Holding On

I am a follower of Buddhism, finding the words of Buddha a helpful guide in my life journey. I'm part of a sangha that meets via Zoom. The sangha follows the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, affectionately known as Thay.

One of the teachings of Buddism is letting go. Holding on, its opposite, usually leads to suffering. I've been reflecting on this action of holding on with respect to holding onto thoughts or expectations. I recently found myself holding on to an expectation I had of someone's behavior- in this case not a good one. That holding on led to suffering. I've meditated on that several times and am aware how hard it is to let go of these thoughts. They love to circle around, rather than consider a departure. So, as Thay suggests, I've acknowledged them and, through letting them be, they gradually have spiraled further out. I know they are still there, but are not as prevalent. I am gradually replacing them with compassion for this person.

Clearly, it is easier to hold on than let go. Certainly, our tendency is to hold on. Why? Perhaps fear of what may happen upon letting go is part of it. I recently had a conversation with someone about how we sometimes hold on to bad relationships because of fear. Fear is also something we hold on to.

Thay teaches us of the benefits of letting go. He often turns to nature. Look at the leaves- how they let go in fall, knowing that they will norish the tree for spring. Ah- may I become like a leaf in my humility and generosity!