The other day, while giving a little instruction to a meditation student of mine…well she also happens to be my wife, a way of illustrating one of the goals in meditation, came about. I was attempting to describe the process of letting go. Letting go of what, you ask? Well, I continued on, that during meditation, we attempt to keep our mind focused on something observable, moment to moment. In this case, it is the breath, the natural breath going in and out of the nose, you know, respiration. So, while doing this exercise, this meditation, the mind will wander. It will follow the various thoughts and sensory experiences that it deems important. As this wandering occurs, it is our job to recognize this, as objectively (with a smile and a no big deal) as possible and then re-focus our attention back on the breath. It sounds easy enough, right? Well, I encourage all human beings to start their practice with very low (actually with none) expectations.
So, here is where the descriptive came along. I told her that these thoughts and sensory stimulation are very much like balloons. They are only as strong as the importance we give to them. So picture those everyday thoughts going through your mind. Imagine, each of the thoughts as a balloon. Now picture each balloon (helium filled) that you give importance to, becomes attached to your body. Now imagine those balloons pulling you in every direction, the stress, the tension!!!!
Ok, picture yourself, during meditation, as a thought comes up, you follow it (give it importance) and immediately this balloon is pulling you. At first, you may not even recognize you have followed that thought. Several minutes, heck, hours might pass and the awareness of following that thought may not be realized. Yet, at that moment you do recognize your mind has gone elsewhere, anywhere but focused on your breath, and the moment of clarity arises and you observe that thought, smile and then let it go. Let go of that balloon! Let go of that tension! Let go of that stress. Just let it go, off into the air, off into the universe. No longer attached, no longer holding onto it, just letting it go. Then as it floats away, you focus your attention back on the breath. The return of what is now, what is present, what is the moment. How liberating!
Will that thought come up again? Yes. Will your mind follow it….give it importance. Well, most likely. But now you have started training that fickle mind of yours, that these thoughts…these sensory experiences are very much like balloons! Most of these thoughts and experiences are a part of a large grouping of balloons! So you let go, one at a time and bring that focus back to the breath, back to the moment! The tension is still there, but you give it just a little less importance (by letting go of that observed balloon), and ultimately working to lighten the load, as you continue retraining this needy mind of yours.
Eventually you will find that it isn’t the balloon that is causing the tension, it isn’t the thought or the sensory experience that is causing the stress. It is the importance you give to that thought, that experience, that is the source of your stress. You choose to give it importance, by holding onto it.
As you practice, you experience letting go of the balloons and awareness of the mind wandering, becomes more natural. You will slowly notice a change in the habit pattern of the mind. A transformation from the old habit of holding on, to a new liberating habit of letting go. Letting go of those typical daily tensions. Letting go of those self-inflicted stresses. Ultimately, taking responsiblity for the misery in your life and eventually finding true peace….true happiness, in all things…in all experiences. For now you have experienced the true nature of letting go of attachment. An enlightening experience for all !!!
BE HAPPY MY FRIENDS……BE HAPPY!!!