When I was 3-4 years into my Tai chi journey, my first teacher’s recommendation of “letting go” became very real for me. I realized that I had to “let go”, in order to become empty (which is a big deal for tai chi/dao people)
The baffling thing for me was, “How do I let go?”
I’d ask my teacher and he would say “just let go”, but I didn’t understand what he meant exactly then. My present teacher too says, “letting go is easy, but is also kind of hard at the same time”. I think the following section does a good job of explaining to me how to let go.
The Sage Ashtāvakra, whose compendium (samhita), also known as Ashtāvakra Gita, is known for his simple and direct teachings of Nonduality.
Now, Ashtāvakra is considered to be for those who have already spent significant time following the tripartite course of listening (to advaita teachings), contemplating (upon those teachings and understanding them intellectually) and meditation (making the teachings a living reality).
The great Swami Chinmayānanda (founder of the Chinmaya Mission), wrote a beautiful commentary on the Ashtāvakra Gita, which is the reference material for this post.
Ashtāvakra outlines 5 principles or guidelines by which one can let go of all phenomenal attachments. Ashtāvakra says, if your senses and mind are attached to any object, those objects are essentially poison (they bind you). So, they have to be let go. Here are his five principles (my own understanding of them) —
- kshamā or forgiveness — when something wrong happens through you, and you are aware of it, it is the hardest thing to forgive yourself for it. Forgive yourself. Not being able to forgive yourself, you bind yourself to the past.
- Arjava or sincerity — Perform every action with full awareness. That itself is sincerity. Since you already know your true nature as being the ever-free awareness, when you operate from that point of presence, all action becomes totally sincere and pure (and nothing bad will come from it).
- Dayā or Compassion — Don’t be hard on yourself or others. Be compassionate towards all, including yourself. This rises from the understanding that there IS no one or nothing apart from you. So how can we be anything but compassionate?
- Thosha or Contentment — Maintain the sense of fulfillment and contentment in your life, whatever the circumstances. If life’s ups and downs frustrate you, then how can you remain compassionate? The example given is, consider that you are going to die in 10 days. What would your priorities be? Would you worry about property and money or what you eat etc? Be happy and live each day as it is, with full acceptance and joy.
- Truth — What is truth? Whatever is, right now, in the present moment. Everything else is ephemeral. Change is inevitable. Death is inevitable. The body changes? The people change. Everything changes. Only what is now is real. Hold on to that.
More posts by this author:
- The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda
- Jnana Yoga: The Way of Life
- Medhavi Sessions Episode #2 – With Master Jose Perez, Temple Style Tai Chi
- Is the Truth One? So what if the wise call it by different names?
- Non-dual awareness is without attributes. But what about love?