Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Letting Go

These days, it's tough to let go.

It's hard to let go of the fear and uncertainty about the future.

As a self-employed writer, at any given moment, I'm thinking about the future of my career, if and when more freelance assignments will start coming my way. I'm thinking about whether tomorrow the phone will ring, and whether it will finally be an offer of work from one of the countless prospects I've been courting for months and months. Will the lunches, dinners, emails, phone pitches, etc., pay off?

It's particularly bad on days when I don't have much to do...or days when the bank balance has chipped way down to cover just a few mortgage payments, and payment for work that I've long completed hasn't yet arrived.

But perhaps this isn't all there is to my fear. Perhaps it's not just fear of unemployment or poverty or losing my house that is so terrifying. Perhaps it's a greater fear. Perhaps my angst is about what will be left of "me," this person who I think I am, if all these distractions, these outside influences, fall away.

Perhaps it's the fear of confronting me.

But this is where I can draw comfort from Buddhist teachings. They say that I am mistaken to believe in a "me." In fact, this collection of feelings and emotions and experiences that I've packaged into an image of "me" isn't solid. I'm not really who I think I am because all that is inside and outside of my body is ever-changing. There is no permanent substance to me or you -- and so it naturally fits that there is nothing to hold onto.

And yet my body, what I have learned through living in this world, prevents me from letting go.

But I want to. I have read many books by learned Buddhist monks and teachers who talk about the freeing aspect of meditation and contemplating the process of letting go, that is, simply being with your feelings and experiences in the present moment.

It all makes perfect sense, and I have at times actually felt glimmers of this freedom during and after meditating. This is our natural state, they say, and fear and worry and living in the past or future is a condition that we have learned from this world.

At some point, I'll have to let go -- no matter what happens. In the meantime, I'll practice. Perhaps practicing is the only thing I shouldn't let go of.

1 comment:

Liara Covert said...

Nothing is "tough" unless you believe it is. Your thoughts become your words and feelings. Before you realize it, your core perspective manifests ar your life.