January 3   

Today's quotation:

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
Wherever You Go, There You Are

Today's Meditation:

Letting go has become one of the most important elements of my life over the past couple of decades, and something that I truly wish someone had taught me about earlier.  As I've learned to let go of things like expectations and disappointments and desires and judgments, life has become a much friendlier and much more fulfilling experience.  Oddly enough, as I've learned to let go of expectations of my students in the classroom, I've seen that they respond by doing work on their terms, not trying to fulfill my expectations, and their work generally increases greatly in quality.

We learn to hold on to things.  We may be afraid to lose a relationship, even though ending a relationship may be the best thing for us.  We can fear losing a job, though being forced to find a new job may make us happier overall.  We hold on to beliefs because they make us feel comfortable with our view of reality as we see it, though letting go of beliefs may help us to see reality as it is.

When we do stop coercing and struggling, we find that our lives are simpler because we're no longer trying to control things in order to make them as we think they should be.  Should our daughter really have to act the ways we think she should act, or should she find her own ways to act with which she's more comfortable?  We need to let go of our need to control her, while still being there to support her.  This way she's happier, and we're much more relaxed because we don't get disappointed or frustrated when she does things her own way rather than our way.

I want to be able to let go of my needs to make things be what I think they should be.  Of course, in my classes my students need to learn certain things, and it's my job to make sure that those things are presented to them well.  And I can't just give someone an A because I've let go of my need to have control--they still must earn that grade.  And if students aren't learning, I want to change what I'm doing to help them learn.  But I can let go of my need or desire to control how they do what they do--which I can't control anyway--and allow myself to relax and relate to them in much more personal and effective ways.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things are you holding on to?  Why? 

What scares you about letting go of certain things?  Where did those fears originate? 

Why do our society and culture teach us so often that holding on to things is so important?

For further thought:

Letting go is the lesson.  Letting go is always the lesson.  Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?

Susan Gordon Lydon
The Knitting Sutra

more on letting go



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