Monthly Archives: June 2013

What’s Going On?

I came across an interesting passage in a book – the passage originally published in 1963 – by a prominent psychologist predicting quantum advancements in human consciousness by the marrying of religious and philosophic wisdom with rapidly evolving science. It is fifty years later and it seems Scientology is only now beginning to go through the throes of differentiating the adults (truth seeking spiritualists and values inspired scientists) from the children (flat earth religionists and reductionist-mechanistic inclined scientists).  Scientology seems, to steal a verse from U2, stuck in a moment that it can’t get out of.  From Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences, by Abraham H. Maslow:

These two groups (sophisticated theologians and sophisticated scientists) seem to be coming closer and closer together in their conception of the universe as ‘organismic’, as having some kind of unity and integration, as growing and evolving and having direction and, therefore, having some kind of ‘meaning.’ Whether or not to call this integration ‘God’ finally gets to be an arbitrary decision and a personal indulgence determined by one’s personal myths.  John Dewey, an agnostic, decided for strategic and communicative purposes to retain the word ‘God’, defining it in a naturalistic way.  Others have decided against using it also for strategic reasons.  What we wind up with is a new situation in the history of the problem in which a ‘serious’ Buddhist let us say, one who is concerned with ‘ultimate concerns’ and with Tillich’s ‘dimensions of depth’, is more co-religionist to a ‘serious’ agnostic than he is to a conventional, superficial, other-directed Buddhist for whom religion is only habit or custom, i.e., behavior.

Indeed, these ‘serious’ people are coming so close together as to suggest that they are becoming a single party of mankind, the earnest ones, the seeking, the questioning, probing ones, the ones who are not sure, the ones with a ‘tragic sense of life’, the explorers of the depths and of the heights, the ‘saving remnant.’  The other party then is made up of all the superficial, the moment-bound, the herebound ones, those who are totally absorbed with the trivial, those who are ‘plated with piety, not alloyed with it’, those who are reduced to the concrete, to the momentary, and to the immediately selfish.  Almost, we could say, we wind up with adults, on the one hand, and children, on the other. 

The Great Decompression

I borrowed, or coined by inspiration, from Viktor Frankl (Man’s Search For Meaning) the idea that decompression was the first and most important step in recovering from the Scientology experience with an upward trajectory.  Frankl – having himself survived years of imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, and attempted to help others similarly situated upon release – noted that an adjustment period was critical for someone coming out of a strictly controlled environment to a relatively free society.  He likened it to a deep sea diver submerged for several hours far beneath the surface.  One must bring the diver back out from under the tremendous pressure he has adjusted to on a gradient basis or he will suffer from Decompression Sickness, also known as the bends. Similarly, if a person imprisoned – even mentally – in inhumane conditions, conditioned to think and act in super-compliant ways while developing all manner of deceitful (albeit as justifiable as they may be) means to survive, comes out acting like he owns earth he is going to be in for big, ugly and possibly devastating losses.

Over time I have exchanged observations with other counselors about a number of folks that we guided and assisted through the Scientology Underground Railroad – or Decompression Road.  One pattern we all have observed, and taken terrible losses on, is Scientologists entering the family of humanity with the exclusive, arrogant and judgmental attitudes they developed to survive in Scientology culture.  All of us have expended a great deal of resource and effort in helping to clean up messes such attitudes have created, and in getting people who exhibit those attitudes back on their paths after the inevitable smack downs society tends to deliver in response.   For those going through that process now, and who are discomforted absent orientation to L. Ron Hubbard references, everything I have noted thus far in this article is in complete accord with Scientology notions of the efficacy of tackling problems,development and life on a gradient scale; and even the ethics conditions formulas (see Non- Existence condition and formula).

