Thankfully, We All Can Let Go!
The seasons, and healing, and every kind of letting go are possible because of time. On the other hand, isn’t it interesting how our habits create the impression that we are stuck fast in time? Markedly, our habits insist that some things never change. Most relevantly, they insist that you and I will always be exactly the way we are now. Yet, thankfully, I know I’m not stuck in the well-worn track of my habits. Thankfully, rather than being seduced by habit’s illusory permanence, we all can let go.
Our Sangha gathers for meditation and dharma discussion at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church every Sunday morning. After meditation, some of us go to the Pleasant Street Tea Co. for a mid morning breakfast. As you might imagine, going out like this is becoming a lovey tradition that I expectantly look forward to each week. Finally, once we’ve enjoyed our time together, clear our table and share warm goodbyes I walk home. However, on the morning I have in mind, thankfully, I changed course and a student friend gave me a ride.
Impermanence means that in moment-to-moment experiences, there is nothing graspable as a fixed self or reified existence.~Chan Master Guo Gu
As you’d expect on a late Sunday morning on Cape Ann, the traffic was easy with very few cars on the road. Then, as we neared the stop sign by the Dunkin Donuts on Rogers, I noticed a police SUV with it’s huge crash bumper not stopped at the stop sign, but pulled well out into the road. Next, as my student calmly slowed for the cop to get in ahead of us, I instantly felt indignant. Consequently, with a low kind of growl in my voice I said, “When cops do that, I never let them in.”
Following my judgmental declaration my friend turned with a big smile and said, “Oh, you’re a little bit angry, right?” “Actually,” I responded, “I’m a lotta bit angry.” I had this big, self-righteous story going on in my head about how the police should act. “That cop should set an example,” I said. “He should follow the law rather than try to push people around with his badge and his SUV.” In this case, my habitual way of thinking was really not healthy. I mean really, the only person suffering was me.
Nirvana means letting go.~ Ajahn Chah
My student laughed heartily and said that ever since moving to Cape Ann she’d been able to let all anger and frustration around driving in Massachusetts go. “Now,” she said, “No matter what other drivers do, no matter who they are, I relax. If they tailgate, I let them go by. If they’re aggressive, I smile and give them space.” She’s an agitation free driver now. She’s found a wonderful sense of ease and peace in her new life on the North Shore.
Wonderfully, she’s found the healing power of letting go that’s inherent in time, in ourselves, and in the way things are. Moreover, she’s discovered and unlocked a huge part of Dharma practice. Furthermore, she can always let go on the road because she’s better able to see the way things truly are, open, spacious, not stuck. Me? I’m working on it.
Here are links to two articles at Lion’s Roar on the topic of letting go.
Finally, here are links to two short videos by Pema Chodron on embracing what she calls “groundlessness” and letting go.
Please join us in historic Gloucester on Boston’s North Shore. Here’s a link to our calendar of events: sweepingheartzen.org/events/
I hope you have a wonderful week!