Reading through some of the comments here, it is clearly the case that we find it hard to change even when we recognise that change would be appropriate and even desired or longed for. The point here is that we don’t just change because we want to. The way we are, the way we think and react to what happens to us is deeply conditioned and ingrained within us. We react the way we do because that is how we have reacted in the past and these become our accumulated habit patterns ( karmic tendencies if you like). So when I talk of letting go, I do not mean, or expect, that we are immediately going to le\”let go” our anger greed, judgement or jealousy etc, just because we have recognised it and with it a desire to change has arisen. We only change when the genuine conditions for change occur. And as you will all know from what you have learned on retreat or from practicing Vipassana with me, the conditions for change start always with reaching a state of equanimity to how things are now. It is because we are not equanimous either to our experiences of pleasure and pain, fortune and misfortune, or to the way we feel when we recognise how we are reacting, that even though we want to, we don not immediately start to change. Certainly a desire to change is a good start, but it is not enough in itself. We also have to accept how we are now, so that the ground for change can emerge within us. Remember that all anger ill will and greed ( and all the states that are born of them) are rooted in non acceptance of something or another. To hope to relinquish our habitual tenancies without first reaching a non judgemental attitude of acceptance of the fact that they are what they are, is a non starter. Our every aversion to how we are know keeps the mind locked in a judgemental state. So the letting go we are talking of here’ is the letting go of our rejection of how things are, so that they can start to change. The first stage of letting go is acceptance, the second stage is the gradual fading of the tendencies to that are to be relinquished and the charge we carry around them.
So the say this very simply…Letting go means letting go our unwholesome attitudes to how we are first, so that over time we might let go the unwholesome reactions that arise in us themselves. Greed and anger in the end are all rooted in conflict between how things are and how we think they should be. The conflict is the ‘non acceptance” and this is what first must be let go.