Begin Again

This entry is an example of what I alluded to in the previous post about using the words of others to remind me of what I easily forget. Listening to a Q&A with Sharon Salzberg, who has been teaching meditation for decades, all it took was two words – begin again – to jog my memory in a number of ways. The first related to her topic: meditation. She explained that when you notice that your thoughts have taken away your attention, start over. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to do it, just begin again. And again, and again. Do that and you’re meditating.

But it’s not just meditation to which this approach applies. It reminded me of when I first moved abroad (described briefly in Discovering The True Self). I recalled the liberating feeling of being able to create myself anew without any of the familiar elements of my old life influencing my new one. I could begin again; be anyone I wanted; repaint my own canvass. Fortunately, there is no need to move to another country; the next moment is sufficient.

Begin again’ also reminded me of letting go. The more practised we become at letting go, the less influenced we are by our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Eventually our relationship to those things changes to one of observation rather than involvement. Furthermore, in letting go we begin to unburden ourselves of the conditioning we have accumulated (and with which we so easily identify). Just as the process of decluttering one’s house tends to create its own momentum after a while, so it is with our internal clutter. We find ourselves relinquishing more and more, and becoming lighter and freer as a result.

Finally, it’s easier to begin again when we consider that there is no goal. There is nothing we have to achieve that we don’t already possess.

The great comedian, George Carlin, used to throw away his finest material every year and begin again. When you do that you are forced to look deeper into yourself to discover new material. The deeper you go, the more real and insightful (and funny) it becomes. Only by discarding what we find, do we have a chance to discover what is present. Beginning again wakes us up to the fact that we are easily distracted; it liberates us and reminds us of the simplicity of life; and it offers the chance to discover the truth about who we are.

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