“Have a mind that is open to everything, and attached to nothing.” ~ Tilopa
Great quote? You bet! Easy to pull off? Not always!
We live in a time and in a society that promotes the collection of things. We can wrap our minds around this when we talk about physically collecting things such as baseball cards, coins, shoes – you know…stuff! We can even think about our collection in terms of ideals, opinions, beliefs and preferences. Every new day gives us another opportunity to collect.
Much of our lives are spent grabbing on to things as they come, but how much of our time is spent letting go of things that we no longer need or no longer serving all parties equally? How much time do we spend cleaning out our closet or letting go of old and outdated ideas? How many hours a month do we spend shedding energy no longer serving us? How easy is it for us to release things like sending our kids out into the world or letting go of a job that doesn’t work for us anymore? We tend to get very attached to things, and many times, without even knowing it, we find ourselves holding on to things too tightly or for too long.
I did a meditation earlier this Spring and asked to be shown something in a way I’d never experienced it before. Being a meditation coach with a consistent meditation practice, it didn’t take too long for a beautiful image of a stream to appear in my mind’s eye. It was a beautiful stream that meandered, wound around and twisted just as it wanted to. It had all the freedom in the world to move without someone blocking it off or shoring it up. It was a beautiful, free-flowing stream with wonderful and effortless momentum. A few moments later, a phrase kept running over and over in my head; “Everything has the freedom to come and go – Everything has the freedom to come and go – Everything has the freedom to come and go.” It was such a peaceful and centering meditation.
It got me thinking about why we tend to hang on to certain things so tightly. It made me wonder why we try to control the flow of our lives, many times by blocking it or shoring it up. Just then, an old saying from Aristotle came to mind – nature abhors a vacuum. Is that why we don’t release things even though we know they are no longer serving us? Because we’re afraid of the void? It made perfect sense to me.
We see examples of life filling in voids everywhere. When we loose a tooth, a blood clot rushes in to fill the space. A retired man will fill his time by taking up a new hobby.
So, what’s the lesson here? Instinctively, even if we don’t like it, we know that everything, just like the stream, has the freedom to come and go. We’ve all heard the saying, “if you love something, set it free.” We also know that we have a tendency to hold on to things, sometimes well past its time. If we can use the lesson of filling up the empty void with something else that will excite or nourish us, doesn’t it make sense to use this to our advantage?
Our Higher Power is often talking to us – our stream always seems to be nudging us to find momentum in a particular flow at any particular time. We, on the other hand, love to tell a river where to go by piling up rocks and redirecting traffic.
But, today is a new day. And let’s face it – even for the controliest of control freaks out there (we know who we are), even being a control freak is a belief that we collected about ourselves in the past. For those of us who identify with that label, I say it’s time to release the term “control freak” and say to ourselves, “I used to try to control every little thing, but that label doesn’t serve me anymore.” Even the term “control freak,” just as it had the freedom to come into our lives has the freedom to leave just as easily. While we’re at it, we can release a few other labels that no longer serve us. We can tell ourselves that letting go of those old jeans that we’ll never wear again will make room in our dresser for new jeans that are more comfortable and therefore more likely to be worn rather than collecting dust. We can release guilt by replacing it with a lesson. We can release anger by replacing it with forgiveness. We can throw out the sour milk that is stinking up our refrigerator and replace it with fresh milk that will be delicious. We can give up an old job that is making us sick to do something we are passionate about.
All in all, we can take this knowing that everything has the freedom to come and go and embrace it. We can begin to view ourselves as fluid and agile and excited to see what will come into our lives once something is released.
Everything has the freedom to come and go – Everything has the freedom to come and go. Isn’t that amazing…..