The Second Noble Truth: Insight 2 The Origination of Suffering Must Be Let Go Of

Dancing with Life (DWL) (pp. 93-113)

The Second Insight:  The Origination of Suffering Must Be Let Go Of

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the origination of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned’

Use of the term, to let go of, in this context seems clearer than abandoned.  Letting go is not discarding or rejecting.  Think of letting go as releasing the energetic hold your desires have on the mind.

Imprisoned by Desire

When clinging to a desire occurs, an emotional cycle starts.  We become contracted, focusing only on achieving what we are clinging to.  We fantasize a pleasant outcome and believe that once this outcome is attained, we will achieve permanent bliss or happiness.  Of course, this never happens but in the heat of the moment, this is what we want to believe from the mind.  If our wish is not granted, we suffer.  Once we are over one attachment, another desire comes arises and the cycle of clinging can begin again, unless we let go of it.

Remember that the desires are neutral.  Desires do not cause suffering.  It is not what is outside that causes suffering, it is because we cling to it and don’t want to let go..

Letting go of clinging leads to “caring without demanding, loving without imposing conditions, and moving toward your goals without attachment to outcome.”.  You base “your life on being in the moment, rather than on the outcome of that moment.” (DWL p. 102)  The desired outcome is always in the future, not the present.

How to practice letting go.

Letting go of requires mindfulness, staying in the present by paying attention moment to moment to what is.   Mindfulness allows us to separate the desire from the attachment (clinging).  We see what we want as separate from what we are going to do about it.

Letting go of takes practice.  The emotional cycle of clinging to a given desire can arise repeatedly.  “You gain insight by repeatedly connecting to your intention to stop suffering and being willing to just start over no matter how many times you lose your direction.”  (DWL p. 100)

Some characteristic clues often arise for you to see whether or not you are clinging.  These include observing that certain bodily sensations and thoughts arise that signal clinging.  Once you learn to detect these pattern that arise in you, you can more easily let go.


  • Reread this talk and reflect on it.  When stress occurs, look to see if it is caused by your clinging to a specific outcome.  Can you let go of your desired outcome and accept other possibilities?  Give it a try!


  • Meditate as usual in your daily practice being mindful of what arises and falls away.  Notice an desires that arise and if clinging is present.

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