Two travelling monks came upon a stream swollen and roiling due to the recent rains. A woman in distress asked if they could help her. “I must get across the stream to my family,” she said, “but I’m afraid to wade into such turbulent water.”
One of the monks picked her up, carried her safely across to the other side, and set her down. The two companions then continued on their journey. After several miles the second monk said, “I can’t believe you did that, knowing as you do that it is against the rules of our order to look at a woman, much less touch her.”
The first monk smiled and replied, “Brother, brother, I set her down on the other side of the stream an hour ago, but you’ve been carrying her for all these miles.”
Many of us suffer from the second monk syndrome—we carry a negative mental dialogue about something we should have set down long ago. It might be the memory of some long-ago hurt or a time we felt betrayed. Or it might be something more recent, an argument or a nagging worry. Whatever the root cause of the negative mental loop, it creates unhappiness.
But how can we set it down? Here is a short phrase, a kind of modern mantra, that will help:
Let it Go.
Every time you discover your mind caught in the negative loop, mentally repeat, “Let it Go, Let it Go.” After a time—two weeks according to neuroscientists—you will have created a new neural pathway. Now, when something triggers your negative pattern, you can choose to Let it Go.
Paramhansa Yogananda called these neural pathways “ brain grooves.” He explained, “Attention is the needle that forms the grooves of mental good or bad habits. It is by deep attention to an evil experience or a good experience that a bad or good habit is formed in the brain.” At another time he said, “Bad karmic tendencies cannot be overcome by concentrating on them, but by developing their opposite good tendencies.”
This technique, of replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones, works in nearly all circumstances of daily life. For devotees, however, its real power comes in meditation. If you find restless thoughts or worries disrupting your concentration, immediately repeat your modern mantra, “Let it Go.” Do it with power: The deeper your intention, the quicker you will see results.
Stopping negative patterns is only half the battle—we need also to create a positive flow. For this, a second phrase is helpful. I suggest “I am Free.” We can think of it this way: We can use Let it Go to stop the unwanted train of thought and put our mental gears in neutral. Now we can move forward by repeating, “I am Free.” Let this phrase continue until it fills your thoughts and you feel a deep sense non-attachment spreading in your consciousness.
Paramhansa ends his magnificent poem, “Samadhi,” with these words.
Myself, in everything, enters the Great Myself.
Gone forever, fitful, flickering shadows of mortal memory.
Spotless is my mental sky, below, ahead, and high above.
Eternity and I, one united ray.
A tiny bubble of laughter, I
Am become the Sea of Mirth Itself.
With a bubble of laughter,
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:13):
“Just as our body is made of the food you eat, your mind is made of your experiences. The flow of experiences gradually shapes your brain, and with it your mind. We can explicitly recall some results. I did that last summer; this is how I felt when I was in love, But most of the shaping of our minds always remains in the realm of the unconscious. This is called implicit memory, and it stores your expectations, relationship patterns, emotional tendencies, and general worldview. Implicit memory establishes the inner landscape of your mind – as you are – based on traces of lived experiences that slowly accumulate. These traces can be classified in a certain way into two basic groups: Those that benefit you and others and those that harm you..” dr.sc. Rick Hanson & dr.med. Richard Mendius
The word Spirituality is derived from the Latin word Spiritus which means “Breath of Life” and has been used in different cultures as a synonym for wisdom, intelligence, and the soul or some other non-physical life force..
Learn to Meditate
Through meditation and introspection, learn first to love yourself in the soul way, by sensing the hidden joy of your own being. Then, with that egoless love, reach out to touch your spouse, your children. Refine your love so that it becomes more and more pure; so that it contains less of the consciousness of „I and mine“. Love your family as you love yourself: for their souls, not merely their personalitis.
As we perfect our inner natures, we achieve a balance betwen reason and feeeling, end between wisdom and love. Man become kinder, more compassionate. Woman become more reasonable, less emotioanl. We all long, at least subconsciously, to achieve this balance; that is why we find ourselves instinctivly drawn to the opposite sex. Our attraction is far more than physical. It is born of the disare to achieve perfect balance within ourselves. The more we achieve this inner balance, the less we have to affirm it outwardlay, in human relationship. The longing then develops in our hearts to atttain inner, soul relationship with God.
“The soul loves to meditate, for in contact with Spirit lies its greatest joy.” Yogananda
Meditation is natural and deeply rewarding. It offers a direct and intuitive experience of states of consciousness that are healing and inspiring:
Inner peace, self-acceptance, unselfish love, vitality, creativity and a calm joy that transcends life’s ups and downs.
The benefits of meditation, which are many, have been amply documented by medical testing. Just try searching the internet on the “benefits of meditation” and you’ll be amazed!
There is an Indian saying that has become Ananda’s fundamental principle: “Where there is dharma, or right action” (that is to say, action in tune with truth and spiritual ideals), “there is victory.” When we put principles first in our life, everything goes as it should, and there can be no failure. As the Bhagavad-Gita says, “Oh, Arjuna, know this for a certainty: My devotee is never lost.”
