Ask Grand Master Lu: Letting Go of Grudges

Question: I have always held grudges. I just don’t know how to release my anger and let it all go. Do you have any suggestions?


Oftentimes, we hold onto old feelings and old memories. Sometimes they’re uplifting—thoughts of our children when they were young, or a happy story about a loved one that is no longer with us. But sometimes, these memories do nothing more than drag us down. They may be reminders of tough times, arguments or heated feelings toward a person or event—reminders that bring tears and pain when they come flooding back. Are these memories still yours to have? Our memory is unlimited, but we limit it by creating a small “box” and holding onto things within this box. How do we let go?

Try this exercise: Picture a beautiful maple tree in autumn. Its colors are bright and its branches are full. Now project those grudges—one at a time—onto that tree. Imagine that each leaf is a negative emotion that you’ve been holding onto. Picture the leaves falling and landing in a stream, one by one. Watch them flow gracefully downstream, over rocks, over smooth and rough points, past branches, until they reach the ocean. As you picture the leaves flowing farther and farther away, imagine the grudge also distancing itself from you. By linking your emotion to the tree and leaves, your heart will begin to open. Over time, you will empty your “box” to make room for love and forgiveness.