Sacred West

Buddhism and Modern Life

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The Practice Is Letting Go, Not Getting To.

August 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment · Filed under: Practice

In this Level I weekend, our teacher read from a seminary instruction given back in the seventies by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, elucidating for his students the basic, open technique of shamatha practice, focusing on the outbreath. I noticed that Rinpoche used the word “abandon” as part of his description of what we do in the going out with the breath, in the becoming the breath. Abandon. This word captured me.

I wondered, as I’ve so often wondered: why exactly is it so very hard to rest in this place? We’re supposed to be resting the mind, resting in open sky, resting in mahamudra. If it’s so restful, then tired as I am, why don’t I want to stay here?

As I watched I saw in fact how I deeply I do want to stay here, and this is the problem of course, because here is gone, has left the station, carries now only a cheap copy of the original dot that graced its “i”.

But oh, the desire! How hungrily I desire to remain in this moving moment. And how wearying it is to search for it continually. I said in our discussion group on the Sunday that I have yearned all of my life to find this place, and finally the simple, unconditional meditation practice of Buddhism leads me to this very place, only to find that it goes away before I can even sip from it.

It is wearying, I think, the challenge each moment to abandon oneself anew, and go out with the outbreath, go out with the reflex, go out with each new gift of waking, abandon the very gift so precious and sweet. Abandon.

I have spent three years switching my allegiance from absorption in thought to this much striven-for gift of waking. But now I see there is another piece, the part about letting go.

The practice is letting go, not getting to.

This is where I need to train next. I need to overcome the grief of watching the present flee away, to turn this to gladness. I can train for this, on the cushion, where all the major work is done. I want a new kind of switching allegiance now, shifting from getting to, shifting to letting go.

Abandon desire to stay here. Practice letting go. Abandon desire.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Weary From the Cushion // Oct 7, 2009 at 11:51 am

    […] a long time I’ve been asking myself, if all the teachings talk in terms of resting in natural mind, why is it so wearying to meditate? […]

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