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How to "let go"

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  • How to "let go"

    I keep hearing this repeated over and over in Buddhist teachings, but I'm not entirely sure how to do it. If you possess a mind like mine that has been taught from an early age to hold onto emotions, how can you learn to live in the moment and stop allowing those thoughts to control you and create more negative karma for you?

  • #2
    Well Tara, eventually you just get so 'sick and tired' of the dukkha of clinging, that you finally let go . By the way, what do you mean by 'hold onto emotions'?

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    • #3
      First, thanks for answering my question.

      Originally posted by Bhante Nandiya View Post
      Well Tara, eventually you just get so 'sick and tired' of the dukkha of clinging, that you finally let go .
      I think I'm already sick and tired of it, but perhaps not to the point of hitting rock bottom.


      Originally posted by Bhante Nandiya View Post
      By the way, what do you mean by 'hold onto emotions'?
      Yes, that is hard for me to convey properly. I guess the word I'm looking for which you already stated above is "clinging" to my emotions, i.e. allowing them to control my thoughts and reactions. For example, if I perceive someone has hurt me, I then fall into the victim mindset. So I cling to the emotions and feelings that go along with playing the part of the victim. I cannot allow myself to let go of feeling victimized and it becomes a habit. Even though the past is in the past and that moment is gone forever, I still "hold onto emotions" that linger which remind me of the event.

      Does that make better sense?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tara Hill View Post

        Yes, that is hard for me to convey properly. I guess the word I'm looking for which you already stated above is "clinging" to my emotions, i.e. allowing them to control my thoughts and reactions. For example, if I perceive someone has hurt me, I then fall into the victim mindset. So I cling to the emotions and feelings that go along with playing the part of the victim. I cannot allow myself to let go of feeling victimized and it becomes a habit. Even though the past is in the past and that moment is gone forever, I still "hold onto emotions" that linger which remind me of the event.

        Does that make better sense?
        Makes perfect sense. As far as I know I was never trained to hold on emotions in that way, but I still do it sometimes myself, so it's quite a hard thing not to. Ultimately it's easier to let go of these things when you feel good about yourself, self-esteem has a major impact on the extent to which the mind tends to dwell in negativity. So one of the tricks really, is to live your life in such a way that you feel good about yourself, so that you feel accomplished and can reflect on the good things you've done in the world. One common trap is doing what other people want us to do (or what we think they want us to do!) and not exploring our own talents and not following our own inspiration, and of course being charitable with our time and energy is always a boost to the mind.

        With metta,
        Ven. Nandiya.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bhante Nandiya View Post
          Makes perfect sense. As far as I know I was never trained to hold on emotions in that way, but I still do it sometimes myself, so it's quite a hard thing not to. Ultimately it's easier to let go of these things when you feel good about yourself, self-esteem has a major impact on the extent to which the mind tends to dwell in negativity. So one of the tricks really, is to live your life in such a way that you feel good about yourself, so that you feel accomplished and can reflect on the good things you've done in the world. One common trap is doing what other people want us to do (or what we think they want us to do!) and not exploring our own talents and not following our own inspiration, and of course being charitable with our time and energy is always a boost to the mind.

          With metta,
          Ven. Nandiya.
          Yes, I don't think my family purposely trained me to hold onto emotions, but they did teach me that "true justice" is not reached until that feeling is exhausted. The way they taught that justice is reached is when that person is hurt the same way or a sincere retribution is made. And until one of those events happen? It seems that it was only proper to hold onto the emotions like a grudge, almost as if some sort of justice would magically appear out of the blue while we torture ourselves mentally and emotionally. Obviously I can see how counterproductive and hurtful thinking and acting that way is, but it's now a habit that I am trying to break. Even though logically I know it's not healthy, it's so very hard to change and let go of that clinging to negative emotions.

          Thank you for your advice and suggestions. I agree that self-esteem is key component towards healing that aspect of my life.

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