The question of the day is: what will you let go of? Here is a meditation session of learning to let go of what upsets and weighs us down, recognizing that all our experiences, good and bad, are impermanent. Often thoughts and desires that accompany the feelings magnify our distress, the need for things to be in a particular way, like the need for us to stay calm and centered during a meditation. Otherwise the session feels like a waste of time. Actually the best time to practice is when the mind is unsettled. We’re cultivating accepting situations or reality as they are before deciding on the next best response.
Part of responding wisely to our difficult feelings is to let go of the need to react, and instead transform that emotional energy by returning our attention to the breath or body. Letting go of reactivity is an act of letting go the need to pander to our cravings and fears. By extension this means letting go the need to cling on to the idea of a self. Some people may describe it as our ego or pride. The Buddha said, “Nothing is to be clung to as I, me or mine.”
The invitation in this practice is to decouple from the self by firstly taking the bigger picture, zooming out to sense our body as a whole like a vessel or container instead of getting lost in the mess of our thoughts and feelings that arise within, and each time the mind instructs us to do something, we can just let it be by not needing to answer back or act on them even if they seem so compelling and urgent.
Finally, we rest in awareness that we’re not alone in our journey. There is a group we’re plugged into – a family, workplace, society, country, and in this Zoom space as we meditate together even if it’s for a brief moment.
Charles Causley’s poem “I am the Song” is read as a gentle reminder that there is no me and them, no independent self as such. All organic beings are interdependent in this universe.
I am the song that sings the bird. I am the leaf that grows the land. I am the tide that moves the moon. I am the stream that halts the sand. I am the cloud that drives the storm. I am the earth that lights the sun. I am the fire that strikes the stone. I am the clay that shapes the hand. I am the word that speaks the man.
It’s natural to strive for perfect experiences – to be calm, at peace etc instead of worried and sad. The reality is the mind is always digging away about something and might not hesitate to tell you where you’ve messed up. Letting go the need to feel perfect allows us to just rest in the moment as it is, whether pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. As always practice ends with a poetry reading.
Today Means Amen (extract), by Sierra deMulder
You are drawing a map of forgiveness, where you live, where you already are – you just don’t know it yet Perfect isn’t where we’re from, and we wouldn’t like it there anyway. Whoever you are, however you got here, This is exactly where you are supposed to be. This moment has waited its whole life for you. You made it. You made it. You made it. Here.