Letting Go of All the Rubbish

25 January 2010 - 7:34pm Comments Off

This week at Manjushri Class, we started by watching a teaching which Rinpoche gave about letting go and offering away our negative emotions, such as jealousy. (Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byPq0vOFJw8). We also discussed a teaching that Rinpoche gave about LETTING GO – what it means to really let go of our attachments and negativities, and how letting go of the people we love is the best way we can love them.

I am the kind of girl who becomes desperately possessive and paranoid about my relationships and friendships. And I believe there is a little part in everyone who worries constantly about losing a relationship, falling out, arguments or mending something broken.

We think about it constantly
we cry
we lament
we bitch and moan
we lash out
we get revenge
we shut down
we get depressed
we take drugs and escape into our whiskeys
we tell the whole world our relationship and family problems

It is, we tell ourselves, because we claim we love these people and we have been hurt by them! Betrayed! Disappointed! How could they!!!

Rinpoche gave us a teaching recently about the profound importance of letting go and what it really means. So many of us fear losing someone and misinterpret the idea of “letting go” as throwing someone out, cutting off ties or running away from them.

Letting go has never meant that we stop loving them or actually let go of the “object” we are attached to. It is about finding a different way to love them.

When we let go, Rinpoche explains, it is not to let go of the person but to let go of the expectations and perceptions we place on that person. It is to realise that it these projections we place on what s/he is supposed to do to make us happy – which they don’t meet - which makes us unhappy and keeps us stuck.

It is these very expectations and projections that harm us. When we project or expect, and when that person doesn’t meet what we have projected or expected, our world collapses. We can’t understand why they don’t do as we think they should. We ask over and over again, “Why do they do that? Why do they act like that? Why did they say that? Why didn’t they do this or that?” and we never get an answer that will satisfy us.

So we get hurt
frustrated
sad
angry
disappointed
irritated…

People react differently when they are hurt. Usually, we go into ourselves and think about the hurt.
we think about it constantly
we cry
we lament
we bitch and moan
we lash out
we get revenge
we shut down
we get depressed
we take drugs and escape into our whiskeys
we tell the whole world our relationship and family problems

When someone – such as our parents, our partners, our friends – don’t approve of us (our careers, lifestyles, friends, religions etc) and we get upset, it actually only reflects our selfishness for how we want things to be, how we want them to like and approve of us and how we want to be accepted. There we go, thinking about ourselves again.

In the end, we’re still none the happier
AND
we haven’t done anything to help ourselves, the other person nor the situation.

But we claim to love these people. We care. We have given them everything. We have made them our whole world. Don’t we?

All we achieve is to get more into our (selfish little) selves and further away from the people we claim to love. We start to shut them out, we start to plot how we can get them back or we self-destruct.

Letting go – of our expectations and projections – becomes the highest expression of our love for a person because in doing so, we STOP focusing on why WE have been hurt or disappointed and START focusing on THEM.

We change from relating our experiences to OURSELVES and our OWN REACTIONS to relating situations to THEM and THEIR NEEDS.

Then we truly begin to love them for them… and this becomes a real kind of love.

Once you put yourself back in the situation, any situation – your expectations, your needs, your problems – you find you can’t help the other person nor the situation at large. You can’t be focusing on yourself and the other person at the same time, especially not in a time when there is conflict between you both. So you pick – focus inwards on yourself or let go of “yourself” and focus outwards on the other person.

Though we fear that letting go means to lose someone forever and to lose any grasp at all that we might have on that person, ultimately, letting go actually means to let go of ourselves – our hangups, attachments and the selfish thinking we identify so strongly with which hurts us.

As Rinpoche summed up perfectly at the end of that teaching, “No one can cause you harm. It is your projections that harm you.”

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