40 Questions We’re Afraid to Ask – #3
The great Buddha once said, “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Could this not actually be said of pretty much anything we may be hanging onto that is not serving us in any positive way in our current life? Stop for a moment and ask yourself, “What am I holding onto that I need to let go of?” Is it resentment toward someone you feel has wronged you? Is it a choice or a set of choices you yourself made sometime in the past that you regret or that you feel took you down the “wrong” path? Is it a relationship that didn’t work out? Is it a money deal that went bad for one reason or another? How is your not letting go of this affecting the other person or anyone other than yourself who may have been involved? Are they even aware of your feelings and the fact that the situation still exists in your mind? How is not being able to forgive yourself for something you perceive as a “bad” choice affecting you in the present?
What would you do if someone put a hot coal in your hand?
I would imagine you would drop it faster than you could scream “HOT!” Holding onto it would not be anywhere close to the pain it would cause, not to mention the potential permanent damage. It’s the same with those painful and unproductive things from our past that we tend to not let go of. The difference is, they’re not real. Just as I mentioned in my previous post that the future does not exist except as a mental projection or a thought, neither does the past. It is simply a memory or set of memories, a story we tell our self based on conditioned perceptions and past experiences.
What would your life be like right now if that past no longer existed, even as a thought?
I’m not talking about total amnesia. The past can be valuable to us in many ways, especially when we use it in positive and productive ways to help us make important decisions. There are also those fond memories that bring us joy when they come to mind. Part of my job as a coach is to help people sort through those memories and find ways to either reframe them in a more positive and helpful light or develop strategies to greatly minimize or even delete any negative role they may be playing in the current moment and move forward with life in a more productive and rewarding way. This is not mere positive thinking, which, as Tony Robbins likes to say, is like walking out into your garden, standing there and saying, “There are no weeds! There are no weeds!” Of course there are weeds, and if we ignore them, wishing they’ll just go away or, worse yet, keep telling our self they’re not there, they’ll eventually take over our garden and wipe out all the beautiful flowers. See things as they are, not worse than they are. Then see things better than they are. In other words, see the possibilities of what can be once we clear the weeds. Oh . . . and by the way . . . they say charcoal can make a pretty good fertilizer once the flames are gone and it’s turned to ash. So, perhaps it’s time to let go of that burning coal and put it to good use?
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