This past month has been a blast into the past. For one, my Mom is here and under new circumstances – to greet her grandchild. and adding to that, touching base with several people from high school. Waking up at 3.00 am for Anjali, my tired mind has been revisiting my own past.
I’m not one who thinks of the past very much. I wish I could say, I’m someone who lives very much in the present, but that is really not true. I live in the present and a lot in the future. And then, there have been these moments that catch me by surprise and make me realize that my mind tries to avoid the past simply because it is painful. Like when I was on a 10 day silent retreat and around the 5th or 6th day, I suddenly had this vivid bittersweet memory of buying jasmine flowers in the market and wearing them in my hair. It was so vivid and so far away, tears sprung into my eyes. And I wondered how much of my past I was suppressing out of sheer concentration.
Visiting the past holds a bittersweet pain. There is the quintessential pain of change – that moments have passed that will not return. and sometimes there is the pain we carry without realizing – the pain of our wounds. This is difficult pain, for wounds hold our vulnerability. and we don’t like to be vulnerable. and yet, as we start opening to these moments, we realize what gentleness is. And as I realized how much I was holding on to, I could be gentle with myself. I could ask myself: what is freedom?
Freedom is choosing to let go. Freedom is understanding. It is refusing to be tied to the apparent solidity of our wounds. It is the releasing of our tight grasp. and to whatever extent that may happen, there is profound peace and freedom in that.
“Love tells me I’m everything. wisdom tells me I’m nothing. Between the two, my life flows” (Nisargadatta Maharaj). Our wounds arise from love. and letting go is wisdom. and dancing between the two, we discover who we are. what a journey this is!
with Love, S.