A Lesson In Letting Go
Not too long ago I was having one of those days. You know…one of THOSE days where you’re at wit’s end and just want to run fast and far in search of answers.
So I did… and I ended up at one of my favorite places. The Lake Shrine Temple in the Pacific Palisades. I had a lot of questions for the Guru and Founder, Parmahansa Yogananda. Even though he was no longer alive, I knew by my experiences over the last few years that if I earnestly asked he would send me a sign. I just had to be open to receiving it.
First off, I have to tell you that the gardens are one of the most beautiful places you will ever visit. And it’s not because I got married there, it‘s truly magical. If you haven’t been and have a chance to go, do it! There is a beautiful lake surrounded by the most gorgeous flowers that always seem to be in full bloom and smell divine. I immediately made my way to my favorite bench down by the water and close enough to have the swans come visit. I’ve been working hard on my meditation. It’s difficult for me to sit still and control my monkey mind as it’s always going. However that day I was able to meditate for a good 30 minutes. I asked the universe to show me how I could release the negative people in my life and let go of the past. I was seriously exhausted as I had built and lost a multi-million dollar business. The lessons were tough.
When I opened my eyes, sitting across from me with a big smile on his face was the cutest Buddhist Monk. I was stunned. How long had he been there? And then I had to laugh…the universe had sent me a messenger.
“You have nice energy” he said to me. I smiled still taken aback that there was this monk sitting there staring at me.
Then he asked me what was troubling me. I didn’t know what to say. How would he know that something was troubling me? He did. Because he asked again. So I let it rip. I told him everything I was feeling that day.
We spent the next three hours together. Walking around the lake and talking about life. It was the most amazing three hours I’ve had in a really long time.
I asked him how to let go. I was still living in the past and the experiences I had just gone through with my business. I told him that we are always told to just let it go. Which is always easier said than done. How do we release the past hurts, grudges, resentments, disappointments etc that we carry with us?
He explained water and how the current works. He asked me what would happen if I caught all the water and held on to it versus letting it flow around me. He told me it would make me feel very heavy. Yes, that’s true.
He then explained to me the idea of impermanence. That in Buddhism there is a rhythm to everything in life.
That is when he told me something that would seriously change my life. He asked me what the first thing is we do when we buy milk? I was too nervous to answer. He explained that before we even place the milk in our cart, we look at the expiration date.
“What people don’t realize Shalini is that everything has an expiration date on it. People won’t buy expired milk but they will carry expired experiences and thoughts on their backs and in their minds for their whole life.”
“Nothing is permanent. Just like the milk, everything that has happened in the past can be thrown away…because it has expired.”
Wow….what a visual. The Monk (and messenger) had helped me to finally LET GO. It was like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders in an instant. I no longer carry needed to carry the past and have actually been able to
look at those experiences as a huge gift. If something pops up in my mind, I gently remind myself it’s expired and I go on with my day… happier, lighter and way more free. I’ve even become friends with th
e Monk and have the great joy of visiting him every now and then. Every visit I find myself walking away with another gem of knowledge.
So let it go! Use the expiration date…it’s a great gift you can give yourself.