One of the first posts on the Milestone 2/iscientology blog – created largely in protest of my books and this forum – was a piece attempting to discredit this idea of decompression as some psych-based attempt to belittle Operating Thetans and put people at introverted effect.  It reasoned that former Sea Org members and public OTs who bought into the idea they could use a tad of decompression as part of their gradient entry into the community of fellow human beings were victims of an attempt to put them at groveling effect of the psych-indoctrinated ‘wog’ world.  By God, the MS2ers proclaimed, we need to bring society up to our standards, Revenimus! (In keeping perhaps with the Class VIII indoctrination, ‘you are the people who own the planet’ – see Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior).  This mentality of wanting to cling to the inside is understandable (see e.g. the films  The Shawshank Redemption and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – I know you have all seen them, but watch them again with the Scientology experience in mind).

These thoughts arose when considering a general response to the many inquiries I have received lately asking me which of my three books ought to be read in what sequence.   That includes a lot of non-Scientologists asking what book might appeal to or help a Scientologist family member or friend. My answer is always a question, eliciting information on where the person is at on the decompression process.  When I know something about their circumstances I can recommend the single book that I think might help the person concerned.  They do not necessarily flow one to the next in the order they were written.  And all three of them aren’t for everybody necessarily.

So here is a short generalized guide to whom I believe the three books individually might appeal to, and hopefully help  –  in alignment to degrees of decompression already experienced by the concerned person.

The Scientology Reformation.

This book was written primarily with Scientologists still connected with the church in mind.  It is anchored upon L. Ron Hubbard references and attempts, on a gradient basis, to get a Scientologist to observe for himself or herself just how far adrift Scientology Inc has strayed from the intent and purposes memorialized (at least in some places) by its founder.  It introduces hope that one need not reject all of Scientology, in order to escape and even to take a stand against its abuses.

What Is Wrong With Scientology? Healing Through Understanding

This book would likely be dropped like a radioactive rock by the time a Scientologist in good standing read the first sentence of the introduction.   It is addressed more to people who are already out of the church, and for whom turning back is no option.  It is a detailed presentation and analysis of the features of Scientology that tend toward entrapment.   It describes in some detail the sum and substance of what Scientology’s effective processes are  in order to set the table for analyzing what is wrong with it and how it is ultimately used to entrap.   If one only mindlessly makes a break and declares a wholesale rejection of everything scientology, one tends to become as glued to it as ever, albeit from the opposition vector.  That is because he or she never took the time to understand and come to grips with what salutary aspects of it may have kept one pursuing it in the first place.  If one understands that, one can transcend the experience in a more desirable state than victimhood.

Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior

Because of the personal, autobiographical nature of this book and its consequent gradual, real time and subjective introduction to Scientology this can inform someone never involved in the subject with a perspective they will get nowhere else.  That is, what attracts and keeps one involved in the subject.   Popular books and films have been woefully two-dimensional and inaccurate in that regard.  They only focus on fear factors, which for those involved had next to zero effect in garnering their voluntary, self-determined involvement (the involvement that creates the most lasting effect on someone).  Many who have read it remarked that reading another’s real time experience of getting into, developing into a crusader for, and then transcending out of it prompted them to review their own experience more honestly, fully and rationally.  And that had a liberating effect upon them.

Memoirs is probably akin to a post-doctorate extension of the ‘what is wrong with Scientology’ analysis.  But not with a lot of opinion.  For the most part I let the facts do the talking.

While I still regularly use the term, and the model, of ‘decompression’ I am more often using it with a modifier to better describe what it is I am trying to accomplish: Decompression with an upward trajectory.

Link to all three books:

Mark Rathbun books on scientology

 

Scientology Perfidy

The following is an excerpt from Mark Bunker’s upcoming documentary ‘Knowledge Report’. It is an accurate vignette of the kind of perfidy that is common at the highest levels of corporate Scientology.  Recent events in the ‘independent’ field caused me to ask myself, borrowing a phrase from the immortal Yogi Berra, “Is this deja vu all over again?”

And for the rest of the story see, Miscavige Throws John Travolta Under The Bus.

An Open Letter to Eddie King

I tried to walk in your shoes on Saturday.

The honor of acting as the father of Christie at her wedding was bestowed upon me.

