The summer is over, autumn is there. The sun is still the same, but it seems less warm. The day is still followed by the night, but the days are much shorter. The air is fresher and the sky has changed. The trees, these living creatures totally connected to earth, noticed the change and show the arrival of autumn by the coloring of their leaves.
With confidence and grace they let go of their old leaves. They are neither sad nor fearful. Everything that has a beginning also has an end. A leaf is beautiful when it is still small and green. But it has lost none of its beauty when it is big and old or red and dry or when you step on it with your shoes.
Everything lives for a limited time. A soap bubble can exist for a second. Other things exist for a minute. Something else for a year. Another thing for 50 years. Some trees have lived for 500 years and will live many more. Everything arises beautifully and then ends beautifully.
Accepting impermanence and letting go
The Buddha taught about the impermanence of things thousands of years ago. And the psychotherapists repeat it again and again today. To develop lasting happiness and wisdom, it is essential to recognize and accept the impermanence of things. On the other hand, attachment to impermanent phenomena, including one’s own ego, is the source of all our dissatisfaction.
The trees that release their leaves in the fall are a wonderful reminder of how to let go with confidence and joy. Everything is impermanent and will inevitably end: your home, your money, your work, your partner, your family, and yourself too. They are all like a leaf hanging from the branch of a tree. Even if you wish and pray to change that, the result will be the same. The leaf will still fall. We must choose to either live in harmony with the cycles of nature and enjoy their beauty and wisdom, or to live life in fear of losing something that must end in any case.
Letting go confidently
A tree lives in total trust and in harmony with nature. Maybe that is why it can grow so tall and become so strong. If it lets go of one leaf, another one may grow. Nothing is safe. Even without leaves, the tree bravely survives the fall and the whole winter.
We can do that too. Since everything has to end, we can just let it go. Why should we spend so much energy and get into turmoil just to hold on to something that must end nonetheless? Are we just afraid that if we lose a leaf, no other leaf will grow?
We must develop a deep trust to be able to let go in a relaxed manner. A deep trust that as long as we live, there will be an autumn, a winter and a spring, or at least that the next day will be followed by a night. In the same way we let go of the day and we welcome the night, knowing that a new day is coming, we have to let go of everything else.
Our present situation is the result of all the things we have left behind. There are so many things we have enjoyed in the past and now they are over. And that is a reason for joy. That’s why you might have a new house, a new partner, a new job, a new phone, a new idea. Your present situation is possible only because you were able to let go of all the old things.
It is autumn now and it is time to remember that letting go is not something to be afraid of. Do not worry about anything. Next spring you will get new leaves.