Clearing Space

There are three teachings that I aim to apply to my daily life and work that are especially complicated when I’m stressed and dealing with trauma. I put them under the headings: Love, Loss and Letting Go but they are all interrelated. Love is about authentic presence. It’s learning to be in alignment body, mind and spirit. It’s practicing self-care and kindness. Loss is observing and accepting the temporal nature of all things. Letting go is about releasing and clearing space for novelty. Today, I want to talk about Letting Go.

The purpose of Letting Go is to make space for something new to enter your life when your inner being is ready. It involves releasing elements of the past and the feeling of control. The opposite of Letting Go is clinging. We can cling to an object, a person, a way of life, a view point, an identity. When we hold onto something that is no longer beneficial for our stage of development, it weakens our life energy. Letting go can be difficult and painful when it involves cutting off something that once provided us with joy and purpose. It’s like a warm hug that’s now turned into a choke hold.

In order to let go, we first have to accept Loss, the temporal nature of all things. Then, we can begin to turn to our behavior and decision making to see how we either assist or stifle emergence, that is, our transition into a new state of being. The longer we resist change, the more we suffer and eventually suffering can become a longstanding part of our reality. When we choose the practice of Letting Go, we are courageously opening ourself up to a life of freedom and possibilities.

When we are stressed or experiencing the effects of a trauma, we have a tendency to cling. We are vulnerable, tired and weary and we really just want to sleep. Sleeping requires very little space so the clutter serves you well in this state of mind. But, if your will power is strong or the current of life pushes you forward to your potential destiny, you’ll be faced with a dilemma. Sleep or experiment with Letting Go of something.  

The practice of Letting Go starts with asking: What am I holding on to that is consuming my energy, holding me back or causing me suffering?

With this question in mind, thoughts naturally arise. It’s an excellent starting point for meditation. In meditation you may observe the patterns of your thinking. Perhaps it is an object of your clinging or a fear. Your clinging will have a language of its own, but it generally runs on in your mind like a fixed narrative, or a loop with no outlet. When we meditate on this, we may find that we justify why we’re clinging. We may think that suffering is simply part of life and loving. Still, when you listen to your body and spirit, you become aware of not feeling at ease. You may feel tense, frustrated or angry.

In my experience clinging is attached to deep rooted fears. A deep rooted fear stems from childhood or a trauma. There are many clairvoyants who believe that fears can hold over from a past life time. A fear of scarcity, for example, will have you clinging to money. You may have become greedy or miserly. Fear of being alone or unlovable may have you clinging to a person or an unhappy relationship. Fear of death may have you clinging to excessive health routines or young people. When we cling, we have over identified our self with something and feel lost without it.

When we’re faced with a sudden life change or trauma, we’re forced to reevaluate everything. It can be difficult and painful Letting Go in these circumstances because we find ourselves managing Loss and Letting Go simultaneously. It can be tricky figuring out the needs of an emerging identity and releasing attachments at the same time. We worry that if we let go even more we may lose everything! At first, it’s normal to sit with your suffering. Pain is a natural part of life and change. But in our sitting practice we begin to realize that we feel imprisoned by old thoughts and circumstances. Little by little we learn that what is most important in life is never really lost or in jeopardy.

In my practice, I alternate my daily meditation with Love intention and Letting Go. This provides me with the strength, self-care and kindness I need. Trust that you will naturally want to feel lighter and free. Trust that you will naturally lean into your most promising life energy.

What are you holding on to?

What is Bardo?

Bardo is a Tibetan word that means in-between. It’s sometimes translated as intermediate state. Chögyam Trungpa, author of The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing In The Bardo, says Bardo means gap. It’s not only the interval of suspension after we die but also the interval of suspension in the living situation. In other words, we can experience a ritualistic death while living.

After the loss of my husband, I’ve come to know Bardo. In many ways, I’m still in the in-between stage. After a year though, I’m more aware and observing, less agonizing. A greater consciousness is emerging. Something about it feels good suddenly. It’s like a rock that hits water and sinks but rings of consciousness emanate out from it. I’m observing what was and simultaneously observing what will be. In this present state, time appears to collapse entirely.

There is still tenderness about it and anticipation.

A person who loses a loved one transforms in mind, body and spirit. If you were unaware of this, know it’s a ritualistic death– a Bardo. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, know it will happen one day because everybody dies eventually. I think it’s good to understand this because maybe we might fear death less. We might suffer less. It doesn’t mean we won’t feel pain. It means we change our perception of the pain and that makes a difference.

In the Bardo, I discovered a bridge. I think now that where there is a gap, there’s always a bridge. The bridge of Bardo is our access to the infinite.

I know that when we lose a loved one, we can expand our consciousness. We can become aware of our capacity to move through life with more love and tenderness. We come to realize that the love of our beloved is infinite and can be an eternal source of energy for us, an energy that we can absorb and recycle as we move into the next stage of our lives.

Over the last few months, I began to visualize how I can help others navigate this time. It took me a while and I depended on others to be there for me and I’d like to do the same. I’d like to share some strategies that were essential for me, essential nutrients so to speak.

Starting this January, I’m facilitating a mindfulness meditation support and learning group. For more information about joining this group, please go to my Mindful Bardō page.