Picking Up and Putting Down

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Picking Up and Putting Down

The thing that we put down is light; the thing that we pick up is heavy. It’s lightness and ease that come from putting things down. But it’s like a burden when, of course, we pick things up.

This is something that we can all experience for ourselves, especially on the external level in terms of physical objects. When we pick up something, the longer that we hold it, the heavier and heavier it becomes. We can experience that for ourselves. Even though technically the weight of an object might not increase, we know for ourselves, if we pick it up and hold it for a long time, that actually, that object gets heavier and heavier. And it’s light the instant we put it down.

This is also a teaching that Luang Por Chah used to give to us at Wat Pah Pong. He once said to us, “Don’t even think that a little needle, like a sewing needle, isn’t a heavy thing. Because even if you were to pick up a needle and hold it up for a long time, then sooner or later you’d want to put your arm down. So it goes that even a large or small object regardless of its mass, could be heavy for us if we hold on to it for a long time.

Therefore, the aim of our practice is to put things down, to abandon them. Put down the burden. Then that lightness and peace is what we’ll experience in our hearts. Therefore we practice as one who puts down. We don’t practice as one who gains things and picks things up. As a result our problems reduce more and more. Problems in society will reduce if we practice this way. And our individual experience will be better. The problems in our own heart will also reduce.

This reflection by Ajahn Jundee Kantasaro is adapted from the talk, The Wisdom of Relinquishment.