Only an open hand is free to receive



I think I’ve just learned a valuable lesson over the past week: I have been going through life as if I can have it all…

While I have capabilities & access & have met with much success, I didn’t consider something key:

If I had it ALL, where would I keep it ALL ? How would I move around with it ALL? How would I keep up with it ALL? It turns out that would be a crowded & heavy & incomprehensible life. I have learned that it is much easier & lighter to recognize & relinquish that which holds me back.  To forgo, for “Go”. Very often, the very reason I can not move forward, is because I am holding onto something. An extended metaphor occurs to me this way:

     If you took a trip to Bali and discovered that there were a Monkey Temple; a cave carved by an ancient people, now a den inhabited by territorial monkeys. Imagine you were warned not to wear any jewelry because the monkeys are quick thieves who snatch bejeweled earrings & pendants & watches & such sparkling gold & silver things. You arrive & promptly notice the sharp teeth & claws of the monkeys & understand why no human has entered that cave in over 300 years of tourism. but then you have an insight: the monkeys are just naturually drawn to eye-catching things. You calmly but courageously cross over the ropes & head toward the cave & its treasure. The monkeys’ chatter quickly becomes alarming screeches, but you expected as much. As you near the mouth of the cave, the perched monkeys seem poised to pounce in attack, but you reach into your pocket to retrieve your watch & ring & sunglasses. You slowly toss your shiny items to lure the monkeys away & enter the cave unmolested. Inside, the light is dimmer, therefore the jewelry has less glitter & it is no wonder the monkeys lost interest & left the items here… the monkeys are not possesive after all & have no problem that you gather 300 years worth of gold & jewels into a leather sack that you find there.

   Now, imagine that you have gathered 50 pounds of gold & jewels, but the airline has a “no carry on” policy & a 50lb weight limit for luggage per person. Do you busy yourself rearranging your belongings? Do you agonize over trying to keep your shorts or sandals or even your toothbrush? NO.

The answer is simple & quick. Leave it all behind, of course.  You can buy more as soon as your plane lands at home! Surely you can survive without your toothbrush for a day of travel. You likely have over $10 million dollars, you can afford to buy another.

  Ok, so that was a bit dramatic, but the principle still holds true under more mundane circumstances:

Isn’t it nice to clean out a closet by tossing out unneeded clutter & discovering the clear serenity of fresh space?  Isn’t there a wonderful purity to letting go of all the second guessing over what you could be doing & freeing yourself to enjoy the lightness of being that comes only from focusing on simply being fully present to what you’re actually doing? If you are clinging fearfully to something anchored in the past, you can not move on until you let go. If you hold firm to your point of view, you can not see around it to a whole new perspective. If tighten your fist to clutch your last dollar, your hand is not open to receive far more. If you go through life taking on more & more without ever giving anything up, you will be buried alive. What are you willing to leave behind?

Once you’ve decided you want something, it is a useful question to ask yourself, “What am I willing to let go, to make room for what I want?”

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