The Power to Let Go

Story: Two Monks and a Woman (Source: Internet)

A senior monk and a junior monk were travelling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.

Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.

Two more hours passed, then three, and finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”

This simple Zen story has a beautiful message about living in the present moment. How often do we carry around past hurts, holding onto resentments when the only person we are hurting is ourselves?

We all go through times in life when other people say things or behave in a way that is hurtful toward us. We can choose to ruminate over past actions or events, but it will ultimately weigh us down and sap our energy.

Instead, we can choose to let go of what doesn’t serve us anymore and concentrate on the present moment. Until we can find a level of peace and happiness in the present circumstances of our lives, we will never be content, because ‘now’ is all we will ever have.

Holding on is a natural human instinct and it’s also a critical way that we stop ourselves from reaching our goals. Because ultimately, not letting go of something that we hold so tightly prevents us from achieving our true potential.

In our lifetime, generally, our main focus is to earn money, power, position, recognition etc. Many of us are successful in achieving it too. But when we are in the last phase of our lives, the usual question that we ask ourselves is not, ‘how much I have earned, what is my bank balance, how many properties, I have acquired etc.’ But if you are fortunate enough to be aware of the realities of life at that moment, the questions will be much simpler and easy like ‘whether I lived life fully if I am happy and contented, am I still holding something or I have let go!’


Eckhart Tolle believes we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity and certainty. When we hold something for 20 years and inspite of knowing that it is not serving any purpose, the mere thought of losing the baggage of 20 years does not allow us to leave it even though we understand its futility.

We replay past mistakes over and over again in our heads, allowing feelings of shame and regret to shape our actions in the present. We cling to frustration and worry about the future as if the act of fixation somehow gives us power. We hold stress in our minds and bodies, potentially creating serious health issues, and accept that state of tension as the norm. That is why unknowingly, we often hold onto our pain far beyond its ability to serve us.

Example: 20 years back, when I got married, one of my close relatives did not turn up due to some grudge. Now when it is time for marriage in my relative’s family, I decide not to go as a token of giving back!


There is something that is important in life and there are many things that are accessories. These accessories should not define your life. If you are not happy /comfortable with these accessories, leave them.

Example: You wore new jewellery and no one appreciated or someone criticized your choice, you wrote a blog/made a video and your close friends and relatives did not like it on social media, you decided to leave the job so that you can take care of the in-laws but no one is appreciating your sacrifice.

To focus your energy on living positively and proactively, you need to learn how to move on. When you do, you’ll find that letting go can have many benefits. If these signs are familiar, it’s time to ask yourself if you need to end it completely:

  • When you are constantly thinking about that person
  • When your health is getting impacted
  • When it is only boosting your ego
  • When it is giving rise to the guilty feeling
  • When it is prompting you to feel like a scapegoat


You become the architect of your life.  The power of letting go is a form of strength that is based on experience rather than force. It’s also one of the most challenging things you’ll ever have to do. Once you overcome the desire to stick to your past, you’ll feel free and relieved. You will realise that you have the inner strength to conquer anything and that Let Go is the most beautiful thing in life.

Example: By dressing what we want to, we are relieved of the comments of others. By accepting our colleagues, bosses, in-laws, and government policies, we are at a peace with ourselves. When someone has cheated in the business and we move ahead and accepted it as a part of karma, we help ourselves to keep our mind stable and healthy body.  


Knowing to let go is the first step in the right direction and to let go is the single most important decision in your life. There will never be a time when life is simple. There will always be time to practice accepting that. Every moment is a chance to let go and feel peaceful. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Stop the blame game
  • Forgiveness
  • Manage your mind
  • Empathy

Meditation and positive self-talk are two cornerstones in initiating the process of letting go.  

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