Meditation is the way to achieve letting go. In meditation one lets go of the complex world outside in order to reach the serene world inside. Often with meditation, there will be some hard work at the beginning, but be willing to bear that hard work knowing that it will lead you to experience some very beautiful and meaningful states. They will be well worth the effort! It is a law of nature that without effort one does not make progress. Whether one is a layperson or a monk, without effort one gets nowhere, in meditation or in anything.
Efforts in Meditation
Effort alone, though, is not sufficient. The effort needs to be skillful. This means directing your energy just at the right places and sustaining it there until its task is completed. Skilful effort neither hinders nor disturbs you, instead, it produces the beautiful peace of deep meditation.
In order to know where your effort should be directed, you must have a clear understanding of the goal of meditation. The goal of this meditation is the beautiful silence, stillness, and clarity of mind. If you can understand that goal then the place to apply your effort and the means to achieve the goal become very clear.
How to Unburden You Mind in Meditation
During meditation, we should not develop a mind which accumulates and holds onto things, but instead, we develop a mind which is willing to let go of things, to let go of burdens. Outside of meditation, we have to carry the burden of our many duties, like so many heavy suitcases, but within the period of meditation, so much baggage is unnecessary. So, in meditation, see how much baggage you can unload. Think of these things as burdens, heavyweights pressing upon you. Then you have the right attitude for letting go of these things, abandoning them freely without looking back. This effort, this attitude, this movement of mind that inclines to give up, is what will lead you into deep meditation. Even during the beginning stages of this meditation, see if you can generate the energy of renunciation, the willingness to give things away, and little by little the letting go will occur. As you give things away in your mind you will feel much lighter, unburdened and free. In the way of meditation, this abandoning of things occurs in stages, step by step.
In meditation, it is important to give up the baggage of past and future. Sometimes you may think that this is such an easy thing to do, that it is too basic. However, if you give it your full effort, not running ahead to the higher stages of meditation until you have properly reached the first goal of sustained attention on the present moment, then you will find later on that you have established a very strong foundation on which to build the higher stages.
Abandoning the past means not even thinking about your work, your family, your commitments, your responsibilities, your history, the good or bad times you had as a child ..” you abandon all past experiences by showing no interest in them at all. You become someone who has no history during the time that you meditate. You do not even think about where you are from, where you were born, who your parents were or what your upbringing was like. All of that history is renounced in meditation. In this way, everyone here on the retreat becomes equal, just a meditator. It becomes unimportant how many years you have been meditating, whether you are an old hand or a beginner. If you abandon all that history then we are all equal and free. We are freeing ourselves of some of these concerns, perceptions, and thoughts that limit us and which stop us from developing the peace born of letting go.
Mind – A Wonderful Tool
When you work with your mind, you find that the mind is so strange. It can do some wonderful and unexpected things. It is very common for meditators who are having a difficult
time, who are not getting very peaceful, to sit there thinking ‘Here we go again, another hour of frustration’. Even though they begin thinking like that, anticipating failure, something strange happens and they get into a very peaceful meditation.