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I Can’t Let Go

Bear with me, this blog will perhaps be a little out there!  I recently saw the moving SAMSARA.  It’s moving imagery and sound, but no words.  It’s an experience, that I’m finding difficult to describe, and hope you will watch it for the journey and for the after-thought that happens in your brain!

One of the most striking images is near the end of the film.  A group of older monks has spent countless hours creating a mandala design, of amazing beauty, with grains of colored sand, precisely laid out into a pattern.  You know they spent a long time making it, maybe even days or weeks.  They stand and admire the beauty.  And then they shovel the sand together, and scoop it into a bowl, and leave.

If you know Buddhism, this is all in stride – there is nothing permanent, and so rather than cling to an idea, it’s best to let it go.  Outside Buddhism, this is obviously more difficult.  We cling to beliefs of what we can and cannot do.  We may blame parents, education or lack thereof, circumstance….and cling to blaming someone else for our inability to have what we want in life.  We hold on to people, wanting precious ones to stay by us.  When we get scared, we cling to fear, intending that freezing up or defensive behavior will protect us from a perceived danger.  We hold on to jobs believing we need them to survive and provide, as if there is no other alternative.  We repeat the same tasks day in and day out, holding on to structure and routine as if they will always be the same.  And if the routine changes, we create, and cling to, a new routine.

And yet, as this small, but momentous, moment with the monks shoveling their mandala grains of sand shows – there is no point clinging to anything, because everything will transform.  The sand, originally, was separated into unique colors, appearing separately and in contrast to one another.  When the monks shovel and scoop it together, it becomes one bowl full of the same color of sand – a rainbow mixed together with no remarkable highlights and contrasts.

The things we hold on to in life, also have to change.  Children grow up and become adults needing to strive their own path.  Jobs change and disappear, leaving us at a crossroads.  People come, and people go in our lives, a constant flow of joy and pain.

At some point, however, though mired in holding on to all these things – sometimes clutter in our homes is a perfect example! – we know we have to let them go.  Let go of the “stuff” that is piled up on the table.  Let go of the pain we’re holding on to feeling wrongfully treated, let go of the beliefs that keep us mired in an unsatisfactory life…..and that image of these monks with the sand, for me, was the perfect example of letting go.  And yet, just because you let something go, doesn’t mean in its transformed state, that it has nothing to offer, nor that it won’t be with you in some literal shape or form!  That’s the thing about letting go.  When you do it, there is enormous power created that ends up transforming YOU.

Whatever you are holding on to in this moment – see if you can envision it like a work of art made from colored sand.  See the art work in your own way.  And then imagine blowing it away, or running your hands through the grains of sand, so that they become united, and formless.  From that formless place, what can you now create?

BullBusting went Buddhist today! ;-)


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