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Letting Go When Things Fall Apart

Fall is a time where letting go is visible. The trees lose their leaves. The garden shuts down, the temperatures recede as we move into fall.  it looks like that’s all there is. However, we know that spring will come again. In fact, the trees form their buds as they let go of their leaves. In life, when we cannot see beyond our beliefs, attitudes or story we are telling ourselves, it becomes difficult to stay in the process while it is unfolding.

The book, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun and teacher, is well worth reading in this time of letting go. In fact, it is in this time where it seems like things are falling apart, that the natural cycles of letting go can create new possibilities so that you can reclaim greater well-being and peace when we let go of the story embedded with non-coherent, attitudes, beliefs and concept of time.

This article summarizes some of the tenets presented in the book with three stories that illustrate and give meaning to them. 

What meaning do these stories have for you?

Letting Go of Negative Attitudes

Fear can be a driving force that moves us away from ourselves and others or a doorway that allows us to look at life on the path as a spiritual warrior. One of the questions Pema Chodron’s teacher, Rinpoche asked in a meditation class was, “What do you do when you are squeezed?” When I read this, I reflected on the many times I have moved into a state of fear or immobility. This automatic response led me away from taking care of what was happening to me at the moment. With new awareness, however, being squeezed can serve as a doorway to become aware of an alternative way of being and responding. What would happen if fear could lead me to a greater opening and expansiveness?  Your attitude about the situation is what changes how you experience, feel and respond to it.

When a rainbow appears vividly in the sky, you can see its beautiful colors, yet you could not wear as clothing or put it on as an ornament. It arises through the conjunction of various factors, but there is nothing about it that can be grasped. Likewise, thoughts that arise in the mind have no tangible existence or intrinsic solidity. There is no logical reason why thoughts, which have no substance, should have so much power over you, nor is there any reason why you should become their slave. ~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Story #1: Is It Good or Is It Bad?

The option to relax and focus on your breathing allows you to get in touch with your inner world. Your “thinking” is reacting to the situation.  By being more in touch with your breath, this can stabilize and support you at the moment relieving your stress response, moving you into the place where your body-mind wisdom can support you.  While doing so, you can start the process of having compassion for your thoughts so that they find new possibilities with inner care to transform or change who you are in the moment, and what you do in response.

Letting Go of a Concept of Time

Story #2: Nightmares

We live in a world of polarities. The invitation is to find neutral ground within this mixture. As human beings, we experience the world through the lens of positive and negative instead of resting in the center to allow the digestion and transformation of what we are experiencing in any given moment. Because we live in a “fix it” world, it is challenging to allow all of our emotions to be there without labeling, grabbing or something to change or numb them.

From the Buddhist perspective, this is demonstrated within the 8 Dharmas. There are 4 dharmas that represent “what we want or desire” and 4 dharmas that represent their opposites, what we do not want to have or experience.
These include Pleasure or Pain; Praise or Criticism and Blame; Fame or Disgrace; Gain or Lose.

  The question is do you resonate with the problem or the new possibility?  Do you resonate with the process as one that creates growth within whatever your life presents to you? Attachment to desire can create pain when there is a grabbing or clinging to the need for permanence.  The expectation to experience happiness and fulfillment continuously can lead to great disappointment.  When there is an injury, loss or sense of failure, disappointment can be amplified with a sense of never having resolution or completion.

However, when we look at the natural world, we can see that impermanence abounds.  Seasons change, we breathe in and then let go of our breath. Babies are born and change over time into adults. People and pets die. Relationships begin and end.  Things fall apart. It is staying with the process instead of running away that peace has the opportunity to arrive. Numbing it out, trying to distract from the process, only prolongs the pain. 

By resisting the very nature of things not staying the same, we take ourselves out of experiencing who we are right now. This limits our ability to experience or to allow the process of any emotion, situation, or event from being what it is so that it can give us the experience.  It can expand, dissolve, fall apart until a sense of meaning arises. It is from this place that you can experience a sense of timelessness, insight, choice, and letting go.

Letting Go of Negative Beliefs

Story #3: Warrior and Fear

The most difficult times for most of us, is the time we give ourselves. ~Pema Chodron

The Buddhist tenet of “Do no harm” is a practice that begins with applying this to your Self. Who you are is related to what you practice. As an example, if you are practicing anger in the moment, this is who you are in the moment. That anger can create a number of physical, emotional and mental responses that you can run from the experience right now. It has information for you that in the middle way that can reveal an awareness that opens you to a gift of something you did not know or expect. It is by taking the labels off your current emotion, relaxing and opening to being with it, that leads you to harmonize your response to life more intimately. In this way, as you compassionately spend time with your beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts, you bring less judgment and blame as you empower your awareness, actions, and choice.

“And I found that I can do it if I choose to – I can stay awake and let the sorrows of the world tear me apart and then allow the joys to put me back together different from before but whole once again.”
Oriah Mountain Dreamer

In doing so, your practice leads you to practice how you respond within, and how you interact with life. By practicing mindfulness, “Do no harm” leads to a greater sense of well-being and peace. Because it is then in your memory bank, you are better able to allow this space and freedom within yourself. As you do so, you can also begin to offer this compassion to others.

 Resonance Repatterning® sessions work with where you are stuck, where you feel things are falling apart. In working with your beliefs, attitudes, and concept of time-related to your problems and intentions for your life, you can experience a greater sense of peace and harmony.  You are designed for success and self-healing. This process works with your inner software to create tangible and sustainable positive change.

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