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On Abandonment

By Matthieu Ricard on March 10, 2010

It is good to abandon what is superfluous, futile, and useless as quickly as possible and not cling to these from force of habit. If I go hiking in the mountain, and midway I find that my packsack is half-filled with provisions and half-filled with stones, I would, of course, gladly get rid of the latter.

Likewise, in life, there are so many things and concerns that in no way contribute to our true happiness. Therefore, why not give up these causes of torment?

On the other hand, we must not, under any circumstances, abandon the pursuit of what is truly worthwhile: self-transformation in order to be of better service to others.

As for the feeling of being abandoned by others, it is without a doubt a painful experience, but how senseless. What is it that is abandoned? Is it our very being or rather an inflated sense of self-importance? How could the essential nature of pure awareness, free from mental constructs, itself be abandoned by anyone else than oneself ? At the very most, we ourselves are the ones who are oblivious of it.

If we reflect on the fundamental nature of mindfulness and on that of the present moment, we will come to realize that we are not this ‟self” who suffers from abandonment, nor are we the suffering that we feel. Inner peace rooted in the alert presence of mindfulness cannot be affected by these mental constructs.