Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be : Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation
The beloved American Lama, a spiritual leader whose inimitable light and lively universal teaching style has awakened the spirituality of thousands, now shares an enlightened approach to change and loss, dealing with difficult emotions such as fear, grief, and anger, and the role of crisis in uncovering our authentic selves. For many people, recent years have been characterized by profound change, whether it relates to financial upheaval, political shifts, or even massive losses of life to disease and violence. Even on the personal level each person must confront the curves life throws his or her way. Buddhism has a great deal to say about change and impermanence and how to meaningfully deal with it. Change--whether on a large or small scale--provides our most important opportunity for learning about ourselves and the nature of reality. From this essential insight Lama Surya Das has crafted a fulfilling and important path to understanding and healing ourselves and finding peace. Full of personal stories, anecdotes, practical exercises, guided meditations and reflections, and pithy original aphorisms, Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be addresses life's most universal difficulties in a way that is accessible to all.
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August 12, 2003
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Excerpt from Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be by Lama Surya Das
Making Sense of the Madness
Why does God allow guns? Why did Jonathan's daddy have to die? Why was Margaret born blind?
four years old
Why is there illness, death, and suffering? Why are we separated from those we love? Why is there pain? Why do bad things happen? Why do people hurt each other? Why is life so filled with loss? And the universal question: Why do bad things happen to me? Stuff happens--everyone knows that--but why does it happen to me, why am I so often in the midst of it!
No one has fully satisfactory or verifiable answers to any of these questions. We don't really know. This is part of the great mystery of life. Sure, there are many possible theories and explanations. I have friends, for example, who are astrology buffs. They say that the world events that began on September 11, 2001, were put in motion by an opposition between the planets Pluto and Saturn. It was written in the stars.
Some people are adamant about personifying evil. When we look around us we see leaders from all persuasions referring to those who disagree with them as being evil and followers of the devil. There are men and women who blame everything on Satan himself, who they envision as a real, albeit unseen, entity, who malevolently waltzes through our world, taking advantage of our weaknesses, which of course causes all varieties of havoc. I picked up the newspaper one day last year and read a statement from a fundamentalist preacher who said that some of our most serious problems are well deserved and come about because we are sinners with questionable sexual proclivities. This kind of simplistic fundamentalism has never had much appeal for me. It doesn't even make sense. In fact I think it is a crock, and I don't mind saying so.