Letting go is another one of those buzzwords floating around in the mindfulness circles. For some the notion itself is a no go for many, in fact some people cringe at the thought. Thoughts start flowing at the mention of letting go. “What about (insert the name of a precious one here) if I let (her/him) go I would be abandoning them. Pff shows what you know. So let’s peel back some of the layers of this thing and really examine it.
On the surface of the matter the natural assumption is by letting go of precious ones we are just dumping them off on the side of the road in the cold. No one with an adequate understanding of the Dharma will tell you to abandon someone you love or anyone one for that matter. I know you’re probably thinking the Buddha abandoned his wife and young son. One of the facts that made his decision easier is knowing that the two of them would be provided for and living in such a way that all of their worldly needs would be met. There was no cowardice in his actions. He knew they would be taken care of and that he had to a thing… a really big thing. So regardless of what some may say what he did with his family in no harm, and furthermore if it were to put them in harm’s way he would have waited til they were in a safe position for his departure. First, let’s consider what it is we mean to let go of.
Any amount of studying the Dharma and you’ll discover a common theme **drum roll** dropping illusions! Ta dah! What illusions could be present in these relationships you ask? How about “They are my loved one…”, “We belong to each other…” “I need her/him”. Let’s look at the reality here, they aren’t yours, nor will they ever be. You are in a relationship with them and like all relationships they are destined to end for one reason or another. Holding them more tightly will not change that. Love those dear to you always knowing that one day you will have to part company with them. And that isn’t dark or selfish to say or think. If anything it should arouse a sense of appreciation of the relationship in question. Knowing your days with really everything you know are fleeting, can be used to inspire a deeper connection to those things. Just don’t let yourself be over taken by them, don’t be in a place where they are required to complete you. That only furthers the illusion of a self entity. On to the next point… you ain’t got no self!
You, me, friends, family, and even pets. None of us have a “self” or are one for that matter. On that same note there is no phone, no computer, no car. In fact all things are compounded and impermanent. Meaning that no matter what something appears to be it is made up of smaller things. Your car is made up of components, those components have parts and pieces inside them, on down to the molecular level, which we are discovering smaller particles all the time. We are the same way we are composed of things that form this physical body, hell even our minds are composed of parts. None of this is a core, none of this presents us self identical thing. Is this a scary concept maybe a little but again all the more inspiring to practice. Makes you think there really isn’t anything to cling to. Like Tyler Durden said you are more than your job and possessions.
Now an important thing to take note of in some this line of thought may have you feeling a little cold or detached. The goal we are after is equanimity, not detached asshole. Never lose the compassion and warmth that is arguably the greatest importance to develop of all the things on the Buddha’s path. Just remember this is a tough thing to grasp and each of us develop at different rates. So don’t go reading up, getting a big head, and start being an dickhead to people on social media because “I am more advanced than you”. You aren’t and neither am I we are just walking a path and it’s okay if it defies convention