December 11, 2013

Let go, move on

Let me tell you a story of a young monk and his old master. One day, while the two monks were walking back to their monastery, they came across a lady waiting beside a bridge. As they approach the bridge, the lady asked the old monk if he can carry her across the narrow bridge and the old monk immediately offered to help. And so he carried the lady across the bridge and then let her go.

Now the young monk was quite annoyed because according to their teachings, they are supposed to avoid direct contact with the opposite sex but he kept quiet because he did not want to confront his master then. They continued walking and all the while the young monk was thinking why his master had direct contact with the opposite sex ... the more he thought about it, the angrier he became. The young monk was really disturbed throughout the whole journey back to the monastery.

When they reached the monastery, the young monk was still very unhappy and he was unable to sleep the whole night. The next morning he can no longer suppress his anger, so he went to his master and ask his master why did he carry the lady across bridge? And the master said to the young monk ... “I have already let go of the lady a long time ago. It seems like you are still hanging on to it and letting it makes you unhappy and angry. Why don’t you let it go?”

The moral of the story ... we have to learn to let go. Not just letting go the feeling of detest, despise or dislike but as we move along with our lives, we have to be able to let go of many other things too. Now, many people will deny it ... but really, one of the hardest things to do in life is letting go.

For example ... when people grow older especially when they are moving towards midlife, many will try to look younger... some do it subtly by the way they dress, some a bit obvious like dyeing their hair while others may go a bit further with cosmetic procedures. And a large majority of these people suddenly develop the urge to engage in various endurance and performance sports trying to be as robust as those many years younger than them.

Why? Simply because they refuse to let go of their youth ... they want to hang on to it for as long as they can. But really, they know that dressing up to look younger doesn’t make them any younger ... neither will dyeing their hair black. And maybe they can still compete in endurance and performance sports but I am sure they realize that it takes whole lot more to get themselves to it and way much longer to recover afterwards. That is a fact that they cannot deny.

Like I said earlier ... one of the hardest thing in to do in life is to let go. Maybe that is why many find it hard to let go of their youth and accept the fact that they are growing old.

I have met many who have stopped working (they have reached retirement age) but they are so afraid to say that they are retired. They always say that they are some sort of consultants or freelance specialists or what not ... seems like they still cannot let go of the ‘working phase’ of their lives. Or maybe, it is their way of saying ... “Hey, I am no that old OK?” Somehow they don’t like the word ‘retired’ ... to them ‘retired’ is like sitting at home waiting for death to come.

I beg to differ ... I don’t try to look younger or more youthful because I am not ... mentally not, perceptually not and physically not. I don’t hang on to my youth ... as a matter of fact, I let it go quite some time ago and already moved on to another phase of my life. I can accept the fact that I am growing old, my hair is turning grey, wrinkles are fast appearing and I am lacking behind in my physical capabilities  ... that is OK with me.

The way I see it ... it is OK to slow down and take things easy. Take a back seat and say ... “Hey, I have come this far ... time to let go and move on”. It is not that bad really ... on the contrary, there are new things to learn, new friends to make and new environments to explore.

Really, need not worry about letting go and moving on ... there are still plenty of exciting things in the later phases of our lives.