Okay, so lets talk about ‘letting go’ for a minute, because it’s probably the most powerful tool in the box as far as rapid changes in conduct and insight go, and can have quite a bang for the buck when used as an object of concentration.
Now, you have to be careful talking about this because most people’s idea of ‘letting go’ consists of pretending they don’t care about something anymore, and doing their best to avoid having to prove it. Moving to another town to avoid your ex is not ‘letting go’. Neither is never going to the mall because you can’t help buying fried chicken at the local KFC. The two applicable words are ‘avoidance’ and ‘denial’.
Letting go means that it does whatever it wants to do and it doesn’t affect you, no matter how close or far away it happens to be.
The easiest way to do this is contemplate deeply the downside of all the things you really want, and understand that they always go together. Phenomena are always dualistic presentations. If you contemplated the negative as deeply as you did the positive, you’d have a lot more equanimity towards the whole complex, rather than chasing the head-side of the coin all the time and pretending there is no tail.
The truth of it is, that nothing ‘out there’ makes you feel anything. Feelings/emotions come from your brain and nervous system. You condition them to external objects and their behavior. And external objects will behave in a pretty inconsistent and taoistic fashion. Get a copy of the i ching. if you’re super skilled, you might get an object to behave in a way you are conditioned to ‘like’ about 70% of the time. And that’s pushing the envelope. If you’re a taoist master or anthony robbins, you might be able to ramp that up to a marvelously flowing 80% or 90%, but that 10% will be a motherfucker when it comes.
It’s really a lot more sensible to decondition as much of this stuff as you can, and learn to intelligently manage the rest. This is one of those macroscale applications of fundamental insights. If nothing out there is really a source and is not stable even if it were, then why is it leading you around all the time? and if you can see this, then what is the appropriate stance towards the external world?
The all star champion sweeping method for this is either to cultivate profound selfless love, or to meditate on your eventual demise for a long time. Both will have a similar effect of causing you to drop a lot of dead weight. It will also profoundly change the dynamics of your relationships for the better, without the nasty aftertaste of your neurotic attachments.
I’m sort of in the middle of a major experiment on this subject, so I’ll hold off until it’s a little more clear how it plays out, before I discuss it.