There is an old ZEN Koan about the man up the tall tree. He is clinging to that tree with his teeth and his arms are tied behind him. Old Zen Master appears from the woods and he tells him: “Quickly say one thing that can save your life”.
This Koan is given by Zen Masters to their students to solve the riddle, which koans usually are. What can be one thing that can save this man’s life?
I have been listening to Adyashanti, who explained this Koan so beautifully.
The only way to save this man’s life is for him to let go of that branch. Not because he tired himself out, not because he can’t hold on anymore, but understanding that he is going to fall, there is no way out. And in that understanding – surrendering to what is, letting go – intentionally. And in that fall between the tree and the ground there is no fear, no attachment, no tension, no doubts. Because of that he will be able to live fully – even if only for 5 seconds, but fully, totally. Most people on this planet don’t have even those five seconds until they leave this life.
Why do we find so difficult to release the grip? To let go, to surrender, to relax fully into whatever is happening? Most people only get that when they are in the situations out of which there is no way out. I personally don’t find surrender easy at all.
But we can practice daily this relaxation. By meditating – not in order to change how we feel, not in order to have more peace and less thoughts. But by simply sitting doing nothing and allowing whatever is happening to happen. Simply resting in being and allowing everything to come up.
Sitting with Tea for me is this daily opportunity. I take the Tea in and in between the bowls I simply allow everything to be, to arise as it is. It’s my personal letting go of the tree.