After learning how to let go of tension in the body {see part 1 of this series}, the next layer of tension we release is the tension of desire, and, oh, it can be so subtle!

The tension of desire is the experience of all the things that distract our minds in meditation. This can be the more obvious desires such as, “I am hungry; I should go eat right now.” or “if I don’t respond to that email right now, I’ll never be able to relax…”.

Desires can also be a bit more hidden from our awareness. Sometimes we simply desire a story. We follow a thought that arises because it is interesting –

We dissect that dream from last night.

We rehearse the argument we will have with our partner later.

We think through a problem at work.

We write the next chapter of our novels…

And, sometimes it can be SO good. The idea that arises is brillant! The problem is solved! I SHOULD reflect on this yummy philosophical exploration…. However, even though we might still be seated on the cushion, we have stopped meditating at this point. We have lost our concentration and our detachment; instead of meditating, we are thinking. 

So, we must learn to let go of desire itself. No matter what comes up in meditation, we practice letting go. Even when you think to yourself:

  • I should eat right now or I won’t have time before work begins.
  • OMG I just had the best idea for my novel and I should go research it while I feel inspired
  • I simply MUST go tell my partner to turn down the TV or I won’t be able to meditate

All of these thoughts could be true, and they are still desires. We can build the ‘let go’ muscle by dropping them. It will be ok. You’ll still eat breakfast. 

One of my teachers used to say, “even if Buddha himself shows up in your meditation and tells you YOU are the next incarnate… let it go.”

Let’s practice letting go of desire in today’s episode of The Mindful Minute. We will have a brief discussion followed by a 20-minute guided meditation.

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