The entire teaching of Buddhism can be summed up in this way: Nothing is worth holding on to.
– Jack Kornfield
It sometimes happens that I don’t publish a post because it doesn’t feel quite right. It could be the image, the direction of the content, or a vibe that there’s something else missing. The quote above caught my attention, but the original image I had for the post wasn’t quite what I wanted (and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say haha), so I waited. I’m glad I did :)
Yesterday, I visited my first Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas, “O”…and it was incredible! Equally incredible were the statues by Richard MacDonald at the Bellagio hotel, inside the O theatre. Richard has somehow managed to capture the amazing human form in bronze statues. Though all of his works are incredible, the statue of “Nightfall” stopped me in my tracks. Noticing my fascination, the kind art director (Ed), came over and shared the story of the statue with me:
Shrouded in a veil of mystery, she floats over the crescent moon, holding the future in her right palm and the past behind her.
Thinking back on the quote, “Nothing is worth holding on to…” from a Zen perspective, this beautiful woman is weighing herself down by holding on to future and past burdens (though I’ll agree that the symbolism in the piece is beautiful!). Letting go means dropping the past and the future, and being completely rooted in this moment.
I believe that we start each day emotionally neutral. Then our mind quickly moves in to tell us how we’re feeling and all of the things we need to do. Our minds also quickly reminds us of how we should be feeling towards other people. Your husband may have made you angry the night before, so you must remember to be cold this morning. Or your manager may have been rude to you, so you decide to move slowly on a request. Or your neighbor may have looked after your pet the day before, so you bring them coffee with a smile.
Our mind has tremendous ability to categorize memories and provide suggested emotional responses. This practice has gone on for so long that it feels natural. But what if you changed all of that and only acted with love?
This would mean throwing away all of the ties to negative emotions. It would mean living in a state of gratitude with appreciation for all that is. Living this way would also mean naturally forgiving others, because you would not be remembering past hurts and disappointments.
Quite simply, holding onto nothing and living in love means being free. In that case, no shroud of mystery is required, and the visual becomes more like this statue of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi: radiant, beautiful, and at peace ;)
Photo source: Nightfall by Richard MacDonald
Photo source two: Lakshmi statue