Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Can you let go?

I'm going to venture a guess here. I'm going to guess that everyone who's reading this has suffered with a desire for things to be different from the way they are. This is the core suffering, isn't it, and the way out of that suffering is to let go of that desire. Now let me be clear about what I'm not saying. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the preference that things be different. It is, rather, the attachment to that preference that causes the suffering. What we need to cultivate is the willingness to let go of our preferences and accept what is. This is the path of surrender. The principle of surrender is explored in a book I've just started reading by Kevin Griffin called, One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps. Here's a passage:
Surrender is a traditional element of every spiritual journey. Before we can begin to realize our potential, we must break out of limiting concepts of who and what we are and what we think is possible. This may mean giving up long-held beliefs and comfortable behavior patterns. Cynicism or fantasy, fear or control, anger or grief - many of us cling to these patterns and others. As we begin to surrender, we see that we will have to let go of these destructive habits of mind before we can move toward freedom.
What would happen if we were willing to surrender such long term patterns? Would the sky fall? Probably not. But because of the strength of habitual tendency, letting go is often very difficult. This is why we practice. When we meditate, we let go of thoughts and gently bring our mind back to the meditative support. This slowly but reliably trains the mind in surrender - because we surrender the desire to chase after thoughts, to continue to be involved with them. We then discover by experience that letting go is not only possible, it is restful and refreshing.

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