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]
Great story! (re the monkeys). There was a quote on Maxabella Loves the other day – our fear is of the known coming to an end, not the unknown…(something like that). Letting go can be the hardest part. Nice post!
I’ll have to pop over to Maxabella Loves and check out that quote. I love a good quote! Letting go is hard. I can dwell on some things. We’re all a work in progress ;-)!
Letting go is something I need to practice more of.
Great food for thought on a Monday morning. Love the thought of letting go and just enjoying the moment! Something for me to more mindful of this week 🙂
A lot of these attitudes of mindfulness are connected with each other. I think ‘letting go’ is very much connected to ‘acceptance’. 🙂
Great post Min! I haven’t read about the monkeys in India story before… this resonates. ‘Letting go’ and being in a state of ‘mindfulness’ takes patience and practice, for sure… it’s ongoing for me♥
Thanks Leanda – it’s ongoing for me too! 😉
Right now I’m battling to let go of anger towards a certain issues/circumstance, I’m trying!
Oh Em – not good. Hope the issue/circumstances resolves soon! I can relate entirely. Probably the best example I can give is of when our neighbours (for the SECOND time) hacked back all our bushes down the side on our side of the fence. They even leaned over the fence and hacked below fence level – on our side. They’ve ruined the aesthetics of the bushes and some have not grown back. The first time I tried my best to let it go because I did not want to cause a rift and I despise confrontation. Second time I knew I had to speak up and let them know that what they do is unacceptable and upsetting. They became very hostile and we’ve now fallen out with them. I have never, ever fallen out with neighbours before. I don’t like that feeling but I spoke up where I had a right to speak up. They chose to be hostile, not me. I had trouble letting go of the anger, the hurt, the stress over the falling out. I now accept it for what it is and know that I myself have done nothing wrong. Life can be hard sometimes! 😉 x
The monkey story is brilliant!! I haven’t heard this one before. Very enlightening.
It’s a clever story to get the point across! 🙂
How interesting it is to revisit and see the commentors….many of whom are no longer blogging. Such a short time ago.
Sorry about your neighbours. Yikes.
It’s amazing how many bloggers from a few years back have disappeared. So much has changed too. Many link-ups have gone and link-ups these days (in Australia anyway) don’t seem to get as much bloggers linking up as used to be the case. I will probably end my link-up at the end of this year or when ZTT ends. Oh those neighbours – don’t get me started!