The story of the Muddy Road and Two Monks
The story of the Muddy Road and Two Monks Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. It was raining heavily. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl, unable to cross the intersection. "Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud. Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?” "I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?” Letting go can be difficult, but you'll torture yourself mentally and emotionally by holding on. Life doesn’t always follow the script; rules are bent and broken; the ideal doesn’t match the real. But carrying wounds long after the battle is done is like punishing yourself. Breathe deep, and let it go. Letting go in this sense is releasing all doubt, worry, and fear about a situation, person or outcome. It’s releasing anything that disrupts your happiness and no longer serves you on your journey. Letting go is a choice to decide that you will no longer ruminate on things that are out of your control, and focus on what you can control, instead. It involves much more than just saying you have let go. It’s an internal process that must happen for you to truly feel better and get on with life in a healthy way. Here are five steps that could possibly help you better understand how to let go: 1. Mind Control The human mind is the most complex tool we own and can either be our biggest ally or worst enemy. Having the power to let things go starts there. Making an intentional choice to no longer let past issues and people who hurt us control the mind is what can break the cycle of unhealthy rumination on these thoughts, ideas and feelings. 2. Getting it all out Having the ability to express your emotions in a healthy way is another step to processing things before deciding to let them go. Spend some time journaling out your thoughts and emotions. While obsessing over the details of what happened in the past is never the healthy route to take (we all do it), it’s important to analyze why you’re feeling a certain way, and how you can show up differently the next time. 3. Acceptance We all want to know why something ended the way it did or how someone could end up hurting us so badly without having any concern about how it negatively impacted us. We believe that we deserve the right to know these answers. We want some level of understanding. The painful truth is, we don’t always get that “closure” we think we ought to have. Not everyone will explain why they did something or even apologize when they are at fault. Not getting solid answers and having to move on with life without closure is no fun, but it’s something many of us have to do at one point or another. 4. Forgiveness To truly let go and move on, sometimes you have to forgive people who aren’t even sorry. Sometimes you have to accept an apology you’ll never receive. That takes so much strength and courage and humility. While it may seem unfair and backward, sometimes, that’s how the chips will fall. There’s nothing worse than holding onto resentment about someone or something for years, while they happily move on with life. And the reality is, doing this only hurts you. The most important thing is that we also have to learn to forgive ourselves. 5. Stay Present The present is all we have. We can’t go back and fix the past, and what happens in the future isn’t here yet. We must make an effort every day to remember that and allow ourselves to open up and enjoy what is unfolding right in front of us: all parts of the journey both easy and hard, good and bad. Every day we have a choice to keep holding on just a little bit longer or conclude that today is the day we will finally let go of anything that isn’t serving you anymore in your life.