Letting go

Last week I was reading the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. There is a story he has mentioned in it.

It is the story of two Zen monks Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came up on a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep ,it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekiso couldn’t restrain himself any longer.
“Why did you carry that girl across the road? He asked.” We monks are not supposed to do things like that”
“I put the girl down hours ago” said Tanzan.” Are you still carrying her? “

Me too, have been nurturing the sores for too long. Never letting them heal. And I learned to get some painful pleasure out of them.
It is time to let them heal. Let them go for ever, if possible.

“The past lives in you as memories. But memories themselves are not a problem. It is from memories that we learn from the past and from past mistakes. It is only when memories, thoughts of the past, take you over completely that they turn in to a burden. Your personality which is conditioned by the past then becomes your prison.

We often say’ this too will pass’.  Everything will pass, whether they are good or bad. Like the bad times, the good times will pass too.

“Nothing ever happened in the past can prevent you from being present now. And if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?”.


  1. Doc,

    Thoughtful. Every one of us have that bitter past, sometimes one, sometimes many...We have remorse, guilt, regrets, vengeance...which we nurture and grow; in turn they all choke us and make life miserable.

    Letting go of past helps oneself more than anyone else.

  2. nice review
    “I put the girl down hours ago” said Tanzan.” Are you still carrying her? “
    says everything

  3. Not too sure where my comment went to, I should take note of your post and put down my annoyance with blogger which has been bubbling away for a week or so now.

    My original comment? I was saying how I try to leave the past in the past though it isn't always easy to put the girl down and stop carrying her.

  4. Well said @Doc!I have read the story long back and have shared it many times.

    True, it is best to let go of the 'then and there' so that we can enjoy the 'here and now'.

  5. As far as God is concerned our past present and future are all intertwined.

  6. Doc, the zen story is one of the most quoted and one of the best. There is nothing to add to what you have said, but as one who has overcome grudge and vengeance against some - one just pulls the plug out, you know? No love, no hate; no hate, no love, so peace!!!

    Would have loved to discuss with you in person; writing a comment is too tiresome!

  7. Doc,
    The Zen story is indeed the oft repeated one. It is more of action that is only symbolic and does not engrain the essence. Let us say like the fascination for rituals when performing religious rites.
    Now ,bearing grudge, vengeance on some one or a group for their acts is certainly a principle that is archaic, an off shoot from practise of faiths- like Judaism and some younger religions,” an eye for a eye”. Whether one subscribes to that philosophy is a personal matter. To forgive, takes an effort of Zen practise, don’t they? And to forget is foolish. If one does, one has not learned the lesson from the past. And perhaps when one forgets, history may repeat itself.

  8. Lovely story. To let go is one of the most powerful qualities to have. Of late, I have realized that I can forgive but cannot forget. But, at least I try not to hang on to the bitterness as that is really damaging.

  9. loved the book, loved the story... isn't it the truth? I often think to myself when people complain against gross injustices that they've experienced, "How much more of your life are you going to give that (person, moment, etc)?"
    There are things that happen and we're forced to experience them as they're occurring, but after that, we choose to pick up that memory and beat ourselves with it, giving more and more of our precious Mind time to then unnecessary.

  10. Letting go -though a difficult thing to do but when practiced always helps. I loved the story ,a very strong message.

  11. To let go..is very important but very difficult to practice....I am also nevr able to forget the hurts ever and keep hurting myself only.

  12. the bad and the good times will pass, i will believe it doc. but sometimes the bad one is remain often.

    we must let it go, if its hard, but we must learn to do that :)

  13. Beautiful post. Loved the parable of the monks too. I too believe that passing clouds don't stay, they are bound to pass us by.

  14. Are u still carrying the girl..? WOW .. that just struck me like lightening.. We learn from our past and it 's who we are today.. never let ur past ruin ur present.. Nice write up..

  15. How thought provoking. I will keep the story of the monks with me. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  16. Hi friends,
    There was some kind of problem with the blogger.it was not accepting comments.Thanks to all who sent me mail.
    Margaret,thanks for your time.
    Swapna,welcome to the blog.
    Balan, I will be home this weekend.

    Having gone through many painful situations in the past,their memories had haunted me for quite some time.I have felt that we leave certain things to pick up something different,good or bad.All said and done,I don't think it is humanly possible to totally let go of memories.The more you try,the more they come back to you.

  17. Dr. A,
    What an insightful post. I can relate to painful memories as well. I agree, it's not humanly possible to totally let go. The challenge is how to deal with that past, how to look back on a rational way, understanding and accepting that it's in the past, and prevent it from becoming our prison.

    Pain will always come back--for a little while. It's like a scar that sometimes seems to get sore, but heals right back. I was talking to one of my nursing home residents who scratched her ankle 16 years ago, and the area became infected. It has been a wound that opens sometimes, and needs to be treated. It heals and she goes back to normal life. Until it gets irritated again, and needs medical attention. She went home yesterday, happy that her wound was healed. But knowing that sometime in the future it may open again. "I know how to deal with it." She said, with a smile on her face :-))



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