Thursday, February 09, 2006

Letting go is not denial

It is important to remember that choosing to let go does not mean we invalidate our experience or our feelings. This point is wonderfully made by Patrick Kearney in his article on vipassana or insight meditation:
Vipassana means seeing separately, distinctly, penetratingly; seeing with discrimination. Wisdom involves learning to discriminate regarding our experience. The meditator learns to recognise a thought as just a thought; an emotion as just an emotion; pain as just pain, pleasure as just pleasure. Normally we are not satisfied with experiencing things as they simply are. An experience arises, and we project onto it. Anger arises, and we think of some situation which made us angry. We think of how we were victimised or abused, and this feeds the emotion of anger; the emotion of anger then feeds the drama in our heads, the story-line, in which we are the abused victims and what we did or should have done about this. Drama feeds emotion, and emotion feeds drama. The drama - the days of my life - is endlessly fascinating for me, because it stars the person I love most in the world: me!

It is important to realise here that we are not denying our story: we are not, for example, pretending we have never been victimised. What we are doing is denying are a victim. That is, we are not denying our experience, but we are refusing to identify with our experience. This is a subtle but fundamental point. When we investigate the body and mind we experience it as a process. When we experience ourselves and our world as pure process, we do not stop anywhere in this process, freeze this process, and call this frozen point: me; mine; you; yours.

So, I have the thought but the thought is not me. This is revolutionary. Try it. Try letting go of the idea that the thought or emotion is who you are and recognize it as something you have - and that it will pass. You've never before had an emotion that was permanent and so this is not the one! You have the emotion; but the emotion is not you. You are fundamentally a fully enlightened being although you may not be awake to that yet. But everything we do to illuminate our minds helps us wake up to who and what we really are.

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