My time at Ayurvedic Retreat (Plantation Villa) in Sri Lanka helped bring this realization into consciousness and my time in Nepal helped me to put that realization into practice. I am certainly no expert at letting go and continue to be tested by my mind but at least now I am starting to notice my mind running. When I do, I can come back to the present moment.
The Nepalise have mastered the art of letting go. I was traveling from Kathmandu to Besisahar on a local bus. The estimated time of our journey was 6 hours, however nature had different plans. A landslide occurred on the way resulting in a 6 hour delay totaling 12 hours of travel. All of those on the bus practiced radical acceptance of the present moment. Everyone was laughing, joking with strangers, and enjoying the moment. Watching this brought me such joy and gratitude for life. Life is the present moment and holding onto things takes you away from the present moment and therefore your life. I will never forget that bus ride. The fearless bus driver overtaking cars on the wrong side of the road, the mad rush when the bus driver decided it was time to venture ahead, the drivers two friends who were his eyes and ears (one constantly hanging out the door banging on the bus when it was safe to overtake and the other jumping out when we needed to reverse), the beautiful Indian girl I befriended who grew up in Poland but was returning to her roots, the cookies we all shared to hold over the hunger…it was beautiful. I am grateful to the Nepalese people for helping me practice the art of letting go. It made me laugh to think of the road rage back home in the US where people get pissed off if someone doesn’t have their indicator on. This Nepalese bus was literally overtaking people who had been stuck in 6 hours of traffic and they were graciously waving at us and letting us cut in front of them. My theory is that the closer to nature you are and the less “stuff” you have, the easier it is to be in the present moment. When you are close with nature (aka next to a landslide), you are acutely aware of how little control you have other anything. This is a gift as it allows you to more readily accept the reality that is. The more “stuff” you have (i.e. material things) the more you see things as “mine” & “yours.” By having things that are “mine,” you build up your ego and start to think you are important. When you think you are important, you take yourself seriously and often loose sight of the present moment.
If there is one thing I have learned on this journey, its not to take myself so darn seriously. Life (the present moment) is always giving us gifts to help us on our journey, I’ve learned to pay attention and listen more 🙂 I am currently in Thailand and plan to continue practicing to live in the present moment (and not be a slave to my mind) during a 10 day silent meditation Vipassana retreat. This will 100% be the hardest thing I have ever done – wish me luck!