Christie may have chosen me for this privilege because I remind her so much of you.  She has told me as much on many occasions over the past four years that I have known her.  Just about every time I flip a song, she says with her inimitable smile, ‘my dad and I used to listen to that.’   From Bob Marley to Van Morrison, it seems you and I ride to a similar rhythm.

christie.me

Several times Christie has come to me for life counsel that one would normally reach out to a father for.  And when it is done she often reminisces with a glimmer in her eye that that is exactly how you would have handled it.  Ironically, when such nostalgic moments turn into tears it seems I even console her in a similar way that you used to.

I want to thank you for giving me fulfilling learning and growing opportunities. My only potential child was aborted in compliance with the firm policy of the priesthood of your church that I served most of my adult life in.  But because of your chosen absence I have been graced with the chance to come in touch with a bit of perhaps humankind’s greatest developmental growth experience: parenting.    I have not had to shed the blood, sweat and tears you have in bringing children through birth, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.   Instead, I have been given the opportunity to temporarily substitute for you for one graduate of yours of that evolution.

rinders

I gave Christie away on Saturday with no doubts or reservations whatsoever.   As noted, apparently I have walked through life with a similar perspective to yours.   Based on the accumulation of whatever wisdom I’ve  been able to retain during that journey, I can assure you there is no finer man to be found than her husband Michael John Rinder.   He is a man of conscience molded in a crucible of adversity that few are adventurous enough to ever experience.  Few have lived a life of such selfless devotion and weathered as many vicissitudes as Mike.  And of those few, I am unaware of any who came out the back end with so much love, hope and tolerance as Mike.  You could not find a better father for your grandchildren.

jackandshane

Your grandchildren are the living proof of what I am trying to convey to you.  At fourteen months of age, Jack is a veritable lighthouse.   I think anyone who has been in his presence will agree.  He lights up every space he enters.  Shane, all of six years old, is as intelligent, mature, and at the same time insouciant, as any child I have known.

And at the center of this family, the sun that nourishes it with life-giving light, of course, is the Queen of the Slipstream – your daughter Christie King Rinder.

Thank you for letting me know and be part of this incredible family.

I want you to know that I still abide by our shared team sports ethos.  I recognize and accept that I am merely a lowly substitute.  I am doing my best to simply not let the comfortable lead you – the star – created slip away while you starters catch your breath.

There is an old proverb that says, your home is where your heart is.  When you find it in your heart to come home I will gladly step aside and be the first (of thousands) to celebrate you.

The Way Out Is Not The Way Back In

The church of Scientology and David Miscavige have had zero influence on my recent announcement that I will no longer wear the label “Scientologist.”   Scientology Inc. lost in their effort to silence us and to prevent us from using what we learned of the mind and spirit from L. Ron Hubbard’s work.  We succeeded in our four-year effort to free the methodologies of Hubbard for independent application in accordance with practitioners’ consciences.  What prompted me to eschew the “Scientologist” label was the conduct of those we paved the way for while we were withstanding  the very best shots Scientology Inc. could and did take at us.

I hold no malice for any particular individuals.  I understand – and so too might you if you read and consider Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior – that these folks really are doing everything they can to be the very best Scientologists they think they can be.  And that is at the heart of the sickness they exhibit. While we were fighting for their right to practice Scientology, eleven folks instead of practicing it figured out how to monopolize it, at least in their own minds.  They put together a corporation that proclaims ownership of independent Scientology under the name Milestone Two Ltd.  Based on my experience with its secretly chosen 11 founding member ruling council, having read as much as I could of their charter before giving up after losing count of the points of hypocrisy (and duplication of the original Scn Inc intent and activity, including policing in KSW and a ‘justice committee’ to deal with ‘out-ethics actions which are destructive to statistics’) within it, I concluded that if these folks were honest they would call themselves “Scientology Inc, Ltd” or perhaps “Squirrelbusters Light.”   And that is how I will refer to them from here on out.

I am going to share some facts that led to this conclusion (mostly in the chosen 11’s words).  But I am not going to single out individuals.  I care for them all.  I still hope one day they too can graduate from the cult mindset within which they are imprisoned.  And while some of them have declared me an SP, in Treason, a Squirrel – and as we shall see worse –  I will not return the fire because I understand, like their alleged second biggest bogeyman (apparently I am number one now) David Miscavige, how they are simply an inevitable product of the Scientology system.

