Friday, December 28, 2007

Daily Dharma: Letting Go of Holding On

Today's Daily Dharma is from my favorite teacher, Pema Chodron.

Letting Go of Holding On

Renunciation does not have to be regarded as negative. I was taught that it has to do with letting go of holding back. What one is renouncing is closing down and shutting off from life. You could say that renunciation is the same thing as opening to the teachings of the present moment....

Renunciation is realizing that our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited, petty world is insane. Once you begin to get the feeling of how big the world is and how vast our potential for experiencing life is, then you really begin to understand renunciation. When we sit in meditation, we feel our breath as it goes out, and we have some sense of willingness just to be open to the present moment. Then our minds wander off into all kinds of stories and fabrications and manufactured realities, and we say to ourselves, "It's thinking." We say that with a lot of gentleness and a lot of precision. Every time we are willing to let the story line go, and every time we are willing to let go at the end of the outbreath, that’s fundamental renunciation: learning how to let go of holding on and holding back.

~ Pema Chodron, Tricycle, The Buddhist Review, Vol. I, #1; from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith.

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