An Eastern Approach to Letting Go

An Eastern Approach to Letting Go
How Taoist and Buddhist philosophies can help us connect to life

You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.
– Eckhart Tolle

If I had to summarize what I’ve learned from Taoist and Buddhist philosophy it’s been a deeper understanding of how to both let go and connect with life. It’s a kind of yin and yang approach to everything.

Monk releasing lanternHow to both let go and connect with life

Reducing Stress, Finding Peace

In the Tao Te Ching the advice is to yield with difficulties, reduce clutter, create space, let go. So over the years I’ve tried to apply this to my thoughts, emotions, goals, expectations and opinions, especially when these are creating fear, anxiety or unhappiness.

This approach has helped me to let go of stress, flow with problems, accept situations that were difficult, and to find deeper peace.

Letting goLetting go of stress

Falling Back into Communion

On the flip side the great masters of the East offer wonderful advice on how to connect more closely with the world around us, with nature, with creative activities and people, with the great flow of all existence. They emphasize how we are each a part of Nature, unique sentient expressions of our Universe.

As we let go of our limited human thoughts and obsessions, we fall back gracefully into communion with the Source of all things, connecting directly with the Universal field of life and energy that has brought us into being.

Sand mandalaBack to the Source of all things

Our Primal Virtue

This is who we really are, the sages and masters tell us. We are this great dance of creative awareness, relationships and activity. Breathing in deeply and mindfully we pull the outer world into us, breathing out slowly we let it go.

Carrying body and soul
and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?

Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?

Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?
Loving all men and ruling the country,
Can you be without cleverness?

Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?

Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.

– Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching

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David S. Shaw
7 years ago

Playing with the form of the Eckhart Tolle quote, it is fun to consider that the Universe isn’t becoming conscious, but always has been. What if the Universe doesn’t need any focal points? We can view the Universe as a movie maker getting a “Big Bang” out of watching itself do its no beginning no end dance. We can look at the movie as being a “shit show” with a plot line of things coming together, only to fall apart, over and over forever. In this movie we need a hero to stop this crap. Maybe its a job for Super Natural Human, no we need something Supernatural. What if the movie’s plot line is one where the Universe applauds when it reaches the unreachable stars and then belly laughs when it remembers that the stars were never out of reach? The Universe delights in the movie about the characters who thought they needed something great and powerful to get enough smarts, compassion and courage to find their way to security, only to discover that they were already capable of being there with a “tap, tap.”May be the Universe is like Nietzsche’s Sisyphus was happy parable. Poor Sisyphus is doomed to expend great effort pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again, over and over forever. Happy Sisyphus, he woke up. He realizes that pushing is good as long as he gets the joke when the rock falls back down. He is a great struggling hero and happy clown, over and over forever. The challenge for people could be how to endure being wonderfully intrinsically engrossed in great drama and belly laughing in response to great comedy. The thought of such endless entertainment is exhausting. Imagine a cable or a satellite dish company that provides infinite channels where the show on each is as great as any other! What to do? Maybe we rate movies to take a rest from eternal delight. Maybe for most such naps become long periods for semi-consciousness with loss of focus. All drama divine, all Buddha belly laughing divine comedy. Gee, I don’t know if I’m up for this, unless this is reality TV and I am intrinsically involved.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

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