6 Dec


“Just Drop It”

By Pema Chodron

This slogan is saying that when confusion arises not only do you practice tonglen and connect with the heart, but also you flash on the nonsolidity of phenomena at any time. In other words, you can just drop it. Out of the blue, you just drop it.

For instance, on a meditation retreat there are noodles for breakfast. Maybe in the beginning it seems funny, but halfway through breakfast you find yourself – instead of being mindful of the food, the chopsticks in your hand, the other people, and the good instructions you’ve received – talking to yourself about what a good breakfast would be, how you’d like to have a good breakfast like your mother used to make you in Brooklyn. It might be matzo ball soup or tortillas or beans or ham and eggs, but you want a good breakfast: burned bacon, like mother used to make. You resent these noodles.

Then, not through any particular effort, you just drop it. To your surprise, there’s a big world there. You see all these lights glimmering in your empty lacquered bowl. You notice the sadness in someone’s face. You realize that the man across from you is also thinking about breakfasts, because he has a resentful look on his face, which makes you laugh because you were there just a second ago.

The world opens up and suddenly we’re there for what’s happening. The solidity of our thoughts becomes transparent, and we can connect automatically with this space – shunyata -in ourselves. We have the ability to drop the story line, to rouse ourselves.

That’s an everyday experience of shunyata. But it’s also a very advanced practice if you can do it when you don’t happen to feel like it.

If everything is solid and intense and you’re wallowing in self-pity or something else, if someone says to you at that point, “Just drop it”, even in the sweetest, kindest, most gentle voice, you want to punch that person in the nose.


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