By Ng Ah Eng
To many, having a place to call your own is an important. Owning a home is so much a pride possession that many people cling to it regardless of the price they had to pay. It is not surprising that many of us spend our entire life working to pay off our home.
Below is an interesting encounter that I have had that gave me a new perspective of life.
Sometimes back this year, I came across an old lady who was staying by herself in a big house. She was in her eighties, single, she lives alone by herself. Being old, she is weak and is not able to walk well.
With barely any income and people to visit her, she took up gardening to sustain herself. She planted some vegetables so that she could cook them and eat them. Her garden was so well kept that I noticed that there was no visible ants and worms around her garden. She even painted and maintained her own house. These are demanding tasks for a person of her age.
Although living in a big house is the ultimate dream for many people, there are obvious downsides to having a huge house especially when one is already old. It always puzzled me why she did not want to sell off her house, make by a smaller one, and with the profit employed someone to look after her. She would have lived a much more fulfilling retired life.
As I pondered, I realized it was just a person’s inability to just let go.
It was from this angle that I started to understand certain things in life. Sometimes, while doing my community volunteer service, I came across people with a disadvantaged family background who had problems getting by and were in a very difficult position to raise up their babies/kids. Yet, despite the circumstances they were in, despite opportunities given by the society at large to them, both the parents and the child suffer.
Is letting go easy?
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.
I was reminded of an incident where people catch the monkeys by putting bananas into coconuts with a cut hole. The monkeys could not let go of their hands, when they put their hands in the coconut to get the bananas, and were so caught.
So like all skills, we need practice to be able to do it. With practice, we can learn to gradually let go of our greed, attachment and anger, so that we would feel relaxed, alert and generally more in tune and open to new thoughts and ideas when the need arises.
It would be good if we can practice it in our daily life to and bring positive changes to ourselves.
Chinese New Year is around the corner. It’s a good time of year to organize spring cleaning. We can make a list of unwanted things, and start throwing, selling, or giving away things that are broken and/or we no longer need.
Just as our home need to be cleaned and maintained, so do our body and mind.
Take time to stand still, and observe the surroundings. Be at the moment, and just let yourself go for a few minutes, until you feel that it is enough.
Take time to observe the thoughts and emotions you are having once or twice a day, and get into the mental and physical habit of letting go, so that you can do it more readily and easily, when negative states of mind arises.
Take time to meditate.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey