Sometimes people think of mindfulness as being about letting go of things. Let go of anger and frustration, of ego and self-judgment, of all your thoughts entirely. I mean, go ahead and give that a shot, but speaking as a human being, I think you might find yourself, well…frustrated and angered by the attempt. Not only is getting “over it” a lot harder than you might expect, clearing your mind completely is impossible. That’s not your job here. The idea is to see what’s there – what’s going on within you – and to account for it without responding to it, unless and until you want to.
But stuff’s gonna go on. That’s the difference between you and a robot, although honestly, even the robot’s got a lot going on.
One of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s well-known quotes is, “It is not a matter of letting go. You would if you could. Instead of ‘Let it go,’ we should probably say ‘Let it be.'” Learn to observe, and you will find that there is always a sliver of light – and sometimes a lot more than that – no matter how difficult things may seem, or how painful that Monday alarm clock. It is what it is. Let it be, and keep going.
Photo credit: Abby Kihano