This post is part of a series of posts where we are looking at the 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness, which you can see listed HERE. So far, we have looked at the attitude’s of Non-Judging, Patience, Beginner’s Mind, Trust, Non-Striving and Acceptance. Today we are looking at:
The Attitude of Letting Go
We often get caught up in our thoughts and emotions (I know I do!). In order to practice mindfulness it is therefore important that we learn to let go. We have some thoughts and emotions that we tend to hold on to (mostly positive and feel good ones) and we have some thoughts and emotions that we generally push away and avoid, mostly because they are uncomfortable, confronting or frightening. In mindfulness, we try to neither push emotions and thoughts away nor hold on to them. We try to experience them as they are, without getting caught up in them.
When I did my research to re-familiarize myself with the mindful attitude of letting go, I continually came across this story (below) of monkeys in India as an example for the behaviours of us humans, so even though Jon Kabat-Zinn does mention it in today’s video, I felt that I must also include it.
They say in India there is a particularly clever way of catching monkeys. As the story goes, hunters cut a hole in a coconut that is just big enough for a monkey to put its hand through. Then they drill two smaller holes in the other end, pass a wire through, and secure the coconut to the base of a tree. Then they put a banana inside of the coconut and hide. The monkey comes down, puts its hand in and takes hold of the banana. The hole is crafted so that the open hand can go in but the fist cannot get out. All the monkey has to do is let go of the banana. But it seems most monkeys do not let go.
Often our minds get us caught in very much the same way in spite of our intelligence. For this reason, cultivating the attitude of letting go, or non-attachment, is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness. When we start paying attention to our inner experience we rapidly discover that there are certain thoughts and feelings and situations that our mind seems to want to hold on to.
Letting go is the doorway to freedom!
Let’s hear from Jon Kabat-Zinn on the Attitude of Letting Go.
Ciao for now,
[This post is linked up with One Mother Hen for Open Slather]