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Updated on:

February 17, 2016

Essence of Letting Go, by Mark Coleman


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About Mark Coleman:

Mark Coleman has been engaged in meditation practice since 1981, primarily within the Insight meditation tradition. He has been teaching meditation retreats since 1997. His teaching is also influenced by his studies with Advaita Vedanta and Tibetan teachers in Asia and the West, and through his teacher training with Jack Kornfield. Mark primarily teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California, though he also teaches nationally, in Europe and India.


So, good evening, everybody. Welcome to Spirit Rock. And tonight, everybody hear me okay? Yeah?

So I just had a good fortune spending a few hours up the hill where there is the beginnings of a two months silent retreat happening and to some of you, that probably sounds like jail sentence. Other view, sounds like nirvana. And then you can think in between. It was very serene up there. Very peaceful. When people drop into that depths of mediation, one of the reasons is it’s so still is because the exit point, which is one hundred twenty one (121) days away. It’s so long for the mind to contemplate and gives up thinking about the exit. And so it actually just finally drops in. And the long sweet spot in the middle of a meditation retreat for those of you who retreats. As we can have in the middle of meditation, actually, there’s a natural settling period beginning of a meditation just by being comfortable, letting go of the thoughts, ___ and it can be a sweet spot in the middle where it’s a little more settled. And it’s just found of a way before we start thinking about the next thing, or the bell ringing, and which cookie I’m going to have for the lunch, or break, or who I am going to chat up at break, or whatever it’s going on. And there’s a place where we get to pause, right? And the meditation’s is a bit of a secret pause to pause (laughs). Slow. It’s a great word- pause. Someone’s very ___- pause, it’s suggestive of that stilling, quieting, calming. Alright?

___ beautiful line in the ___. The first line, out-stilling the formations of the mind. It’s a ___- one and one dimension of practice is to still, quiet the formations, quiet the relentless habits, the new-ing, grasping movements.

So it’s nice we get to meditate again. Sat in stillness and see what we wants to be known, wants to be revealed in awareness. Sounds, sight, smells, thoughts, images, past, present, future, ___ into the mystery of the present and into the mystery of awareness. It’s always right here. So we’re going to anywhere to mean to particularly do anything. You don’t need to make anything happen. You just need to be present for the performance of life of our experience of whatever wants to be known, which is always a mystery, just what makes this moment interesting as we don’t know what’s going to arise in this ___ move, life consciousness.

So the theme for this evening’s talk is on renunciation, which is never a popular word in North America, generally speaking. But it is the season for coming into the ___ Catholics as for it the season of Lent, which is a period of formal other renunciation of sought, like Jesus’ time in the desert, forty (40) days in the desert.

So I’ve been ___ people for stories about renunciation, like what are you giving up? What are you? So a friend emailed and said, Pope Francis just gave a talk and rather than thinking of Lenten’s depravation which it was me give up chocolate, give up candy, give up all the fun stuff like it was seem like a recipe for misery. He said, how about we give up indifference. Let’s practice renouncing indifference. The others, the suffering. So we can bring that to a meditation. What would it be to practice letting go of indifference to ourselves, indifference to our hearts, indifference to our pain, indifference to our body, indifference to whatever there’s strange and difficult and existential places that we deep into. What would it be to practice being meeting those, showing up with the kind, curious attention, which is the opposite of indifference?

So, let’s practice together. Sit comfortably. Sit at ease. If you’re tired, try not to slouch in the chair, because that will guarantee you’ll fall asleep.

And then perhaps in the meditation you can be renouncing the habit of being lost in thought, the habit of spending your time in planning the to-do list, fantasies, memories. To renounce other than what’s happening right here directly in your experience. So as you sit, can you fill insensitive body sitting? All the myriads sensations. Sitting, pressure, weight, density, lightness, heaviness. All the sensation points of touching- at the eyelids, lips, and feet, buttocks.

All the sensations of movement, of expansion. Lifting, rising, and falling, contracting, in the torso, chest, belly inflates and deflates of the breath. Feeling those waves of sensations, and the waves of breath entering and leave the body.

__ to be renouncing indifference in this moment. Renouncing demanding that you experience in a sudden way. Or renouncing judging and condemning yourself on your meditation. So anchoring attention in the sensations of body, sitting, moving, breathing, hearing. Staying present to your physical sensory experience.

Sitting, aware of sitting. Breathing and aware of breath. Hearing, aware of hearing. Doing the same awareness to our heart. Being present to the feelings, emotions, moods and flowing in and out of your heart. And how are you feeling in this moment? In this mood? In this moment.

Presence of the thoughts and images that flickers through the mind. You need to stop thinking of making enemy of thoughts simply to wake up from being lost in the trance of thinking. Doing mindful when thinking’s happening.

Being curious about all the ways that you live here with this. When is the attention wrong? When you’re judging or condemning it? Inviting attention back again here. And tuning to this moment. Body, breath, sound, sensation, feeling, thought. The attention needs more ground, you can use the refuge of the breath, ___ with the in-breath and the out-breath.

Noticing the tendencies, the habits of mind and thought that cause pain or contraction. Noticing what can be relist to support a sense of well-being or ease or presence.

Let go of what is gone. Let go of what may come. Let go of what is happening now.

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About the author 

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]