The Loving Art of Letting Go
Here’s what happened this morning;
Meditation completed, I padded out to the kitchen to enjoy a morning tea with Devi.
Sunlight filters through the wisteria. Steam rises from teacups. Awareness of breath, stillness,… ahhhhhh… and then she asks,
“When do you want to schedule a call with Mark Z?”
With that simple question, my meditative calm cracks, my breathing speeds up, emotions intensify… my shanti is in shambles… Why?
Because Mark Z is our financial advisor.
And, for me, money is a trigger.
I have a well-worn neural pathway that leads from the thought of money to ancient images of struggle and stress.
It’s a pattern. Think money – feel anxious. Talk about money – become irrational.
It’s not a pattern I want to perpetuate.
What about you?
Are there patterns that you’d like to let go of – but that don’t seem to let go of you?
Why do patterns hold on?
The first reason is this: the patterns that limit you weren’t always limiting. They were adaptive.
If you grew up in a threatening environment, learning how to fly under the radar was adaptive. Playing small and keeping quiet protected you.
The patterns that persist used to protect you. Whatever the pattern is – eating, yelling, hiding… the list is endless… It protected you and it worked.
But your life has changed.
You’ve matured. The world you live in is not that of your childhood. But the pattern persists.
So, really, why do patterns persist?
Because It doesn’t have any other choice; it can only do what it does.
The pattern is not self-aware. It cannot turn around in consciousness and witness itself. It needs you to do that.
And as long as you are unconsciously identified with the pattern, you can’t witness it.
Un-observed patterns continue to generate thoughts, speech, actions, and results that conform with the needs of the pattern. Not the needs of your life-as-a-whole.
The pattern cannot conceive of your life-as-a-whole. It’s horizon of awareness is limited; focused on its own emotional needs and it’s job of protection.
So, as long as you don’t witness the patterns – it’s limited horizon of awareness will continue to run your life… at least in certain areas.
Building your witnessing capacity is the key that opens the door of freedom.
Through the practice of meditation, you build witnessing capacity. As you practice, you observe how the mind drifts from the object of meditation… and re-attaches itself to the familiar patterns of thought and emotion.
It’s quite a shock to see the persistent way that attention wanders – with frightening redundancy – back to the same worries, obsessions, day dreams…
But, rather than becoming lost in that identification, you return your attention to the object of meditation.
Rather than allow the mind to drift into habitual patterns of thought and emotion, you re-center gently, gently, gently on the object of meditation.
When you do this simple attentional shift, what are you really doing?
You’re cultivating witnessing capacity.
As witnessing capacity develops, the identification with patterns release.
The consciousness and energy that has been unconsciously invested in fueling the patterns is freed.
That’s the moment of letting go. And in that letting go, you re-discover yourself as freedom, as consciousness.
It’s a revelation that turns your life around: you are not a pattern of consciousness.
You are, fundamentally, consciousness itself. Consciousness that can let go, rest, and then renew itself…
With each meditation, you become more and more capable of witnessing the patterns and more and more able to rest in the un-patterned presence that is the source of creativity, compassion, and new life.
Then, whatever question life poses (even one about Mark Z), you will respond not according to some outmoded pattern, but with wisdom, love, and joy.
Remember a pattern.
Turn towards it with compassion.
Breathe, witness, and let go.
What are you aware of now?
Share in the comments.
Love & Shanti