Beautiful , simple, wise, thank you!
Thank you for both : text and comment .
Dear Joytisch, your advise reaches me at the right place in the right time. You’re a wise man. I do appreciate your kind words which express honest feelings full of Love. Have a beautiful day!
How wonderful to start my morning with this beautiful wisdom. 6 words that can alter my delusions and remind me of who I really am, connected to the Divine.
Beautifully and simply put.Very useful! Thank you!
I practiced the 6-word mantra on my walk this morning and found a feeling of peace and lightness. Thank you for all that you and Devi do in writing such helpful and inspirational essays for our benefit. What a blessing!
Interesting article on this very topic in Psychology Today. I use the phrase ” Let it Be” which seems to calm me. I think ? because I can struggle with letting something go, but if I let it be – it feels like I am giving”it” and myself space around the “it”.
I love the simplicity! Something this mind can remember and will bring increasing happiness to me and others.
Thank you for sending the newsletter. It was very powerful.
Thank you dear Jyotish 💙
I let go😇 I am free🦋
with love and gratitude 💛🎶🎸bhajana
Here is a poem quote by Jacques Cousteau I have memorized that is beautiful and captures that feeling too.
“Sometimes we are lucky enough to know our lives have been changed
To discard the old
Embrace the new.
And run headlong down an immutable course.
It happened to me when my eyes were opened on the sea.”
I’ll change the end for me and write:
It happened to me when my heart was open and received Swami’s and Master’s love, and their love changed me💙💙
Thank you, thank you! That is exactly what I needed to hear today. Such a gem!
Deep gratitude dear soul. As always, Mother gives me/us what we need at the time we need it. Namaste and safe travels and HAPPY BIRTH DAY.
Hello and I can fill the spirit moving in me and guiding me into the directions that is
with out any thoughts of mine. I receive messages telepathically and I do know that
I am connected. At some times more so then others. I must practice spiritual awakenings
to connect to the lights. I was connected to the lights just a mometns ago, that is a
small bright lights has fallen on my computer screen. Other times it just falling all around me on the floor like a fireworks sort of that kinds of multiply appearance. It can also
appear right a front of me, or above head higher up near the ceilings.
It usually happens when I am on the rights moments a perfect timing to receive spiritual
messages of to go ahead and that what I am up to considering or doing is the true and
the right things. I think of some one and they show up, or I will some how hear from them. I have the gifts of grace of God that I am calling an automated channel to God,
that is always connected but not always energized by me. When I am concentrating on something that I call out for, or pray for something, or for some one dedicated to that
cause it manifests for me. I think to call some one, and they just call me, “like now,
I said call”and here is the phone call came in just that moments, “as I wrote call.”
So, the words, “call” I, wrote has manifested it self. Supernatural I call it.
But, I also must say I have been practicing spiritual awareness for more then 30 years.
I love your articles. It grows the spirit. It waters the minds with pure and fresh thoughts,
and enhance my insights into my own beings. And through that I bring out of me the
wisdom and share it with many people. May you be enjoying excellent health,
and may you always walk in the spirit. And enjoy that peace, that the world can not
give you. Thank you, Maria Rodriguez
Thank you Jyotish.
This is so timely, like you have no idea!
Blessings of Divine Joy!!
Thank you very much Divine Sir!
Beautiful divine inspiration!Applying it NOW!
God’s, Divine Mother’s, Master Paramhansa Yoganandaji’s wisdom flowing thru you, Divine Sir, so soulfully dear & with some much Divine Grace. Thank you. With deep gratitude.
Con agradecimiento infinito, En Amistad Divina.Dios le bendice; Dios le favorece.
Jai Gurú! Om. Aum. Peace. Shanti.
I have always appreciated how the teachings of Yogananda correlate with my 12 step program. The second part “I am free” is a great affirmation to follow “Let it go.”
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you for sharing this inspiring blog. Very useful pointers to practice and grow.
So simple. And so profoundly transforming.
I have been practicing this affirmation… it was random at the start, but now I am remembering to call it to mind at the slightest opportunity. i look forward to the time I can add the “I am Free!” to each situation.
Thank you, Jyotish, for these wise reminders.
Very wise message and the article. In very simple phrases explained the Power, “Let It GO” and “I am Free”.
Dearest Jyotish Ji, I love listening to the audio portion of the blog (yours and Devi Ji’s) after reading the text – there are such beautiful additional pointers each time. And so in this blog I love how you are sharing your experience of using the mantra during meditation. something I will try ..its a timely advise Ji – thank you.
Dear friend and guide,
I am always amazed by Guru’s timing!! Just this morning in the meditation my thoughts were dwelling (yet again!) on the past and I got fed up and ask Guru to help me NOW! And the thought that appeared instantly was “LET GO”!! And now, a few hours later, reading your wise advise I got the confirmation that those were indeed Guru’s words!
So, thank you from my mind, heart and soul!
God bless you and Deviji forever and ever