The new self-appointed leaders of the independent movement dramatize – self-righteously, arrogantly and defiantly – all that is wrong with the church of Scientology (except perhaps in a  less disciplined, organized and competent fashion as the church – hence the adjectives ‘Ltd’, and ‘Light’).  That their war-like attitude is inculcated by Scientology is evident by their insistence in wrapping themselves in L. Ron Hubbard tech and policy with every one of their hostile utterances.  Another tell-tale indicator is their apparently irresistible compulsion to target and blame at every turn.  They will insist they ‘supported’ us in our fight all the way – while instead to a one, they hid, rode coattails and served as persistent distractions.

I will not refer to the chosen 11 by name and won’t allow witch hunting, and ad hominen diatribes in the comments threads.  That is their game, and apparently one they learned in their Scientology experiences – given their continual assertions of how ‘on Source’ they are.

Let us start the facts rundown with something perhaps fresh in people’s minds – the Roast Beef Productions documentary Scientologists at War.

Scientology Inc Ltd founder #1 (numbers 1-11 are arbitrarily assigned since they have represented – or misrepresented – to the public that they all are of equal import having somehow miraculously gravitated together into a cluster) published the following with respect to the historical events chronicled about my wife and me in Scientologists at War:

“They were themselves [Marty and Monique Rathbun] using the harassment to establish their cover.”

I submit nothing else need be considered to justify the conclusions that I have already shared at the outset of this post.  However, since I don’t foresee addressing this issue again, and for the benefit of the conscience impaired who haven’t seen all they need to see with the above,  I’ll continue quoting Scientology Inc Ltd founder #1’s published views about me and my work.

“[Marty] justifies [his]own cesspool of past crimes (instead of taking responsibility for them) by “lessening the overt” i.e. criticizing the subject and blaming it for [his] own harmful deeds, still pretending [his] corrupted version of Scientology was the real thing.”

His screed goes on to call me “weak”, “blind”, a “Career Nazi”, an “SS Officer”,  “Gestapo”, “a legitimate 2 ½ percent CoS war criminal”, compared me to “professional psychologists and mental counsellors”,  and a “sociopath”.

When weakly  challenged on all this by someone at the Milestone Two Ltd on-line forum, he defended it (also published) by reference to PTS/SP tech claiming he got sick by my supposed operation to fake harassment and “tricking ex members” into providing me with a “safe haven”, and he got well by coming to these conclusions.

Scientology Inc. Ltd founder 2:

Attempted to out a comment poster (by posting the person’s name) on my blog with whom he disagreed.  When I disallowed the post as a spiteful and personal attack on a person he had received a tremendous amount of money from to help – far more than I have ever received for services from anyone – he accused me of being in league with and funded by his client.  Neither charge was true.  He then plied me with a barrage of minister-client privileged ‘facts’ about the character of the family of his client in an effort to enlist me to vilify them with him.  I declined and pointed out his grotesque, unethical (and factually illegal) violation of confidences he was paid handsomely to keep.  Upon investigation it turned out that the person he was going to ‘out’ and personally attack was not even the person he was quarreling with on the blog thread.  Shortly after that kurfluffle he posted this on my blog:

“Watching that video [my own description of the Int base] the other day on The Hole, in a new unit of time, the egregious facts emerge. You were there and very much involved in the entire lead up to that insanity. An integral part of probably the most suppressive group in the history of Scientology, RTC.”

This all broke out in a discussion in which Mike Rinder and I mentioned that we had first hand knowledge that L. Ron Hubbard re-instated the Disconnect policy in 1983.  Apparently to prove how heretical such a notion was – because apparently ‘Disconnect’ is such a diabolical policy –  he disconnected from me and began a whispering campaign with other eventual Scientology Inc Ltd founding members against me which has continued to this day which resulted in the formation of Scientology Inc. Ltd.

