Letting go… ahhhh two words with equal opposing intensity of pain and happiness.
If you put meditators in one room, you can expect a different kind of conversation; not only is it full of insights but also a kind where there is intent listening.
I had the chance to have a delicious Indian dinner with a diverse group of meditators, one of them was a former monk. At first our topics were mostly related to meditation and experiences from meditation retreats. It then gradually deepened into sharing life experiences including letting go.
Letting go of the monster in the mind
The former monk shared that he grew up fearing darkness. His fear of the dark was so severe he carried it with him until he became a grown up man. Perhaps through the practice of meditation he realized that the monsters exist not in the dark but inside his head. He made the brave decision to face it head on. One evening, he went to the forest and allowed all the scary things to surface in his imagination while mindfully observing his thoughts. It was a battle within that not many of us are willing to take. He emerged from the forest unharmed and victorious of freeing his mind from the monsters.
Letting go of the pain from being misunderstood or unheard
Through meditation we can learn to handle difficult circumstances better. Someone then asked the former monk on what for him is the most challenging situation. He found some people to be hard to communicate with. He mentioned instances when a difficult conversation with someone made him feel bad about himself. However wisdom from practicing meditation guided him in assessing when he is the one at fault or it is the other person who is not opening his/her mind or does not want to listen.
Being misunderstood causes us pain. I shared my personal experience of caring for someone so much only to be misunderstood and thought of as controlling. But I realized that what matters is we genuinely cared. If the person does not appreciate what we do, we should learn to let them be, respect their choices and not take it as a rejection of our love.
Talking to someone is at times very difficult. Some people would burst out in anger right away even before you are able to get your message across. When this happens, the chance for the other person to truly listen and understand is very slim. Although through patience and loving kindness, we can attempt to calm that person down and try to talk in a nice way, some people are just too closed they would shatter all the will to hear you out. If they’d let you talk, sometimes they end up misunderstanding what you said. This can be very painful.
A lot of relationships nowadays suffer from lack of heartfelt communication. We can be both the victim and the perpetrator. Sometimes it is our ego that hinders deep communication, sometimes it is our individual differences or biases. Whenever we encounter challenging discussions, it is important to check our own mindset on whether we are willing to listen and understand or whether we are subdued by biases or close-mindedness. If we have done our part and it is the other person who does not want to listen, then there is no reason for us to feel hurt if the conversation failed to reach an understanding. Let the pain go.
Some battles are not worth the fight
It is harder to let go when the people involved are the ones we love. They are important to us that is why it hurts when they misunderstand us and take us negatively. We always feel the need to keep the conversation going until we are able to clear things out. But our persistence can sometimes worsen the situation and I realized that we can also show our love by letting go and give that person time. Some things are better understood when that person process them on their own rather than us telling them.