One day a university professor holding a bottle of water asked his students how much they think this bottle of water weighs. “500 grams!” shouted one student. Another from the back shouted “600 grams!”
The professor looked at them and said “actually until we weigh the bottle we wouldn’t know” and then he said “imagine I hold this bottle for a few minutes, what do you think will happen?” One of the students shouted “nothing!”
He said what if I hold it for a bit longer let’s say I hold this bottle for let’s say a few hours they’d said “well your arm would start to hurt” and he said “what if I held this bottle for 24 hours?” And one of the students said “your arm would practically be paralyzed to an extreme pain.”
The professor then said notice that the weight of the bottle didn’t change during that time at all. The only thing that changed was how long you were holding it.
And his lesson to his students from this situation was that this bottle represents our challenges, our problems, our worries, our anxieties about uncertainty that the longer that we hold them the more pain they can do to us.
One of the most moving and powerful quotes I’ve ever heard is from Nelson Mandela where he said that “when I was working out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom I knew that if I didn’t leave behind my bitterness and hatred I’d still be in prison. We pull you to our consciousness when we allow envy and anger to enter the inner cores of our minds bringing in negativity injecting anxiety and uncertainty into the way we think”
And that’s why Mahatma Gandhi said “I’ll never let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” But often we see that it’s our own very shoes that are causing the dirt.
Forgiveness and letting go and the ability to rise above the challenges that have been caused by others in our life is such a important ability because we need to learn to accept apologies that we never received.
I believe that you can’t fix yourself by breaking someone else. It’s like what Buddha said “resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
When we recognize that actually by holding any negative feelings towards another individual simply only harms the way we think. That’s when we’ll truly be able to forgive move on and let go and realize that that internal healing is what lets us take care of the external circumstances.
And this is not easy at all because we’ve woman cause pain sometimes to extreme lengths. Sometimes our hearts have been broken. Sometimes our trust has been misused. Sometimes we’ve been exploited. Sometimes our loyalty has been tested.
That’s why forgiveness doesn’t excuse the behavior but it prevents the behavior from negatively affecting us and our ego wants us to put others in their place but we should try to put ourselves in their place. I really want you to get involved in this conversation in this dialogue as we think out loud together about our minds in this world.
Letting go is not a weakness. “The longer we hold them, the more pain they do to us.”
by Jay Shetty