If you want to forget something or someone, never hate it, or never hate him/her. Everything and everyone that you hate is engraved upon your heart; if you want to let go of something, if you want to forget, you cannot hate.
― C. JoyBell C., Goodreads
One day, a senior and junior Buddhist monk was walking down a path together on their way to the monastery.
Along the path, they reached the part where a river flowed. Since it was a mountain path, a bridge had yet to be built to facilitate easier access for pedestrians. But until such a bridge was built, people had to cross the water to get to the other bank.
Unfortunately, the strong rains up the mountain caused a strong current.
Undeterred, the monks prepared to cross. As they were about to cross, a young, beautiful woman in need of help to brave the waters approached them.
The senior monk smiled and obliged. He offered his hand, and carried the woman on his shoulder. They crossed the river, and let her down gently on the other bank.
|The senior monk carries the woman to the other bank.|
They parted ways.
The senior and junior monk went about their journey in silence. But one thing was off - the junior monk was obviously upset with what he saw.
Hours went by and the senior monk noticed the discomfort on the younger monk. He then asked: “Is something in your mind?”
The junior monk was irritated that he would even ask such a thing “As monks we are not permitted to touch a woman, how could you carry her across the river?”
The senior monk replied “I left the woman hours ago at the bank; however, you seem to still be carrying her”.
The hardest thing to do is to let go of things that bother, hurt or annoy us. Like what the junior monk must have felt, I remember how a past relationship left me in emotional shambles and unspeakable hurt.
I carried the feeling for months – my thoughts flashed countless alternatives of what I should do with this situation. I was plotting my revenge scheme alongside with a though that I should probably just let it go and forgive her. My thoughts alternated between the two diametrically opposite choices.
The more I thought about the choices, the more I got fixated on the situation.
The more I fixated, the unhappier I got.
When we think about it, it is really easy to let go of the things that causes a sense of happiness or joy. When we are able to laugh at something, the feelings of glee just pulsate through our bodies. Then, after the feeling dissipates, it’s gone.
When it comes to pain however, instead of letting it flow through our bodies like how we let happiness just flow naturally when we laugh, we resist letting the feeling flow in a misguided attempt of bravery and manliness.
Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions have to move. But if it is not able to move, it remains there. It’s frozen.
If you know you are hurt but don’t like to acknowledge it, you be able might repress it for some time but it’s bound to haunt you and alter the way you deal with situations at present.
A new relationship might already be there in front of you but because of your repression of a past hurt, you might not see it. Take the junior monk for example, he was unable to see that helping the woman was an opportunity to live out the Buddhist virtue of compassion because he was trapped within his ideals.
“If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart,” Pema Chodron advised “it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart...”
If we turn our attention to hurt and embrace it – if we were to ride out the waves, so to say, then I believe we would be able to grow in ways we do not even know we are capable of.
There are experiences that really have to happen in one’s life and just because they must happen, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it these experience do not hurt us.
We have to get hurt but when hurt does come, the wisest thing is to stay with it and ride it out and when we’ve ridden it quite enough – to drop it and let it go.