Saturday, August 7, 2010

Letting Go

Every day I get a message from the Dalai Lama. He encourages me (and the thousands of others who follow him on Facebook) to let go of anger, to let go of attachment, and to hold on to compassion and kindness. His words have guided me for years. I sometimes wear a white silk scarf I was given at a luncheon where he spoke. A person's wearing such a scarf signals that she comes with good intentions. I like that scarf and wear it on special occasions.

The Dalai Lama helps me nurture compassion and kindness. Recently I've had an opportunity to test these traits in response to behaviors of a very unhappy person. My initial response to these behaviors was to cry, to solicit support from those I love and trust, and then to get angry, really, really angry. The attack was, in my mind, unprovoked and mean-spirited. I clung to my anger for a day or so. Then, after reading a message from the Dalai Lama, I went for a walk.

I walked through a haunting memorial to Anne Frank. I meandered along the water feature, studying quotes from inspirational persons all over the globe, from victims of oppression on this continent, Europe, Asia, and South America. I studied the bronze sculpture of Frank, a likeness captured as a lean teenager peering out a window. I was truly awestruck by her comment that, in spite of everything, she thought people were basically good.

How could she practice such compassion? How could she let go of anger, given the horrors of the Holocaust that she witnessed daily? How could I stay angry, when my wound was so slight?

My steps took on new energy as I left the Anne Frank memorial. It was really possible for me to let go of this anger. It was really possible for me to move on to a realm where scowls and tears were replaced by grins and laughter. And so I did. Even this week, when another snotty message was shot my way, I let it go. Processed it, then let it go.

Each moment I'm unhappy is a moment I could have spent being happy. Each frown I wear is an expression I could have turned around.

My daily messages from the Dalai Lama, my walk through the Anne Frank memorial are special blessings in my life. They help me practice kindness and compassion. They help me with the very important task of letting go.

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