Book Review – Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be

Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual TransformationLetting Go of the Person You Used to Be: Lessons on Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation by Lama Surya Das

My rating: [usr-4]

This book took forever for me to finish! Even after renewing it twice at the library, it still went a week overdue. It is a slim little volume, but it is extremely dense, and each chapter took me some time to think over, reflect on, even meditate on before I could move on. In hindsight, I should have bought this book, but I didn’t realize how much meaning I would find packed into the pages.

I have had a couple of years of change in my life. I wasn’t very happy about the person that I had become, and had been focusing in therapy on figuring out who I wanted to be and how I was going to be able to get back to that place in my life where I liked the person I was and the life I was living. This book, though, had been on my shelf for a while, because this hasn’t been the only period of upheaval and change in my life. I wish I had read it sooner, though it was very meaningful for me right now.

Much of the philosophy of Buddhism is based on attachments and desire, and how they create all of the unhappiness in our lives. This book helps you find the places in your life that are being affected by this. The rooting-out process can be painful, and embarrassing. You probably don’t want to do it. I didn’t. But you may need to, just like me. Because once you find those places, it’s as though you can cut a thousand fish hooks free from your flesh, and the cords that were pulling you in a thousand directions just drop away.

The relief is amazing.

Take your time reading this book. Do the meditations. Think. Journal. It’s worth it in the end, because, of course like anything else, you get out of the experience what you put into it. I found the most amazing spaces in my mind during some of the most difficult and disturbing meditations in the book. But I also found a way to let go and embrace life.

Because, see, here’s the thing. I know that these issues are all in my head. But knowing that, and getting to where you can really let go of things? There’s a huge enormous canyon in between. And trying to get across it on your own is like shouting into the void and expecting the answer to come on the echo.

But we can all benefit from a little help learning how to cut out those damaging fish hooks and free ourselves from the things that are holding us back.

And letting go is a beautiful thing.

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