Useful Buddhism : letting go

We hear this a lot, ‘let it go’

The key question is, what is the ‘it’ in the statement.

Many people think that ‘it’ to be a situation, an object, an illness, an affair or a person. But I think those are secondary.

The primary objective is to let go of our bad mental habits. Craving, aversion and delusion.

In the previous post, we talk about delusion of recollecting the past and wishful thinking of the future. These are mental baggage that weigh us down in our daily performance. Especially when they are excessive or compulsive.

If we let go of these unruly mental habits. We begin to truly “be present”. Live the moment. Foremost, we need to know that such mental habits are delusions. Then we can slowly correct ourselves.

When we become skillful, we find that we can let go of unpleasant situation more easily. We do not dwell on past experience. Although we learnt our lesson, we do not let it burden us. An unpleasant conflict remains in the past, we let go and move on. Every moment is becoming the past.

We also let go of attachment to pleasant encounter. We reduce craving for certain experience. For example, we do not crave to have the same experience of first love after 6 years of marriage. That 1st kiss and 1st flutter of the heart is in the past. No craving and no expectation. That results in a healthier relationship because we are open to new development and we are keen to participate in that development.

Our past experience can be pleasant or unpleasant. We let them go and do not allow them to keep replaying in our head.

Past experience also include information obtained from hearing and seeing. For example, we may not have visited a certain restaurant or country. However, we may have watched on TV, how people enjoyed themselves there. Or we might have read about it or heard from our friends. All these form part of our experience.

These experiences will drive our wishful thinking for our future experience. The word is EXPECTATION.

Like if you visit a Buddhist temple or a Buddhist country, you expect everyone to behave compassionate, kind and loving.

Or if we heard something bad about someone in office, we became alerted or on guard with that person. We already form an opinion even before really knowing that person.

If we watch our thoughts, it is amazing how all these mental habits are playing in our mind and affecting our emotion and behavioir EVERY DAY.

The benefit of letting go of such bad mental habit is to experience a lightness of the mind. The burden of all those mental baggage in our mind is reduced.

We will find that our days become lighter too. How do we do that?

Practice a mind training method.

For example, if we chant a mantra, then we train our mind tofocus on that task of mentally repeating that mantra.We don’t allow our mind to indulge in bringing up past memory or thinking about the future. We develop a new mental habit.

Once we are adept at it, we become truly free. Letting go of situation, relationship and other mundane concerns, no longer cause pain and regret. It is just an inevitable event that is part of our existence. Just a sooner or later thing.

This doesn’t mean that we stop loving our job, our friends and family. It is a kind of wisdom that some older folks have. Coming to terms with mundane existence. The impermanent nature of existence.

Therefore training ourselves to let go is a useful skill that help us face the reality of life. Stay calm and carry on…..

May all be well and happy.