If we know what it is to make effort and to make sacrifice, then more and more we’ll experience this lightness. That’s also an experience we can have in the present moment. It’s like the instant you put down something heavy, then you feel the relief straightaway. The instant you pick up something heavy, then you feel that burden straightaway. It’s the same in our minds. The instant we grab at a mental object, whether it’s happiness or unhappiness, or a thought or a feeling that we like or don’t like, the minute that we grab onto that, then that’s heavy for us. That’s the same whether it’s happiness or unhappiness. It’s the same whether it’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Both those positive and negative feelings and experiences are heavy to us if we pick them up and hold onto them.
Luang Por Chah also used to remind us that everyone in the world wishes for gold and wishes for diamonds, would like to have those objects even though they’re the heaviest objects and so much weight. And yet everyone wants to pick up a bunch of gold even though it’s as heavy as lead. So, then why is it that if there’s a lump of lead lying right there, no one would want to pick it up? If it’s gold, everyone would want it.
It’s a matter for the heart. It’s an internal matter. Those things that we like and are pleased with, that satisfy us, whether they’re light or heavy, we want them. But then having taken them, they’re all heavy. It’s a burden for the heart. If one acts in this way, acts blindly, picking up and grabbing onto everything that one likes, we won’t understand that true experience within our heart. Whether happiness or unhappiness arises in the heart, then equally, we’ll just grab onto those feelings and we’ll suffer because of unhappiness and we’ll even suffer because of our happiness.
But if one knows in time the feelings and thoughts within one’s own mind, then one can abandon those and let them go, not identify or attach to them, regardless of whether they’re thoughts and feelings which satisfy us or which annoy us. It’s our responsibility to make an effort to put them down and to abandon them. That’s what will lead us to peace. Just like the Buddha said, we should have a sense of motivation to bring up a sense of striving to abandon all those unwholesome objects as they arise in the mind. That’s why I say that anything, whether it’s external or internal, if you pick it up, then it’s heavy. But having put it down, then it’s light.
This reflection by Ajahn Jundee Kantasaro is adapted from the talk, The Wisdom of Relinquishment.