monks realized that was their only optional route. As the people passed by they noticed a beautiful maiden who out of fear stood almost paralyzed at the thought of crossing and one of the monks offered to carry her on his back over the water since they were taking the same route.

His companion looked at him with horror and contempt as if to say; monks have nothing to do with women, especially touching them since they swore into the life of celibacy. But the other companion seeing the fear on her face still made the decision to break one of the rules to help the damsel in distress. He carried her over the water and out of gratitude she offered him a gift as they strove away never to meet again. His companion was rather furious and started explaining what his fellow monk has just done!

You touched a woman hence you have broken your vow of celibacy! You disobeyed the code of monastic living and you are no longer righteous! I cannot believe that you a reputable brother can make such a decision! He went on and on making a fuss about what his fellow companion had done. The other monk was absolutely silent all this while and due to the nature of such silence and calmness the other monk asked him what he had to say on the matter. His reply was simple: I dropped her ever since by the road over the flooded path and it is you who is still carrying her. Stunned by the reply he let go of the matter for the rest of the journey.

The lesson found here is that we hardly let go due to beliefs, rules and habits we are so accustomed to and we rigidly abide them not adapting to the flow of each moment. As a result we appear one-sided and hold on possessively to our known position. We must learn to let go, to be highly adaptable, to see the world from a broader perspective and to know when the rules don’t apply in our expression of compassion and empathy.

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