Saturday, October 07, 2006

Giving Things Up

Some people talk about 'letting go' and 'giving things up'. I sometimes wonder what they're talking about. Life is constantly forcing us to give things up and let go. Just take a moment and reflect on the many changes & losses that life has thrown at you. How skilfully have you dealt with them? I suppose the Buddha understood that by letting go of certain assumptions, beliefs, dysfunctional emotional habits, etc we’d be able to smile at impermanence.

So you wanna give up stuff? Try giving up these:

Taking your Precious Human Life for granted
Assuming you've got a rough deal in life
Thinking your life has no meaning, no value
Wasting this precious opportunity
Your attachment to material possessions, praise or approval, good reputation, pleasant experiences
Your fear of not getting material possesions or of being separated from them; blame or disapproval, of other people think of you; unpleasant experiences.
Your denial of death: death is inevitable!
Believing your actions have no consequences
Assuming you're not responsible for your feelings and your life
Acting in ways that result in suffering
Guilt - guilt is a waste of time. Messed up things? Learn from your experience and move on.

Not satisfied yet? Try giving up these:

Denial that you experience suffering, difficulties, and problems.
Your assumptions that the causes of your problems are other people / things out there
Your assumptions that this is it, that life is shit and then you die, that there's no way out
Give up suffering: who wants it?
Give up the causes of suffering: your own disturbing attitudes and negative emotions
Give up attachment, anger, pride, ignorance
Give up your misconceptions about the nature of reality, your distorted views, your own subjective interpretation of people, things and events

Want more stuff to give up?

Give up all bias, aversion, clinging or apathy towards others
Stop categorising people e.g. friends, enemies, strangers
Give up your sense of separateness from others
Give up assuming you're different
Give up believing your pain hurts more and somehow others are OK
Give up your denial of others’ kindness
Give up your self-centred attitude
Give up your assumption that self-centredness has benefits, that if you take care of n.1 you'll be OK

Want to really shift your negative patterns?

Give up greed, unskillful actions, anger, criticism, judgments, self-righteousness, etc
Give up laziness & low self-esteem (stop thinking you can’t do it!)
Give up all distractions
Let go of past & future

And most of all, give up your assumptions that
Life is supposed to bring us happiness
People, things and situations are fixed and unchanging

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