Scientology Inc. Ltd Founder #3: 

This individual came out on my blog at the height of the Scn Inc Squirrelbusters raids upon our home claiming our actions were saving Scientology.   Within weeks this individual published a testimonial on one of Office of Special Affairs’ 35 plus anti-Marty websites claiming I was driving people off the bridge by misinforming them that there was no justice to be had in the church and producing nothing but ‘natter.’  The individual claimed to have received 100% standard handling by David Miscavige’s church of Scientology.  Later, the other ten wise men of the Scientology Inc Ltd council were seduced by this individual with similar claims about me, necessitating that they take charge of independent Scientology.    It leaves one asking, ‘taking charge on who’s behalf?’

Scientology Inc. Ltd. Founder #4:

Here are some of the bases upon which he has declared me in writing to be ‘an enemy’ and in treason  and in confusion (apparently I’m in all three conditions at once) to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology:

“Your response to the attack of Miscavige is quite predictably stimulus and response, and is how any trained and intelligent person would respond if he had completely lost the plot and taken on “winning the fight” as his stable datum instead of applying Scientology fundamentals to the resolution of the bigger picture.  It seems to me that, rather than tangling with the cur dogs nipping at the wheels of the fire engine, you have become one of them. “

“Much of the Indy field, having certainty on the fact that DM is an SP, sided with you, figuring that if the SP is attacking you, you must be a good guy!  These are not necessarily correlating facts.  Both guys in a bar fight might still beat their wives.  The point here is not that I think you are an SP, which wouldn’t matter a damn anyway one way or the other.  What matters here is, who do YOU think you are? “

“I think the site [Moving On Up A Little Higher] must attract people who share your confusion and thus find solace in the fact that they are not alone.  This is NOT the condition we need to share!!”

“You had never done, as far as I can detect, a really good handling on the conditions you created with DM.  How many years did you work with the guy?  How much damage to the church – and to the forward progress of Scientology – was done as a result of it?… It puts your recent ponderings and degrades of Scientology and LRH in to  a new perspective as it is not so grievous  an overt to arrest the growth of something that does not completely work, or a Founder who actually put his pants on one leg at a time. Now, let’s all pause to meditate…. !!”

“You supported yourself by taking whatever people would give you in exchange for your auditing skills – which is propitiative and a degrade in its own right.  This does not contribute to Scientology or it’s dissemination.”

“You live in the boondocks, lobbing grenades from your bunker and inviting the Indy field, itself looking for stable data, to participate in the dialogue… This is cur dog activity, however else it is justified.”

““UPPER LEVELS. There are other OT levels above VIII but these will be released from time to time when people are ready for them. We’re already higher than Man has ever been and it can get quite stratospheric.” L. Ron Hubbard”   The notion that you would express opinions so obviously contrary to LRH is treason at the least, and more likely simply another dramatization of confusion.”

“You need a good, thorough ethics program.  I don’t know how real all of this is to you, but it is real enough to me to alert you in this regard.”

He pronounced me to be in treason for not ruthlessly following the seven points of power in the policy letter The Responsibilities of Leaders.

Scientology Inc. Ltd founding member #5:

“I think your attack on Scientology and LRH is because you are going to take Scn, and “fix it” and become the new “source”. The only thing blocking your way is “KSW”. It made no sense at first for you to say that KSW blocks thought. Made no sense at all because it is just a treatise from LRH to protect his tech. But then I realized that if you blow KSW out of the water, then you are free to take Scientology from LRH (who is also bad) and turn it into your own technology.”

“Marty, you haven’t been around enough to be the scholar you think you are. You write only from an Ivory Tower. I look at your past products and they align with your new track. When you get into life and start experiencing it and getting good products – in volume, then I will treat you as someone who has somewhere to communicate from.”

“It makes you look a little 1.1 – gather up all of the field, get them listening to you and then doing a 180 and trashing Scn in front of them is pretty much making you look like a modern Pied Piper. Please – realize you have unhandled o’s and w’s”

He too pronounced me to be in treason for not ruthlessly following the seven points of power in the policy letter The Responsibilities of Leaders.

This fellow who accused me of having designs on the “Source” position is garnering a lot of credibility in the Milestone Two community by pronouncing that he’s got OT IX, X, XI, and XII (so, don’t despair wise man #4) which apparently he received telepathically from Ron.

