Letting go! Really?
Having just got back to London from one of the most spiritual places in the world (Nepal), I am realising what an experience it was. Getting up 4 am to go to the monasteries to meditate and hear the monks chanting. Rushing through the narrow streets of Kathmandu under heavy rain to get a glimpse of my teacher, climbing up to the mountain after a long day at Peace Pagoda in Pokhara to sit on top of the world and meditate, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I felt that I was living in the moment without any expectations as you would never know where I may end up the next moment.
A place where electricity was accessible for only 4 hours a day, there was no luxury of having clean water like in London to take shower every day. It was polluted, dusty and dirty yet I went on for days without a clean shower. Yaks! But, yes you are reading it right. Getting drench was like a good blessing of showers from my precious teachers.
On the other hand I was constantly having to look for toilets everywhere due to diarrhea. But that didn’t bother me much, although I would often feel uncomfortable in my stomach and unpredictable when I may need to go to the loo anytime. There was a sense of contentment amongst the chaos. I thought perhaps I was finally learning to let go! Until I came back to London.
The same kind of feeling when you return from a holiday. Although there were comfort of clean air, luxury of water and electricity 24 hours a day, I found myself being miserable and throwing tantrums at myself and others.
The street kids playing in the murky, muddy water kept on playing in my mind like movie. Smiles on their faces, the polluted and dangerous roads kept on flashing. I felt as though I couldn’t function for days. I had been to Nepal a number of times in the past but never felt this way. I then began to question myself after all these years of practice of letting go, I was grasping more than ever, to my teachers, to the spirituality, to the mountains, monasteries, the rain, noisy streets and overcrowded and over polluted roads.
I questioned myself “where is letting go here”? We often think that walking on the spiritual path is a different journey. My teacher once said “If you can sing under the sun, you can also dance under the rain” echoed within me. I realised that spirituality is not a different path, it’s not just about letting go of your bad habits and emotions, but also letting them to be. I asked a close friend and also a mentor “how do we then learn to let go?” She simply responded by saying “by letting things be”.
“If I was able to accept the situation in Nepal and the spirituality, then why did I struggle to accept the mundane day-to-day life of London?” I questioned. Spirituality is not separate from our daily living, in fact nothing is separate from our daily life. I think that’s when people who are following a spiritual path suffer more because we almost want to remain in that goodness only and avoid the pain and suffering which are in fact unavoidable in life.
Perhaps after over 25 years of calling myself a spiritual person, I am finally learning to“let things be”. And this has nothing to do with being spiritual or not!
If you are following any path or no path you may have questions when things are not working out for you. From my personal experience being a spiritual person means nothing special. It is about changing your perception about life and moving on with it by taking responsibility and not clinging on to the past or future. It is about living in the present moment free from past and future and letting things be.
Here are 3 ways that I apply in my life and perhaps may help you on your journey too:
1. Acknowledge – most of us are barely aware of what is happening in and around us. We simply react and regret it later or wish that we may have responded in a different way. Give yourself some space and take a moment to acknowledge what is happening and the way you feel about the situation. That will take the pressure off in the first place.
2. Be non judgmental – specially when things are not working out or not going the way you want it to go. Take a deep breath, pause and be aware of these judgments about yourself and others. Give yourself a break from self-criticism and be kind to yourself. As for your judgments towards others – you don’t know their past situation, their past conditioning and what brought them to be the person they are now. So learn to tame your judgments, as they may not be as real as what you think they are.
3. And accept – know that you cannot change other people nor the situation. But certainly you can change the way you relate to them. Accept yourself for feeling the way you feel rather than denying it. Accept others for the way they are and let them be. It takes bit of courage and kindness to say “I accept”. From this you can begin to move forward with ease. When true acceptance occurs wonder happens.
I really hope you have enjoyed reading this writing and be of some use for you. If you learnt something from here or have related to the points from your own experience, please write a comment below and I look forward to reading them.