Letting go of letting go

In meditation we are often give the instruction to let go. We are asked to let go of thinking, judging, and even our attempts to control the meditation or our experience in meditation. On the surface this sounds straightforward and simple, but in practice it proves devilishly difficult.

Trying to let go of thinking causes us to think about our mental contents. Trying us to let go of judging causes us to judge what we’re doing. And trying to let go of control causes us to try to control our controlling. This becomes a frustratingly circular endeavor.

In fact, we can’t actively let go. The act of trying to actively do it, is itself not letting go. Sometimes in meditation our minds kick in and recognize that we have indeed let go. But, then we try to hold on to that state, converting letting go to controlling. It can be so very frustratingly difficult to just execute the simple instruction to let go.

So how do we proceed. First we must recognize that we can’t do it. The activity itself is contrary to letting go. So, we must stop trying to let go. We must let go of letting go. Actual letting go sometimes spontaneously happens when we are successful at simply relaxing and being with our experiences. It feels like grace, not something that we can produce, but something that we simply receive.

The mind has trouble with this instruction that to let go is to not try to let go at all. But, in meditation the mind is the problem not the solution. So, don’t try to use the problem to produce the solution. Stop trying. It will happen if and when you’re ready and grace descends.

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