Scientology Inc. Ltd founding members 6, 7, and 8:

Have made repeated assertions that they are my friends, yet have encouraged and supported this assault.  They plead ignorance.  And just as quickly I will note that that too is the hallmark of a Scientology organization.  If you want to create an organization and profit from its collective power, then you are responsible for the fruit it produces.

Scientology Inc. Ltd founding member 9:

Don’t know much about this person except that this person publically invalidated wonderful efforts by an OT VIII, integral Scientologist friend of mine to get another Scientology Inc. Ltd founding member on his feet and into practice – and when pointed out to both of these people,  neither took effective action to restore the damage done to my friend’s reputation.

Scientology Inc. Ltd founding member 10: 

A wonderful, tolerant person.   He is absolutely being used – for credibility purposes – and has no inkling of it.

Scientology Inc. Ltd founding member 11:

I really don’t know him from Adam.  The only thing I’ve heard from him is an impassioned plea to reconsider that the late-Kingsley Wimbush was misunderstood, that de-dinging was really on Source.

None of the people whom I have repeatedly publicly recommended as the only integral Scientology pracitioners – each of whom has far more training and decades more products than any of the eleven – I  regularly refer people to were consulted or offered positions on the council of secretly anointed 11.  Not surprisingly, neither was I.

I will tell you honestly that I found communication with the Scientology Inc. Squirrelbusters far less evaluative, far less hostile, far more uptone, and far more infused with ARC than the communications I have received from the core of the Squirrelbusters Light, the Scientology Inc Ltd 11.

Five of the eleven Scientology Inc. Ltd rulers have spent time in our home in the past year.   All of them were invited for the express purpose of telling me where I am wrong, proposing how independent Scientology should proceed, and make any other suggestions.  All of them expressed nothing but cloying admiration for our work (to the point it was uncomfortable for us).  Not one of them raised even a hint of any of the condemnations I have re-published above, nor even asked any questions that would indicate I should even reconsider any step in my life journey.    It is my experience with these people that has led me to investigate what is it about Scientology that encourages an attitude of entitlement and a character marked by cowardice and deceit.  More on that in my next book on the subject of how to graduate from Scientology.

If one didn’t fully understand Scientology,  it would fairly make one wonder whether Scientology Inc. Ltd was not simply a creation of the original Scientology Inc.   But, the question is purely academic.  That is because certainly, the published founding documents of the former guarantees that ‘independent scientology’ ultimately must become that which it resists, the latter.  If you read and consider Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior, you might come to a similar conclusion that I did: the whole thing was predictable, even inevitable.

I don’t plan on spending any more time or mental energy on them.  I consider them – at best – a distraction.  Its authors and directors have already drained enough of our resources – physical, mental and spiritual.

Suffice it to say, the way out is not the way back in.

I have represented since before the inception of this blog that my purpose is to help folk graduate from this type of madness (reference: Welcome page).   After all we’ve experienced in the past four years, that purpose is stronger than ever.

Scientologists at War

A Roast Beef Productions presentation aired on channel 4 in the United Kingdom tonight.  Don’t know how long it will be up on You Tube (courtesy apparently of WWP) so you may want to watch it soon if you are interested.

Scientologists at War

 

Letting Go

When I write of the idea of cultivating the skill of ‘letting go’, some Scientologists react as if I am from the planet Farsec (the alleged origin point of the universe for all psychs, reference: Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior).   On the one hand this is surprising because it is precisely what one does when one experiences a spiritual ‘release’ in a Scientology session.   On the other hand, the idea of employing and refining that capability in life is looked upon as blasphemous.  It is in a way since so much in Scientology implants precisely the opposite idea in believers.

To help get the concept across I have many times recommended folk read and attempt to think with Tao Te Ching (my recommended translation, The Tao Te Ching, an English Translation by Stephen Mitchell).   A number of people have written  to or told me that they have done so, and find the idea of ‘letting go’ liberating and useful in their quests for self- actualization (equinimity attendant to becoming who one really is and attaining toward one’s full potentialities).  Still many want the ‘tech’ to it or an instruction manual of sorts.

