Letting go of clinging does not mean being hard on yourself. The Buddha taught that we suffer because we cling to what is impermanent, unsatisfactory and unreal (not-self) as if it were permanent, satisfactory and real.
It’s about just noticing that letting go of clinging means letting go of what is going to go anyway, what was not satisfactory anyway, what was not real anyway. Letting go of egocentricity means letting go of ideas about yourself that are not actually true and which bring you no lasting happiness.
So letting go of clinging is actually being kind to yourself. It may feel a bit shocking and unpleasant sometimes – like being woken from a deep sleep by a loud noise or a shower of cold water. Nevertheless, in the end it is better to be awake than asleep.
As you awaken from sleep in the morning, open the curtains and let in the light, or as you wake yourself up by doing physical exercise or step out into the fresh air, acknowledge to yourself how you have within you the power to awaken and let go in a way that affects your heart and mind together.
As you start your day, sit to meditate or go about your daily life, think of how you can use every situation as a trigger to remind you to wake up and let go of clinging.
Reflect on those moments in your day that have triggered some kind of awakening and letting go of clinging and think about how valuable they were. Think about how that power to awaken is the most important thing about yourself and other beings.
Let yourself feel a sense of relief and joy, even if it is only for a split second, that such a process of awakening is possible.
Lama Shenpen Hookham
An extract from The Indestructible Heart Essence coursebook, part of the Discovering the Heart of Buddhism course, which is from Lama Shenpen’s Living the Awakened Heart Training programme.
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