Why letting go is hard
Life is only about three things. The past, present and the future.
Future is uncertain. However hard you may try, how well you may prepare, the future always remains unpredictable. A fog separate us from the future, acts as a veil that stops us from getting a clear view. We can guess, and sometimes our guess would be right. But that uncertainty element, that twisting feeling in your gut which makes us anxious about the future will never go.
The present, on the other hand, is sure, is for us to act. It’s the time when we do what we do. It is the only part of the time where we have any control. But it is fleeting, ephemeral, a streak of silvery smoke vanishing into the air. You have it, in the most real sense, yet you never have it. Never have it as a possession. You live those moments, not owning it, but acting on them. This is the paradox of “Present” – you have it, but due to its fleeting nature, you can’t have it as a thing to relish.
Past is the only part of time that we can have.
Not as a real thing, but, in our minds, as memories and experiences. And there lies an even bigger paradox. Past doesn’t exist but it creates this brilliant illusion, which is stronger than reality, which, gives it a form, like a tangible object which exists in a different reality, a reality created in our minds.
The first day of the school. The times spent with our best of friends. The first kiss. The first love, and our first heartbreak. These and many other memories becomes our possession, to touch and feel, to relish its taste even long after they had gone, the dust of time giving them a different shade, a different aspect.
And it is this exclusivity of this past that makes us cling on it.
The glory of our pasts. Our good times. Our smiles and happiness. Each and everything, they make us, not in a definite concrete way that defines our future or present.. But in that ethereal way that gives form to our formless past. Illusion more real than reality.
And this is this life. That’s how it got structured with the origin of universe, after the start of the Big Bang. The creation of this dimension called time that bucketed our lives into this past, present and future. And only past for us to chew and relish. Neither present, nor future.
And that is why we hang on it, this past, even though, oft times, it hurt us. Even when past becomes a burden for us to carry on. A punishment that we must endure, or give up on this life. Embrace Death. But isn’t death so boring? It is finite, a full stop. It is the life, even with its vagaries and variety, full of possibilities that makes it exciting.
Past is the single biggest motivator, to continue, to calibrate, learn from the mistakes, repeat the good work, and do something that makes us enjoy this past. Our own possession.
And I think this is what evolution ended up doing.
Designed most of us value this past. Even though sometimes it also results in pain. But it’s a minor cost against a huge potential that it provides. To be able to create past that makes us a better person.
Now, I think I know this. Like many others. And I learned this through reading and experience. I went into that death hole and came out of it. Yet, I can’t ‘let go’ easily. Simple things sometimes clung on to me for a long time after they had happened. Like that bad presentation which caused us lose that project. Or the Coldplay tickets I just missed because of a minute delay. Or any of the little things. It’s not easy to let go!
So the only thing we can do is accept whatever we have. “Amor Fati – Love your fate.” That is the only way to live this life. You can’t let go what is you, that is yours. Your past is your past. Things will happen. The ups and the downs. The smiles and the tears. They have happened to people long before you are born, and will continue to happen long after you had turned into star dust.
Learning to accept is the only thing you can do. Love your fate. Accept.