I was sitting on the couch yesterday meditating on the relationship between my mother and my stepfather, and I realised that many of the things we feel emotional turmoil about are also due to us not letting go. Pride, wanting to be loved, wanting to have ones environment in a certain shape, they are all certain ideals which we carry around with ourselves, and these ideals are things we hold on to.
There is a story from Da Free John’s book The Knee of Listening which I think captures the process of letting go rather well. It seems that if you tell your hand to make a fist, and then squeeze that fist, and continue telling your hand to make a tight fist, that after about twenty minutes you can’t relax your hand anymore. It has gotten used to being a fist. Then you have to gradually keep telling your hand to relax and spread. That process of relaxing tight knotted things, that is letting go.
So how do we let go of ideals? I think we have to consider what we find beautiful, what we find ugly, all these ideals and judgments we can let go, it can all be disposed of, relaxed. It is actually not necessary. Only then do we come to an original way of looking.
It is a contrast, my mother does push my stepfather around, she motivates him to stay engaged. It is not a relationship in which both parties are focussed on letting go. Neither of them is Buddhist, they believe they learnt their bit from spirituality long ago, they are now 71 and 83 years old respectively and have settled in to being householders. So I see the emotional turmoil that their attachment in their relationship causes, and i occasionally point them to letting go, but they are not open to considering these things.
The thief left it behind
At my window