Zen talks a lot about letting go– of attachments, of our sense of ourselves as independent, of negative thoughts. When I think about these ideas, I think they are good goals, but I don’t always really feel them. Occasionally, though, I tell myself I am letting go of something and I will touch that place for a moment. I think that’s something people don’t talk about much– that a lot of the time the habits we try to cultivate– forgiveness, surrender, acceptance, aren’t results. We can feel them for a bit and then our negative mind patterns take over again. We can touch forgiveness and come back to anger. We can accept something for a moment and then not accept it in the next. Today, I had a few moments where I let go of guilt about spending too much money on a clutch for the wedding. It is not something I need, it is silk, which I have moral hesitations about, and it was expensive. My sister told me I have saved a lot of money in other ways on the wedding and it is worth it if it makes me happy, and I agree with her, but I also didn’t want to use that as an excuse to spend frivolously. Then while walking, I realized I am going to keep the purse, it will make me happy, and feeling guilty would not help anything. It wasn’t a justification for the things I felt badly about. We make decisions all the time that find a balance between good and harm. It was a realization that once I have made one of those decisions, I have to let it go. This does not mean ignoring compassion in your decisions– it means that sometimes when you make a decision that values your happiness, even if you feel bad about other aspects of it, you should also be compassionate with yourself.
Breathing in, I accept this moment as it is
Breathing out, I release my guilt and doubt