Letting go

As summer draws to a close and school comes back into session around the country, I can't help but be wistful. For lazy summer mornings, fireflies and laying on a lush lawn. Sooner than later (although I admit, with a 80 degree day and high humidity in Pittsburgh today, Fall seems eons away), the season will change, jackets and scarves will reappear and we all will have gotten a little older.

And this is what I wanted question: why is it so hard to let go of the past? 

The seasons come and go. As we go through the day, we have our moments of elation and of sorrow, but to look back at a period in time, we willfully choose to view the past through rose-colored glasses. That wonderful summer vacation in Cancun, with the warm waters of the Gulf and white sand beaches? We forget about the lost luggage and missed flights. 

This is not to say that we should be miserable. What I am suggesting is that to look on the past without clarity is to do disservice to the life we live now. I will miss the summer, but if recollecting those warm nights makes me unhappy with my lot in life during a frigid January, is it really helpful? Similarly, if I forget the bane of mosquitoes that summer invariably entails, would my eagerness for the next summer turn into disappointment when the ensuing cloud of bloodsuckers descends?

Eastern philosophy places a tremendous emphasis on living in the moment. Being fully alive to your current experience. The discipline of meditation is to let your mind refocus on the now, and what this really does is 2 fold: it helps you let go of the past, and it makes you aware of the beauty of your current experience. 

Peace and gratitude. Two concepts emphasized heavily in Eastern thought are not attained, they are experienced. And they are experiences worth working for.

As Jon Stewart would say, enjoy your moment of zen.