Just stumbled upon this awesome talk by Ajahn Brahm. Many of you would already know him for his serene presence all over youtube. His talks give such a deep sense of peace and calm that you feel the talk must never end. But like every great thing in like it does. Some people rightly say in Ajahn’s words that they go to bed with him. Not literally, but listening to his talks on youtube :). The calmness you feel from these talks is beyond words and is instrumental in the spiritual awakening of so many souls out there. Another such talk in “The 4 ways of letting Go”.
Below is a summary of what I could carry from this talk by the wonderful master.
1. Do not hold it for long.
#1 “Things are only heavy when you hold it, when you let it go, it’s got no weight at all”Ajahn Brahm
We often feel burdened by a load of things that we have ourselves carried along and have clung to. Buddha says, you can allow something to bother you only if you want to. You must have heard the parable of the two monks.
The two monks were heading to their monastery and had to cross the river on their way. This young was unable to cross the river requested them for help and the older monk agreed to help. He carries her on his shoulders and drops her on the other side of the river. The young lady expressed gratitude to the monk for his kindness. The monks carry on their journey to the monastery. Just near the monastery, the young monk asked, “Do you think you did right by carrying that young girl”. “Well, I left her there on the river shore and you are still carrying her. Isn’t that against the Dhamma rules?” and smiled.“, the old monk replied
Just like this we also carry so many things in our head. And eventually, overload the mind so much that we need to find a way to clear our head. The simple solution to this is to just let it go. Do not just hold on to the mistakes of someone else because you didn’t find it to be right. You have no control over others and thus should not worry about their words and actions.
2. Be Content – wherever you are
#2 “Want to be here, wherever here may be, and you will be free”Ajahn Brahm
Many of us always aspire to be at some other better place than where we are right now. Be it in terms of career aspirations or be it in terms of day to day trivial things such as travelling. Being from Bangalore, the IT and Traffic capital of the country, I can connect with the later part.
Whenever you express anguish over the slow-moving traffic, all you are doing is creating a feeling of discontentment and this forces you to get entangled in the negative feedback loop of all that is wrong around you and how bad you feel about it. Does it do any good in the end? No, all it does is create a negative thought process and make you feel bad about your situation. Instead, if you, just like us Bangaloreans stay calm and patient in the traffic and just feel happy and content being where you are, you take another step to setting your mind free and train it in the rare ability to let go. Not that we ask you to be complacent and not do anything for the society by just accepting it, but to accept whatever is not in your immediate control and just spare yourself from all the negative and waste thoughts.
3. Give unconditionally
#3 “Giving, expecting nothing back in return”Ajahn Brahm
Help someone without ever expecting to get any kind of favour back in any form. That frees the mind from a lot of unnecessary work. Every time you help a colleague or wish a friend on their birthday, you should not expect them to reciprocate the same on your birthday. Not that you want them not to, but just that you don’t expect them to. By letting go of the expectations we are freeing ourselves from the bondage of a return and also preventing yourself from the dissatisfaction that may occur when we do not get something back.
4. Discern knowledge from truth
#4 “Never allow knowledge to stand in the way of truth”Ajahn Brahm
Another important skill is to not feel overwhelmed with what we know. Maybe from a spiritual text or teaching. THis is yet another important skill to have to empower ourselves to let go. DO not have preconceived notions based on something you read or learnt influence your present moment. Just like you let go your past, you should sometimes decide to let got your knowledge too and be open to new learning throughout life. If the cup is already full, any new knowledge will only spill off. Do not let that happen, keep the cup empty and open for new ideas. By not judging things and people based on your own preconceived notions you gift yourself this