A zen master invites his student for tea. The student arrives and is handed a beautiful china teacup.
The teacher then says loudly, “Don’t think, let it go.”
The student imagines this precious teacup shattering on the floor and is terrified of the image. He holds tightly to the cup.
The teacher says even louder, “Don’t think, let it go!”
The student can’t possibly let the cup go since it will break into pieces and his teacher will be mad. He doesn’t know what to do and so holds tightly to the cup.
The teacher then takes the cup and says, “Don’t think, let it go,” and then places the cup gently on the table.
So often letting go is really holding on disguised as letting go. When we want to lose weight, we can’t stop thinking about doritos. When we have an issue at work and we want to go home and decompress, all we do is vent about our boss. When a relationship dissolves, an argument is unresolved, a past hurt lingers and we try to release it, we oftentimes stay stuck in that moment.
How to let go?
I think you first have to mourn the loss of the doritos (only partially joking). Then you have to surrender to the powerlessness of it because I think our holding on is our way of controlling that which is out of our control. And when we feel we are without choices, we often make choices that aren’t in our best interest.
We always have choices, even if the only choice we have is our reaction to the chaos, and that choice makes all the difference. Think about a time you reacted calmly, taking a moment to respond and decide compared to when you exploded or reacted from that knee-jerk, instant, non-conscious place…
Therein lies a difference between Ana and Emma.
Sometimes we cling to the cup when there’s a table nearby…