I came across a good description of breaking ‘letting go’ down into a process on buddhanet. net.  It is below for your perusal.  I don’t know who the author is and I don’t even know what all is on buddhanet or who operates it. All that I know is that the following description of the process rings accurate in many ways and may communicate to, and be found to be useful by, some.

Letting Go from buddhanet

If we contemplate desires and listen to them, we are actually no longer attaching to them; we are just allowing them to be the way they are. Then we come to the realization that the origin of suffering, desire, can be laid aside and let go of.

How do you let go of things? This means you leave them as they are; it does not mean you annihilate them or throw them away. It is more like setting down and letting them be. Through the practice of letting go we realize that there is the origin of suffering, which is the attachment to desire, and we realize that we should let go of these three kinds of desire. Then we realize that we have let go of these desires; there is no longer any attachment to them.

When you find yourself attached, remember that ‘letting go’ is not ‘getting rid of’ or ‘throwing away’. If I’m holding onto this clock and you say, ‘Let go of it!’, that doesn’t mean ‘throw it out’. I might think that I have to throw it away because I’m attached to it, but that would just be the desire to get rid of it. We tend to think that getting rid of the object is a way of getting rid of attachment. But if I can contemplate attachment, this grasping of the clock, I realize that there is no point in getting rid of it – it’s a good clock; it keeps good time and is not heavy to carry around. The clock is not the problem. The problem is grasping the clock. So what do I do? Let it go, lay it aside – put it down gently without any kind of aversion. Then I can pick it up again, see what time it is and lay it aside when necessary.

You can apply this insight into ‘letting go’ to the desire for sense pleasures. Maybe you want to have a lot of fun. How would you lay aside that desire without any aversion? Simply recognize the desire without judging it. You can contemplate wanting to get rid of it – because you feel guilty about having such a foolish desire – but just lay it aside. Then, when you see it as it is, recognizing that it’s just desire, you are no longer attached to it.

So the way is always working with the moments of daily life. When you are feeling depressed and negative, just the moment that you refuse to indulge in that feeling is an enlightenment experience. When you see that, you need not sink into the sea of depression and despair and wallow in it. You can actually stop by learning not to give things a second thought.

You have to find this out through practice so that you will know for yourself how to let go of the origin of suffering. Can you let go of desire by wanting to let go of it? What is it that is really letting go in a given moment? You have to contemplate the experience of letting go and really examine and investigate until the insight comes. Keep with it until that insight comes: ‘Ah, letting go, yes, now I understand. Desire is being let go of.’ This does not mean that you are going to let go of desire forever but, at that one moment, you actually have let go and you have done it in full conscious awareness. There is an insight then. This is what we call insight knowledge. In Pali, we call it nanadassana or profound understanding.

I had my first insight into letting go in my first year of meditation. I figured out intellectually that you had to let go of everything and then I thought: ‘How do you let go?’ It seemed impossible to let go of anything. I kept on contemplating: ‘How do you let go?’ Then I would say, ‘You let go by letting go.’ ‘Well then, let go!’ Then I would say:

‘But have I let go yet?’ and, ‘How do you let go?’ ‘Well just let go!’ I went on like that, getting more frustrated. But eventually it became obvious what was happening. If you try to analyze letting go in detail, you get caught up in making it very complicated. It was not something that you could figure out in words any more, but something you actually did. So I just let go for a moment, just like that.

Now with personal problems and obsessions, to let go of them is just that much. It is not a matter of analyzing and endlessly making more of a problem about them, but of practicing that state of leaving things alone, letting go of them. At first, you let go but then you pick them up again because the habit of grasping is so strong. But at least you have the idea. Even when I had that insight into letting go, I let go for a moment but then I started grasping by thinking: ‘I can’t do it, I have so many bad habits!’ But don’t trust that kind of nagging, disparaging thing in yourself. It is totally untrustworthy. It is just a matter of practicing letting go. The more you begin to see how to do it, then the more you are able to sustain the state of non-attachment.