Each of us has preferences of what we like, and don't like. Naturally, we react to these by trying to hold on to what we like, and push away what we don't like. Unfortunately, life isn't this simple, it is filled with a mixture of the pleasant and the unpleasant, and no amount of clinging or rejecting will hold off the ups and downs of life forever.
As we saw last week with the Attitude of Acceptance, when we try to avoid or turn away from painful experiences, it can increase suffering. It is the same with joyful experiences, when we try to hold on to them, we can end up sucking the joy out of them. Think of when we try to hold on too tight to a loved one, and they feel smothered, or when we don't want the good night to end, and we have another drink, and suffer the next day.
Life is ever changing, and nothing lasts forever. Painful experiences will pass (despite them seeming like they won't!), and and joyful experiences will also pass, leaving us enriched, and better for them..
We can practice the art of letting go using the breath.
• Take a deep breath in, and on the out-breath relax the body.
• On the next inhale, think think about how you need to let that breath go in order to inhale again.
• Continue this practice for the rest of the minute, mindful of the cycle of the breath.
• Reflect on how you trust the next breath to come all by itself, you don't need to do anything.
• We have to let go in order to move on to the next breath.
“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn
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